• <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 817. Bellin's complete five-volume maritime atlas with 581 maps & plates (1764). $24,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 325. An early and important map of the Republic of Texas (1837). $11,000 to $14,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 45. De Bry's early map of North Pole depicting Willem Barentsz' expedition (1601). $3,500 to $4,250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 154. Poignant map of the United States documenting lynchings (1931). $250 to $325.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 457. Extremely rare matching set of pro-German propaganda from WWI (1914). $2,000 to $2,400.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 815. Homann's world atlas featuring 110 maps in contemporary color (1751). $14,000 to $16,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 60. Miniature pocket globe based on Herman Moll (1785). $3,500 to $4,500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 8. Visscher's rare carte-a-figures world map (1652). $14,000 to $16,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 158. Matching satirical maps of the US by McCandlish: "Ration Map" & "Bootlegger's Map" (1944). $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 820. One of the finest English atlases of the early 19th century (1808). $4,750 to $6,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 59. Important milestone in preparation for 1969 moon landing (1963). $750 to $900.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 805. Superb bible leaf with image of crucifixion of Jesus with gilt highlights (1518). $800 to $950.
  • <center><b>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>including Americana<br>February 16, 2023</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. CHAUCER, Geoffrey. <i>The Works…now newly imprinted.</i> Edited by F.S. Ellis. Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1896. $100,000 to $125,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> [EINSTEIN, Albert (1879–1955)]. –– ORLIK, Emil (1870–1932), artist. Lithograph signed (“Albert Einstein”). N.p., 1928. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> TOLKIEN, John Ronald Reuel. <i>[The Lord of the Rings trilogy:] The Fellowship of the Ring.</i> 1954. –– <i>The Two Towers.</i> 1954. –– <i>The Return of the King.</i> 1955. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> CLEMENS, Samuel Langhorne ("Mark Twain") and Charles Dudley WARNER. <i>The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.</i> Hartford and Chicago, 1873. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> LOVECRAFT, Howard Phillips. <i>Beyond the Wall of Sleep.</i> Collected by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1943. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> [Black Sun Press] Proust, Marcel, 47 Unpublished Letters from Marcel Proust to Walter Berry, Paris: The Black Sun Press, 1930. $400 to $600.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Williams, William Carlos (1883-1963), <i>Spring and All,</i> first edition, Paris: Contact Publishing Co., 1923. $400 to $600.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Washington, George (1732-1799), Autograph Letter Signed. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Poe, Edgar Allan (1809-1849), Autograph Letter Signed. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Thoreau, Henry David (1817-1862), Autograph Manuscript. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> [Paris Commnue], Photograph album. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Fleming, Ian (1908-1964), <i>Casino Royale,</i> first edition, London: Jonathan Cape, 1953. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Audubon, John James and the Rev. John Bachman, <i>The Quadrupeds of North America,</i> New York: V.G. Audubon, 1849, 1851, 1854. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Lewis, C.S. (1898-1963), <i>The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,</i> first edition, London: Geoffrey Bles Ltd, 1952. $600 to $800.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> [Bhagavad Gita] Wilkins, Charles, trans., <i>The Bhagvat-Geeta, or Dialogues of Kreeshna and Arjoon…,</i> first edition, London: Printed for C. Nourse, 1785. $700 to $1,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, <i>Faust: Eine Tragodie von Goethe,</i> Hammersmith: Printed by T.J. Cobden-Sanderson & Emery Walker at the Doves Press, 1906-1910. $800 to $1,200.
  • <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair

Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2019 Issue

Modern and Contemporary Illustrated Books from Ursus Rare Books

15849457-89ed-410e-9881-9fc0dfbeef10

Modern and contemporary illustrations.

Ursus Rare Books has issued a catalogue of Modern & Contemporary Illustrated Books. Perhaps that needs a little more specificity. These are not regular books that happen to be illustrated. It is the illustrations that are their feature. In reality, these are more art books, works of art printed on the pages of a book. Some also have a significant amount of text, others not very much. Some are older classic works, but these editions are unique based on the accompanying modern artwork.

 

The description “modern & contemporary” art should be something of a caution. This won't be for everyone. You won't confuse these illustrations for Rembrandt or Michelangelo. Classic it is not. Some illustrations can be quite abstract, though others provide a greater degree of clarity. You may say “What the...?” when it comes to some drawings. Then again, you will almost certainly find some of it riveting, the sort that will make you want to see what else this artist created. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You will find yourself beholden to some, not others.

 

This is as hard a group of books to describe as I have ever faced. Realistic art is somewhat describable. Abstract art virtually is not. It must be seen to be appreciated or depreciated (not quite the right word). Here are brief descriptions of a few samples.

 

James Lee Byars has been described as a “minimalist” by some and I can see why. Item 12 is Gold Dust is My Ex Libris, [The White Cube], published in 1983. Fortunately, the cube isn't quite white or it wouldn't show up at all on the page. You couldn't tell if it were a white cube, circle or something else. The drawing of the cube is placed in the center of the book, with blank pages (or perfectly white cubes) on the pages before and after. The extra pages add depth to the concept. I will admit this one doesn't particularly grab me, but it comes from an edition of 500 copies so lots of people obviously had a different impression. Priced at $3,500.

 

Next we have Die Nibelungen... (a medieval German clan) illustrated by Carl Otto Czeschka. This is a children's book, published in 1909. Czeschka was of the Vienna workshop school of that day. The illustration from this book provided by Ursus is a two-page spread, packed together charging horses and knights, lances and flags raised, arrows flying. The illustration of jammed together knights, horses, and weapons acutely displays the cacophony of war. Clearly, many people aren't coming home from this. It's enough to make you wonder, all these centuries later, why are we still doing this? Czeschka couldn't have known it in 1909, but the world was about to enter its greatest such conflagration ever a few years hence. Item 15b. $3,500.

 

Here is another that jumps out at me. I find myself just staring at it. It is one Ursus selected to display from Die Traumenden Knaben by Oaskar (Oskar) Kokoschka, published in 1908. Maybe I just like artists whose names end in “schka.” This picture has a black background, with color scenes in the foreground. They range from very deep blue water to bright red and yellow of a woman's dress, and orange of fish in the water. If the cube above looks like something I can kind of imagine myself drawing (with the help of a ruler), there is no way I'm touching this. It is one of 10 lithographs in this first and only edition of a fable that translates to “the dreaming youths.” The illustrations fit well with the dreamy theme. Item 39. $35,000.

 

Olafur Eliasson is a contemporary Danish-Icelandic artist noted for large sculptures and artworks and melding art and science. He creates the unexpected, which describes this book. It contains 908 pages, but not a lot of writing. The title is Your House, but actually, it's Eliasson's house. Published in 2006 as part of the Museum of Modern Art's Contemporary Editions series, Ursus describes it as “one of the more exciting new achievements in book making in the 21st century.” What Eliasson has done is use computer assisted laser die-cuts to create a vertical cross section of his house. It is printed on an 85-1 scale, with each leaf representing 2.2 centimeters (7/8ths inch) farther in. Eliasson says, “It is like walking through a house, following the layout of the rooms with your body and mind...” I know what this is – an MRI. It's an MRI of a house. This is one of 225 copies and is signed by Eliasson. Item 23. $18,500.

 

Next we have the Poésies de Stéphane Mallarmé (Poems of Stéphane Mallarmé). Mallarmé was a 19th century French poet noted as one of the founders of symbolism. It transformed literature and poetry from being literally descriptive to more of an art, the sounds of words giving them multiple meanings, and descriptions meant more to elicit responses than providing one-of-a-kind photographic meanings. This is not a first edition of Mallarmé's poetry by any means. It was first published in 1887, while this edition was released in 1932. Nevertheless, it is extremely valuable. The reason, as you might expect from this catalogue, is the illustrations. There are 29 etchings created by Henri Matisse. These are a minimalist sort of drawings, employing filament-like lines to create the images. This was not a collaborative effort, Mallarmé having died several decades before Matisse provided his drawings. Therefore, it naturally is signed only by the artist. It is one of 145 copies. Item 48. $75,000.

 

Ursus Books may be reached at 212-772-8787 or pkraus@ursusbooks.com. Their website is www.ursusbooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Gideon Welles, <i>Extensive archive of personal and family papers of Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy,</i> 1791-1914. Sold September 29 — $281,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Rock Climbers,</i> cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> watercolor, ink and gouache, 1954. Sold December 15 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Brontë, <i>Jane Eyre. An Autobiography. Edited by Currer Bell,</i> three volumes, first edition, 1847. Sold June 16, 2022 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Geoffrey Chaucer, <i>The Workes of Geffray Chaucer Newlye Printed,</i> London, 1542. Sold October 13 — $106,250.
    <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Dorothea Lange, <i>Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California (Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age 32),</i> silver print, 1936. Sold October 20 — $305,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> George Washington, Autograph Document Signed, with two manuscript plat maps in holograph, 1751. Sold October 27 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Winfred Rembert, <i>Winfred Rembert and Class of 1959,</i> dye on carved & tooled leather, 1999. Sold October 6 — $233,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> M.C. Escher, <i>Relativity,</i> lithograph, 1953. Sold November 3 — $81,250.
  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Original Film Posters<br>27 January - 10 February 2023</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Vertigo (1958), poster, US. The ultimate poster on this classic Hitchcock title, one of three known examples. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Lawrence of Arabia (1962), roadshow poster, US. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Star Wars (1977), style C poster, printer's proof, US. £7,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> The Navigator/ La Croisiere du Navigator (1924), re-release poster (1931), French. £5,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Bullitt (1968), special test poster, US. £3,000 to £5,000.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions