Christine von der Linn on Irving Oaklander

Thursday, May 9th, our sale of Art, Press & Illustrated Books will feature the inventory of the late Irving Oaklander, known to all who sought rare books about graphic design, typography and printing over the past 30 years.

Oaklander was a pioneer in the field; he managed to find the most obscure items and loved matching the right book to the collector. A teacher for 35 years before he officially started his book business, he was a natural instructor and nurturer of interests. Irving was even a New York City geographical trailblazer, setting up his shop in the loft district of Chelsea back in 1990. He passed away shortly after he, his lovely wife and business partner, Lenore, and I finished organizing the pieces for this sale. Even as his health was failing, his excitement in the material never waned and he eagerly showed me items I’d never handled in my 20 years at Swann.

One of those rarities is lot 41, an original 1935 package design for an early lighting device, designed by the talented Dutch Jewish graphic artist Frederika “Fré” Cohen.

Among his abundant number of excellent poster and advertising design books, many by German masters, are Carl Hinkefuss’s 10 Jahre Deutsche Werbe-Graphik and Walter Schubert’s Die Deutsche Werbe Graphik.

Walter F. Schubert, Die Deutsche Werbe Graphik, Berlin, 1927. Estimate $600 to $900. 
Carl Ernst Hinkefuss, 10 Jahre Deutsche Werbe-Graphik, Berlin, 1923. Estimate $1,000 to $1,500.

Revolutionary masters of graphic design and typography are included, such as H.N. Werkman (whose design for Priere pour nous autres charnels appears on the cover of the sale catalogue) and Jan Tschichold, whose annotated copy of his De Proporties van het Boek (a bible in the world of book design) found its way onto Oaklander’s shelves.

Irving died on 8/8/12 at the age of 88 and he would, I think, (with his good humor along with his sense of symmetry and graphics), have been amused at how lot 88 in the sale ended up being the run of volumes of De 8 en Opbouw, the Dutch architectural avant-garde magazine.

De 8 en Opbouw, designed by Paul Schuitema, group of more than 40 issues, Amsterdam, 1934-42. Estimate $300 to $400.

Many more volumes from his excellent reference library will be offered in our August Shelf Sale. The next Art, Press & Illustrated Books sale on October 24 will contain more highlights from the inventory, so keep an eye out for more graphic design treats in 2013.

Thanks to Specialist Christine von der Linn for this blog post.