New Acquisitions at The Veatchs Arts of the Book
- by Michael Stillman
New Acquisitions at The Veatchs Arts of the Book
The Veatchs Arts of the Book have released their Catalogue 94 Mostly New Acquisitions Not on Our Website. Many dealers often give their catalogue subscribers first shot at new material, a chance to beat the crowd. Naturally, the material offered pertains to the book arts, books that are notable for reasons other than just their text. Here are a few selections from these latest acquisitions.
When it comes to learning about the birds and beasts, William Shakespeare had a thing or two to say. Actually, he had at least 55 things to say. University of Massachusetts Professor Arthur F. Kinney provides Shakespeare's quotes and commentary, while illustrations and engravings come from Alan James Robinson. It was published by Robinson's Cheloniidae Press in 1990. Depicted are 21 birds and 17 beasts, some with multiple appearances to reach 55. The quotes and commentary are printed in red and black ink with Prof. Kinney explaining the importance of animal imagery in Shakespeare's works. This is one of 100 copies bound in full leather out of a total run of 155, signed by Robinson. It is bound in two volumes. The title is Birds and Beasts from Shakespeare. Item 13. Priced at $3,750.
In 1915, the Grolier Club published a book called New York. It documented the city's rapid growth to being the most important city in the world. Rudolph Ruzicka provided eight color engravings for that issue. In 2002, Kenneth Auchincloss published an update depicting the continued rise of the city through the twentieth century. Its title is New York Revisited. Gaylord Schanilec provided illustrations for this update and printed it at his Midnight Paper Sales press. It includes events in New York's history through the tragedy of September 11. A separate portfolio includes Ruzicka's eight engravings, printed by Schanilec from Ruzicka's original woodblocks. Additionally, it contains Schanilec's engravings of important New York scenes, such as lower Manhattan, Times Square, Grand Central, and the World Trade Center. This is #48 of 50 deluxe signed copies. Item 1. $2,800.
Item 27 is a combined effort of Joseph W. Reed and Paul Revere. They did not work together. They were separated by close to two centuries. Reed is an emeritus professor at Wesleyan, but also a most unusual artist. He is known for becoming highly focused for a while on certain subjects and for combining things that don't belong together. The Veatchs note that as an artist, he “almost defies categorization.” For example, you can see President Benjamin Harrison with fish from his series “Chief Executives Underwater.” Or, there is “First Ladies in Space.” If you prefer, he offers Mamie Eisenhower with Cardinal Richelieu. Even if not separated by several centuries, it's hard to imagine what they would have had in common. How about General Custer sitting on Whistler's mother's lap? On Custer's mother's lap, maybe, but Whistler's? And then there is “History of the Western Ant.” It was here, in 1970, that Reed cooperated with Revere, even if Paul didn't know it. He provides an update on Revere's 1768 work, A View of Part of the Town of Boston in New England and British Ships of War Landing Their Troops. From Boston Harbor, you can see Britain unloading troops the colonists were not too happy to see. However, if you look a little closer, you will notice those little soldiers don't look quite as expected. They are ants. That is what is distinctive about Reed's “History of the Western Ant,” in which he painted for a few years. The paintings are “peopled” with ants. $3,500.
Alois Auer was an Austrian printer and illustrator as well as a creative and inventive man. He invented several printing related processes such as the one demonstrated in this book, Die Entdeckung Des Naturselbstdruckes Oder Die Erfindungen... That roughly translates to the discovery or invention of nature printing. Nature printing is the process of making an impression of an object to make the printing plates. It is known mostly for creating images of plants, but can be used for anything. Herein, he provides nature printings of flowering plants, a snake skin, wood grain, a fossil fish, leaves, ferns, and more, over 40 in all. Some are in more than one color. Text is provided in German, English, French and Italian. Auer describes the invention and makes his case as the inventor. Eventually, he ended up in a dispute with Englishman Henry Bradbury, who used Auer's invention but made some improvements without recognizing Auer. It depressed Bradbury who committed suicide. Item 2. $3,900.
Hermann Zapf was a German calligrapher and type designer, who later became known for his work in computer typography. He lived a very long life (96 years), some of it spent teaching in the United States. Item 49 is a collection of 14 ephemeral items from Zapf. There are four Christmas cards, two signed, a dust jacket printed from Zapf's calligraphy, some broadside type specimens, and four letters, two to Professor Trump. The President's MIT professor uncle? Not likely. More likely it is type designer Georg Trump. $275.