Archive for the ‘artists books’ Category

Modern Masters’ Artists Books at Auction

Thursday, April 16th, 2009


I just received this notice from Rebecca Weiss at Swann Galleries in New York:

“Swann Galleries’ May 5 auction of the Ritter Collection of Modern Illustrated Books and Livres d’Artiste.

The books offered in this auction were acquired by West Coast collector Mel Ritter over several decades. Forty-six of his exemplary livres d’artiste formed the basis of an exhibition at The University of Arizona Museum of Art in 2006. Now the entire collection is being sold at Swann.

The genre of books designed and illustrated by fine artists took shape in 20th-century France and blossomed into a vibrant art form throughout Europe and beyond. The modern masters of art featured in this sale include Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Henry Moore, and Pablo Picasso. The publishers who championed their work and produced some of the most exquisite livres in the collection include Maeght, Gallimard, Tériade, and Louis Broder, among others.

Modern and contemporary variations of the artist-illustrated book are well represented with works by Patrick Caulfield, Jim Dine, David Hockney, Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Carlos Mérida, Robert Motherwell, and Antoni Tápies. Surrealists like Enrico Baj, Jose Luis Cuevas, Max Ernst, and Roberto Matta appear throughout the catalogue, as do American artists like Leonard Baskin, Fritz Scholder, Ben Shahn, and Bernard Solomon.

Beyond traditional livres d’artiste there are fine publications by such distinctly American presses as Arion, Brighton, Gehenna, Cheloniidae, Pennyroyal, and the popular Limited Editions Club. Ritter’s sense of humor and love of whimsical constructions and bindings can be seen in works by contemporary modern book artists including Julie Chen of Flying Fish Press, Mare Blocker of The M Kimberly Press, and the ever-creative Edward Hutchins.

The preview provides an excellent opportunity to discover and enjoy 200+ of the best artists’ books. If you cannot view the material in person at our galleries (April 25 through May 5), please call 212-254-4710 for additional information. We encourage requests for condition reports.” They also have an online gallery. Well worth a look.

Rebecca Weiss
Media Relations
Swann Galleries
104 East 25th Street
New York, NY 10010
212-254-4710, ext. 23

—Paul Razzell