Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2008 Issue

European Posters From Burkhard Sülzen

Katalog12

Rare posters from Burkhard Sülzen.


By Michael Stillman

This month we have received our first catalogue from Burkhard Sülzen of Berlin. The title of this 12th catalogue is Schöne & Seltene Plakate, which translates to Fine & Rare Posters. As you might have guessed, this catalogue is in German, so some familiarity with the language is certainly helpful. However, even with a language barrier this is a fascinating catalogue. It is filled with posters from 1890-1973, including many of advertising, politics, film and sports. They are filled with dramatic images to convey their messages, which in turn tell us about their times. This is a riveting catalogue even if you haven't mastered the language. Here are some of these fabulous, sometimes frightening, always intriguing posters.

Item 21 is a poster for a Soviet film celebrating the early days of the Russian Revolution. Its date of 1926, when the effects of that revolution were not yet fully appreciated in Europe, explains why such a film would be shown in Austria. The heading is Der blutige Sommtag, or The bloody Sunday. This event occurred in St. Petersburg in 1905. Thousands of workers protesting labor conditions in the country peacefully marched on the Tsar's home, hoping he would support reforms for workers. Instead, guards fired on the crowd, gunning down hundreds, maybe thousands. Anger from the event led to the unsuccessful Revolution of 1905, which in turn set the stage for the Bolshevik Revolution twelve years later. This poster depicts a guard, with the face of a skeleton, sword in hand, riding a speedy horse. Priced at €480 (approximately $751 in U.S. dollars).

Item 24 is an Austrian poster for the noted Soviet propaganda film Panzerkreuzer Potemkin (Battleship Potemkin). This 1924 film, from noted Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein, received critical acclaim even in the West. It tells of another revolt in 1905, this time by the crew of the Potemkin over their conditions, which was also forcefully put down. Eisenstein portrayed the incident in a way designed to elicit the greatest sympathy for the sailors, and contempt for the Tsarist regime. This poster is seen on the cover of the catalogue (click the thumbnail image above to see). €9,500 (US $14,864).

Items 50-57 are another group of pro-Communist posters, but not from the Soviet Union. These are from the German election of 1928, a good year for the Communists who captured over 10% of the vote, several times what the Nazis managed that year. However, in the next two elections, they were only able to add a few points to their vote total while the Nazis became the leading party, with consequences too well known. These posters generally depict Communists as strong, powerful men, while members of other parties are unattractive, bureaucratic-looking individuals.

While the political world was on the cusp of disaster in 1928, there was still relief in the theaters. Item 76 is an Austrian movie poster from 1928 with a seductive image of Greta Garbo for the film The Divine Woman. It is a good thing that this poster can be found, as for the movie itself, all but one nine-minute reel has been lost. It is the only lost Garbo film, and is considered to be one of the most important of the lost silent movies. €2,200 (US $3,442).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Sergio Trujillo Magnenat, <i>Bogotá 1938 / IV Centenario / Juegos Deportivos Bolivarianos,</i> 1938. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>McQueen Drives Porsche,</i> designer unknown, 1970. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>Joe Bridge, <i>Bignan / A Des Ailes,</i> 1921. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Graham Simmons, <i>The Army Isn’t All Work,</i> 1919. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Je ne fume que le nil,</i> 1912. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>Attack of the 50 ft. Woman,</i> designer unknown, 1958. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Raymond Tooby, <i>Festival Guiness / Have You Tried One Yet?,</i> 1952. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Francisco Tamagno, <i>Terrot & Co. / Dijon / Cycles Motorettes,</i> 1909. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>A. Hori, Oakland / General Motors, circa 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> James Montgomery Flagg, <i>Travel? Adventure? Answer – Join the Marines!,</i> circa 1918. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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