Records & Results: Fine Illustrated Books & Graphics

Georges Rouault’s Livres d’Artiste Lead Swann Galleries’ Fine Illustrated Books & Graphics 


We opened out 2019 season with Fine Illustrated Books & Graphics which boasted numerous auction records and several new buyers.


Color aquatint of a man juggling by Georges Rouault from Cirque de l'Étoile Filante.
Lot 169: Georges Rouault, Cirque de l’Étoile Filante, 17 color aquatints & 82 woodcuts, Paris, 1938. Sold for $35,000.


Livres d’Artiste

Leading the sale was Cirque de l’Étoile Filante, 1938, by Georges Rouault. The publication, depicting circus performers in 17 color aquatints by Rouault and 82 wood engravings by George Aubert in characteristic Fauvist style, sold for $35,000. Rouault’s final work, Passion, 1939, also found success, selling for $21,250.


Color aquatint of Jesus by Georges Rouault from "Passion."
Lot 170: Georges Rouault, Passion, 17 hors text color aquatints & 82 black & white woodcuts, Paris, 1939. Sold for $21,250.


Additional livres d’artiste included Klänge, 1912-13, Wassily Kandinsky’s masterpiece of expressionism and one of the earliest artist’s books to contain nonrepresentational art, which reached $31,200; and a first English translation of Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, 1960, a typographic version by Richard Hamilton, brought $1,500, a record for the signed trade edition.


Color woodcut of men riding horses by Wassily Kandinsky.
Lot 151: Wassily Kandinsky, Klänge, 56 woodcuts, Munich, 1913. Sold for $31,200.


Cover of Marcel Duchamp's "The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors Even.
Lot 177: Marcel Duchamp, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, first English translation, New York, 1960. Sold for $1,500, a record for the trade edition.


Art Deco

An array of Art Deco material was led by a run of works by George Barbier and François-Louis Schmied: Personnages de Comédie, 1922, ($9,375), Vies Imaginaires, 1929, one of 120 copies created for members of the French bibliophile group, Le Livre Contemporain ($8,750), and Les Chansons de Bilitis, 1922, ($8,125). Solo works by Schmied featured Le Cantique des Cantiques, 1925, which brought $12,500.


An illustration of a medieval couple about to kiss by George Barbier & François-Louis Schmied for "Personnages de Comédie.
Lot 111: George Barbier & François-Louis Schmied, Personnages de Comédie, Paris, 1922. Sold for $9,375.


A spread from François-Louis Schmied's "Le Cantique des Cantiques," featuring a King on the left side and text on the right.
Lot 138: François-Louis Schmied, Le Cantique des Cantiques, 80 wood-engraved illustrations, Paris, 1925. Sold for $12,500.


Sonia Delaunay’s Ses Peintures, Ses Objects, Ses Tissues Simultanés, Ses Modes, 1925, a tour de force of Simultaneous Contrast design theory, set a record for the work with $13,750, and 20 color pochoir plates of butterflies by Emile-Alain Seguy from 1925, realized $9,100.


Illustration of four women in four different dress designs from by Sonia Delaunay.
Lot 122: Sonia Delaunay, Ses Peintures, Ses Objets, Ses Tissues Simultanés, Ses Modes, 20 pochoir plates, Paris, 1925. Sold for $13,750, a record for the work.


Art Nouveau

Alphonse Mucha’s Ilsée, Princesse de Tripoli, 1897, brought a record price for a copy of the publication in the original folder at $13,000. A rich Art Nouveau selection continued with Eugène Grasset’s La Plante et ses applications Ornementales, 1895, 72 richly colored and intricately designed plates, that brought $7,250.


Cover of Alphonse Mucha's "Ilsée, Princesse de Trpoli."
Lot 101: Alphonse Mucha, Ilsée, Princesse de Tripoli, Paris, 1897. Sold for $13,000, a record for a copy in the original wrappers.


Illustration of flower boarders from Eugène Grasset's "La Plante et ses applications Ornementales."
Lot 100: Eugène Grasset, La Plante et ses applications Ornementales, 72 colored plates, Paris, 1895. Sold for $7,250.


Cheloniidae Press

Works from the Cheloniidae Press found buyers with The Birds and Beasts of Shakespeare, 1990, which brought $6,500, a record for the work; and the artist’s proof copy of Tortoises, 1983, which featured sculptural leather binding evoking a turtle shell and garnered $5,750.


Cover of Tortoise's which features sculptural binding that looks like a turtle shell by The Cheloniidae Press.
Lot 24: James Alan Robinson, Tortoises, Cheloniidae Press, 1983. Sold for $5,750.


Additional Highlights & Records

Additional highlights include Strickland’s Lithographic Drawing of the Ancient Painted Ceiling in the Nave of Peterborough Cathedral returning to auction after over 30 years ($1,500), and Richard Diebenkorn’s etchings for Poems by W.B. Yeats ($11,050).


An etching of a coat by Richard Diebenkorn for Poems by W.B. Yeats.
Lot 186: Richard Diebenkorn, Poems by W.B. Yeats, suit of six etchings, Arion Press, 1990. Sold for $11,050.


Records were set by Diptera: A Book of Flies & Other Insects, 1983, by Leonard Baskin with $9,750, Die Buecher der Chronika der drei Schwestern, 1900, by Heinrich Lefler and Josef Urban with $2,250; and Wiener Mode 1914, a portfolio of fashion designs by Viennese publication, Werkstätte, with $2,375. 


An illustration of a fly by Leonard Baskin and The Gehenna Press.
Lot 20: Leonard Baskin, Diptera: A Book of Flies & Other Insects, The Gehenna Press, 1983. Sold for $9,750, a record for the work.


An illustrated page from Die Biecher der Chronika der drei Schwestern.
Lot 103: Heinrich Lefler & Josef Urban, Die Buecher der Chronika der drei Schwestern, Berlin, 1900. Sold for $2,250 a record for the work.


Christine von der Linn on the sale:

“Collectors enthusiastically received this smaller, thoughtfully curated fine books auction. What struck me most was the global participation in this sale, and the growing number of bidders on our recently launched Swann Galleries app, which reflects how people are becoming increasingly comfortable with this type of digital platform and appreciate the convenience it offers.”


Complete Results.

More about selling at Swann.

February 8, 2019
Category: Books & Manuscripts