Rare Gustav Klimt monograph sets auction record at Swann Galleries
NEW YORK, NY.- The star lot in Swann Galleries’ October 11 auction of Art, Press & Illustrated Books was Das Werk von Gustav Klimt, Einleitende Worte: Hermann Bahr, Peter Altenberg, a stunning volume containing 50 plates in the original case designed by Julius Dratva, Vienna and Leipzig, 1918—it is the only monograph of Klimt’s work published in his lifetime. This beautiful and scarce book sold for an auction record price of $144,000*.
Also setting a record was Lucien of Samosata’s Die Hetaerengespraeche, illustrated with erotic pencil and ink studies by Klimt, in the original binding created by designer Josef Hoffmann at the Wiener Werkstätte, Leipzig, 1907, $5,520.
From the same era was Otto Czeschka’s program for the Wiener Werkstätte cabaret, Kabarett Fledermaus, Vienna, 1906, $15,600.
Bidders competed vigorously for a signed and numbered copy of Andy Warhol’s 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy, hand-colored, New York, 1954, which brought $52,800. Other art books of note included the Expressionist almanac Der Blue Reiter . . . Zweite Auflage , first edition, Munich, 1914, with plates colored in pochoir by Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc, $9,600; Tristan Tzara, Juste Présent, illustrations by Sonia Delaunay, signed by both, Paris, 1961, $10,800; Cy Twombly’s 8 Odi di Orazio, one of 100 copies, signed, Milan, 1968, $10,800 and a deluxe edition of Bernard Buffet’s Jeux de Dames, one of 220 copies, signed, Paris, 1970, $12,000.
A select assortment of works on architecture featured Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ausgeführte Bauten un Entwürfe, known as the “Wasmuth Portfolio,” containing lithographs of all of Wright’s designs up until that time, Berlin, 1910, $22,800.
Among private press highlights was a rare vellum copy of the Ashendene Press’s Un Mazzetto scelto di certi Fioretti del Glorioso Pavorello di Cristo by Saint Francis of Assisi, Chelsea, 1904, $9,000.
Also bringing $9,000 was an extraordinary circa 1917 maquette by Paul Claudel, L’homme et son désir, a handmade leporello of seven double-sided panels with handwritten text and cutouts of dancers by Audrey Parr.
Books on bookmaking and bindings attracted interest. Master bookbinder Charles Meunier’s own copy of Octave Uzanne’s L’Art dans la Décoration Extérieure des Livres, one of 60 copies on Japan paper, Paris, 1898, sold for $5,400; and a specially bound copy of Michael Wilcox’s Twelve Bindings, one of ten, Austin, 1985, achieved $7,800.
Rounding out the sale were S.W. Bushell’s elaborate Oriental Ceramic Art illustrated by Examples from the Collection of W. T. Walters, 10 volumes, celebrated for its vibrant chromolithography, New York, 1897, $5,040; George Barbier’s sumptuous color designs, Falbalas et Fanfreluches. Almanach des modes presents, passes, et futures, four of five volumes, Paris, 1922-24, 1926, $5,760; and a first book edition of Walt Disney’s Fantasia, signed by Walt Disney, author Deems Taylor and composer Leopold Stokowski, New York, 1940, $6,240.
For complete results of the auction, an illustrated catalogue, with prices realized on request, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, and may be viewed online at www.swanngalleries.com.