Swann Galleries offered an auction of Fine Illustrated Books & Graphics on April 26, with highlights by artists of the twentieth century and scarce volumes from fine presses.
Leading the sale was Das Werk von Gustav Klimt, 1918, the only monograph of Gustav Klimt’s work published during his lifetime. With some of the artist’s most famous plates printed in vibrant color and highlighted in gold and silver, the suite tripled its high estimate, selling to a collector for $106,250. The posthumous Eine Nachlese, 1931, with 30 plates by Klimt and text by Max Eisler, sold for $11,250.
Fine art portfolios performed well throughout the sale. Fernand Léger’s colorful Cirque, 1950, with 63 lithographs, reached $20,000, as did Eaux-Fortes originales pour des textes du Buffon, 1942, a charming bestiary with etchings by Pablo Picasso.
A spectacular highlight was an original woodblock carving by Eric Gill for the Golden Cockerel Press edition of The Canterbury Tales, 1929. The image of Naked Man Dead appeared in the border ten times throughout the volumes ($17,500).
Each of the works by the Kelmscott Press, founded by William Morris, found buyers. The highlight was the second issue of the first book ever published by the press, The Story of the Glittering Pain, 1894, bound in vellum, which sold for $4,750.
An auction record was achieved for Friedrich Wolfrum’s Graphische Neuheiten Series II, 1907, a decorative work with samples of the latest designs for book design, frames, stationery and wallpaper, among other sundries. It was purchased by an institution for $6,250.
Specialist Christine von der Linn said of the sale, “Iconic imagery and bold designs were the stars of the sale. There was a definite appeal to the eclectic mix of classic works, quirky ephemera and modern material. It made for a very fun and lively sale from start to finish.”
The next auction of books at Swann Galleries will be 19th & 20th Century Literature on May 15, 2018. The house is currently accepting quality consignments for autumn auctions.
104 25th Street
Swann Auction Galleries, New York