Our November 24 auction of Art, Press & Illustrated books saw particular success for classical and poetic texts. Specialist Christine von der Linn said,”In this auction major artists illustrating classical texts, as well as works pertaining to important historical and worldly, such as biblical texts and Greek and Roman literature, performed particularly well, speaking to collector interest in connecting with classical culture.”
Lot 140: Kelmscott Press, The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer now newly imprinted, first edition, with 87 woodcut illustrations by Sir Edward-Burne-Jones, Hammersmith, 1896. Sold November 24, 2015 for $62,500.
The top lot of the sale was a resplendent first edition copy of The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer from William Morris’s Kelmscott Press, largely considered the most famous book of the modern private press movement. Among the works included is Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, detailing the travels of religious pilgrims journeying to the shrine of Saint Thomas Beckett. The text sold for $62,500.
Lot 60: Marc Chagall, Psaumes de David, 30 etchings with aquatint, signed by Chagall, Geneva, 1979. Sold November 24, 2015 for $11,250.
Other texts pertaining to religious themes included Marc Chagall’s Psaumes de David, which realized $11,250, and Odilon Redon’s illustrated edition of Gustave Flaubert’s La Tentation de Saint Antoine, a text Flaubert labored over for much of his career. La Tentation de Saint Antoine brought $6,250.
Lot 232: Odilon Redon, Gustave Flaubert’s La Tentation de Saint Antoine, with 22 lithographs by Redon, Paris, 1933-38. Sold November 24, 2015 for $6,250.
Books of stories and poetry also performed well, led by George Barbier’s personal copy of his collaboration with François-Louis Schmied on Marcel Schwob’s Vies Imaginaires, a collection of biographical fiction. Vies Imaginaires brought $20,000.
Lot 36: George Barbier, Marcel Schwob’s Vies Imaginaires, with 60 illustrations by Barbier and F.L. Schmied, Barbier’s own copy, signed by the artist and others, in binding by Cretté, Paris, 1929. Sold November 24, 2015 for $20,000.
Lot 259: Tiber Press, set of four collaborative books between poets and artists, Permanently, The Poems, Odes, and Salute, New York, 1960. Sold November 24, 2015 for $14,300.
Among the poetry books was a set of four collaborative texts from Tiber Press. Each book was created by self-chosen collaboration between New York School poets Kenneth Koch, James Schuyler, Frank O’Hara and John Ashbery and artists Alfred Leslie, Grace Hartigan, Michael Goldberg and Joan Mitchell. The set sold for $14,300.