(Avant-garde) (Careers)
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TERMS OF CATALOGUE:  This list of thirteen lots concerns the subject of the avant-garde; as a set not only of names, but of careers. Purchases are guaranteed to be catalogued, packed, and delivered to the collector's satisfaction; refunds eligible within 10 days of receipt.  Reciprocal terms are extended to the trade; institutional policies are accommodated. Prices are listed in American dollars (USD). Shipping is charged at cost. Payment accepted via PayPal, cheque, and certain credit cards. Contact via phone (416-729-7043) or email to reserve lots; priority is given to first interest. Prices of sold materials will be removed at buyer's request. Subscribe for future lists.
(BAUDELAIRE, Charles, 1821–1867);  MANET, Édouard, 1832–1883
Baudelaire de profil en chapeau II.  [Paris]: [1869].

Third state, later impression (Harris 59) ........................................................................................................... 350 USD

Etching (11 x 9 cm. plate) on cream-coloured laid paper (27 x 20 cm.), with crease to bottom margin of sheet; archivally matted in vintage frame. Later printing, presumably from the publisher Lemerre, with accompanying dealer's ticket dated 1888.
"[Etching] is too personal a subject, and consequently too aristocratic, to delight people other than men of letters and artists; people very much in love with all living Personality... Among the different expressions in the plastic arts, etching is the one which comes closest to literary expression and is the best way to betray the spontaneity of the artist" (Baudelaire, 1862). Manet incorporated etching into his practice largely under the influence of Baudelaire's aesthetics. And—full circle, Baudelaire would himself become a recurrent subject in Manet's etching. In 1862, he first etched Baudelaire's top-hat'd profile—so similar to the one figured in his Tuileries canvas from the same year. And then, when word reached Manet that Charles Asselineau was planning a memorial publication in 1869, following Baudelaire's death, Manet insisted on contributing two portraits. With Baudelaire de profil en chapeau II (above), he revisited the earlier profile, although he would here push his subject further towards abstraction. Approaching calligraphy. Thus Harris: "In the first vision, there is a little shading with parallel strokes in the lower part of the hat, the coat collar, and tie. These hatchings are completely eliminated in the second version; what remains is a pure outline drawing untouched by shading."
Lemerre, the publisher of Asselineau's book, is known to have kept Manet's original plates, pulling an unknown number of prints over the following years. With this particular impression, however, the paper appears to have expressed its own spontaneity, with an imperfection in the sheet creating the illusion of Baudelaire's rounded right shoulder.
END OF LOT 01   Contact for purchase inquiries.
(BAUDELAIRE, Charles, 1821–1867);  STARKIE, Enid
Baudelaire.  London: Victor Gollancz, [1933].

First edition; presentation copy, with TLS and programme

Blue cloth boards (22 cm. tall), with gilt lettering to spine; scuffed, with fraying to spine ends. Contents illustrated with frontispiece portrait of Baudelaire; 518pp. With presentation inscription in ink to front endpaper ("For Bertie and Edith, with the author's love.") Accompanied by typescript letter from Starkie, with a handful of manuscript corrections, dated Dec. 7 1931; 3 leaves, printed to both rectos and versos, on Oxford letterhead. Also accompanied by a programme for Miss Starkie's Pianoforte Recital (undated; either 1923 or 1928 based on calendar date of Sunday, June 24); single sheet folded, with photographic image of a mid-twenties Starkie to front. With tape repairs to horizontal fold and slice to lower corner.
Before Enid Starkie published her monograph on Baudelaire (1933), he was not yet, to the English at least, the "Baudelaire" that would come to dominate our nineteenth century imaginations. Indeed, his works were wholly absent from university syllabi. Following the manuscript's initial rejection by Constable's, Helen Waddell wrote an insistent letter to its eventual publisher, Victor Gollancz: "I think the book is remarkable, not only as a complete reversal of the [Satanic] Baudelaire legend, but for its human understanding." Soon enough, The Times Literary Supplement would concur: "It is not without significance that this notable task has been performed by a woman, and by one, moreover, who has neither shirked enquiring into the least pleasant aspects of Baudelaire's life, nor attempted to palliate either her discussion of them or her interpretation of his early poems. Twenty years ago, such matters scarcely could have been treated by a woman, and least of all by one who held, as Miss Starkie does, a responsible post at Oxford, without condemning her to unenviable and undesirable notoriety. Happily, there is no question now of having to admire her courage; what we can and do admire unreservedly is the unfailing energy and enthusiasm that have supported her in the heavy labour of collecting her material and in the even heavier one of composing it into a book which contains upwards of a quarter of a million words."
This presentation copy, inscribed to the medieval historian Bertie Wilkinson and his wife Edith Provost, is accompanied by an incredibly revealing typescript letter, providing a glimpse into a period of Starkie's life that her biographer Joanne Richardson has lamented as "thinly documented." Across six pages, Starkie paints the precarity of her position as an Oxford tutor, life as a female academic, and the general climate of uncertainty owing to the radical 1931 devaluation of the British pound. Nonetheless, she places faith in her Baudelaire: "I had hoped to finish it by Xmas but now I am being held up again by these new discoveries which I have made... You won't think me vain if I say that I think parts of it are good. But I know I shall have the critics down on me; I destroy too many pet prejudices. I have made too many new discoveries, which is a pity because they will mostly be missed. One would have been sufficient which I could have drawn attention to. But I can't stop all the time to say that this is a new point which no one has yet thought of, especially not in a book which aims at being readable as well as learned.... I know that the general public, unfortunately, will look only for things like my view of whether Baudelaire was impotent or not; although I think this an important point, I don't think it is the most important aspect of his personality."
(BURROUGHS, William S., 1914–1997)MALANGA, Gerard
William Burroughs in front of Exec. Hdqtrs, Burroughs Corp., NYC. 
New York, 1975
2500 USD

Large format gelatin silver print (45 x 29 cm.) matted in aluminum frame (measuring 63 x 48 cm. total). With artist's embossed stamp at bottom right margin of print. On verso: signed, dated, titled, and numbered by Malanga, as print number 4 of 10.
For the author of The soft machine—and one of the typewriter's most ardent lovers—it's hard not to imagine the shadow of the family business looming large. The Burroughs Corporation was originally founded in 1886 as the American Arithmometer Company, designing adding machines for businesses. Burroughs would move forward to embrace twentieth century computing, before eventually merging with Sperry UNIVAC to form UNISYS. Just consider the heresy (for some of us) of burroughs.com. Thus the brilliance of Gerard Malanga's 1975 large-scale portrait of a then-elderly William S., so strikingly capturing the friction between the divergent theories of language competing under a single family name: the digital versus the analogue.
END OF LOT 03   Contact for purchase inquiries.
CARRIÈRE, Eugène, 1849–1906;  (DREYFUS AFFAIR)
[Small format broadside announcing the launch of L'aurore]
Paris: Imprimerie Paul Dupont, [circa 1897]
250 USD

Monochromatic lithographic print (25 x 18 cm.), with minor loss to top margin and very minor creasing to sky. Verso shows minimal remnants from adhesives, both contemporary and later. Other than minor discolouration, the image is otherwise remarkably well-preserved.
Eugène Carrière is known more for his brooding Symbolist paintings than for his ephemeral works of print. In fin-de-siècle Paris, however, the Dreyfus Affair was a daily phenomenon, with Alfred Dreyfus accused of colluding with a foreign power amidst a troubling rise of anti-Semitic and nationalist forces. Within this context, Geroges Clemenceau—the future French Prime Minister—was preparing for the publication of L'aurore (roughly translated as The dawn), a daily journal with the triple motto: "Littéraire, Artistique, Sociale." Most famously, it was on the front page of L'aurore in January 1898 that Émile Zola would push the Affair to its limit with his incendiary open letter to President Faure, "J'accuse." But first, in 1897, Clemenceau needed promotion. And so he asked Carrière for a captivating image with which to launch his paper, both for street posters, but also for use in bookshops and similar spaces. The print offered here is one of the latter; marked as "affiche d'interieur." Invoking the aesthetic of a migraine—and of that which will pass—Carrière lent his talent to the cause.
END OF LOT 04   Contact for purchase inquiries.
CHOPIN, Henri, 1922–2008;  (GYSIN, Brion, 1916–1986)
[A collection of poetic materials relating to the imaginary Festival de Fort Boyard]. 
Paris / Essex, 1967-1972
Price upon request
This collection consists of four items. Namely: (1) a retrospective catalogue, published in Turin by Galleria il Punto (1970). White wrappers (17 cm. tall), printed in blue, with French flaps; minor foxing to front cover. With 15 leaves of content printed on glossy paper, including  a three-paged retrospective essay from Chopin (in French) and reproductions of seven of the original serigraph posters; printed in black, red, and blue. (Two original copies of these posters appearing below). This being copy number 974 of 1000 (being a reduced version of the limited edition of 20 copies, which measures an astounding 65 cm. tall);
(2) A serigraph broadside (68 x 53 cm. sheet; preserved in aluminum frame, under archival glass), printed in red and reproducing an image signed by Bertini, announcing the Dream Machines performance of Brion Gysin, supposedly scheduled for June 3, 1967. The poster shows a number of faint creases; the broadside originally being folded into a self-envelope that measured 17 x 27 cm., and addressed to French art critic Pierre Descargues in 1967 (see below); ...
... (3) A serigraph broadside (68 x 53 cm. sheet), printed in dark teal on heavy pink paper, announcing an abstract film performance by Kurt Kren, supposedly scheduled for June 28, 1967. The poster has been twice-folded into a self-envelope, measuring 17 x 27 cm.; also addressed to French art critic Pierre Descargues in 1967; and
(4) Avec 3 figures: Beguier—Bertini—HC, a collage work from Henri Chopin (identified as an artist's proof), with the title inscribed to verso, along with Chopin's signature and date (February 1972). Consisting of a masonite disc (23 cm. in diameter; 1.5 cm thick), with one side wrapped in stamped silver foil, to which is affixed a typescript poem from Chopin, along with images in red and black that revisit imagery from the Festival catalogue and posters. Accompanied by a typescript mailing address (Whitehall Park, London) of dealer Larry Wallrich.
In the summer of 1967, posters began to appear in the streets surrounding Paris' art museums, announcing an absurd-sounding art festival. The Festival was to be held at Fort Boyard: a nineteenth century military fortification built into an island off the Atlantic coast, about a five hour drive west of Paris. From there: "depart des vedettes chaque heure." Nonetheless, the posters announced performances that were very much worth the trip, from some of the most vital members of the 20th century avant-garde: e.g. Brion Gysin,  Kurt Kren, Ian Hamilton Finlay, and Gil Wolman. For the night of June 3, as announced by one the posters preserved in this remarkable collection of materials, Brion Gysin was to exhibit a massive installation of his infamous dream machine device; an octagon to measure 3 meters in diameter and suitable for 18 spectators at one time. Of course, just like the Festival, Gysin's installation was a work of pure imagination, rendering these posters simultaneously: announcements, performances, and relics. "These announcement posters give the lie to the common sense, which expresses works for occasions [i.e. invitations] to be regulated by the principle of reality even more than other works" (Moeglin-Delcroix, in Extra art: a survey of artists' ephemera, 2001).
The Festival drew its form largely from the imagination of Henri Chopin, the Parisian sound poet (etc.). In the retrospective catalogue that he published in 1970 (also present in this group), Chopin kept up appearances—writing to the reader from the year 69,000,000,000,008, from where he admired how the Festival's performances had remained, all these centuries later, as pure as they were on their first day. "En somme, le festival de Fort-Boyard ne risqua pas l'échec. C'était l'oeuvre totale, l'oeuvre parfaite, l'enfant inoui, la beauté partout, la pureté absolue, la grandeur trouvée, la force incarnée, la contestation dite, la valeur indiscutée, l'esprit triomphant, la démesure de la mesure, la mesure désmurée, c'était en quelque mots, le chef-d'oeuvre, le vrai, celui qui naît après vingt siècles de tâtonnements." With only five North American libraries reporting copies of the 1970 catalogue and only the BnF reporting holdings for any of the original posters. (NB: it's unclear in the secondary literature whether Gysin and Kren should be attributed as creators in these collaborative works, or whether they were merely used by Chopin and his collaborators as friendly subjects / pawns).
This group includes one further item. In 1972, Chopin would again revisit the Idea of the Festival, with a collage work mounted on a silver-foiled masonite disc (imaged above). The title for this artist's proof is inscribed to the versoAvec 3 figures: Beguier—Bertini—HC, with Chopin thus naming two of his collaborators in the Festival, while citing them within the collage itself through the recycling of their images. The female image by Gianni Bertini thus repeats in this group thrice: on the Gysin poster, in the pages of the catalogue, and in the prominent left-quadrant of this collage, opposite Chopin's absurd black scale. Within this context, the typescript poem might be considered one of Chopin's most self-referential dactylopoèmes, performing his incessant loop between the multiple levels of language: "... que j'en avais la gueule de bois de ne battre avec les lettres les mots parlés de tous il me fallait autre chose c'est pourquoi je suis avec encore hhhh iiii jjjj kkkk llll mmmm nnnn oooo pppp qqqq rrrr quand je dois dire que tout cela n'existe pas tas de personnages bavards ——————————————— c'est tout."
END OF LOT 05   Contact for purchase inquiries.
HARLING, Robert (editor)
Alphabet and image
London: James Shand at the Shenval Press / Art and Technics, 1946–1948. 

All published, with two of the scarce supplements

Eight issues, bound in bold typographic wrappers (25 cm. tall); the first four in coil bindings, with minor loss to coils, with the non-coil covers starting to detach from textblocks, as usual. Contents ranging between 86 and 100 pages; well-illustrated throughout, in both b/w and colour, with numerous inserts and fold-outs. Accompanied by two of the four supplements (A & I: stop press) that accompanied numbers 5 through 8; being single sheets, folded into four pages (23 cm. tall).
Working towards the development of a post-WWII British design profession, Robert Harling decided to broaden his earlier Typography journal with a new vision: Alphabet and Image. "Under its simple but flexible title, it is hoped that an appraisal of an eighteenth-century draughtsman or a contemporary photographer may be included as naturally and logically as a review of a recent typeface or reproductions of antique penmanship." Towards that end, the spiral binding afforded Harling the opportunity to assembly essays and graphic examples printed on various papers and via various techniques. Harling's inter-disciplinary vision, however, was short-lived, as professionalism spawned specialization. After 1948, the project would again be split into two: Alphabet: an annual of typography and Image: a quarterly of the arts.
With essays in these eight issues from the likes of Harry Carter, Ruari McLean, Frances Meynell, Stanley Morison, Percy Muir, and James Shand—and on such subjects as: "A [typographic] examination of the Egyptians," "17th century booksellers' and stationers' trade cards," "The book illustrations of Mervyn Peake," "The typography of psychological warfare," "The posters of the Beggarstaff Brothers," "Newspaper Printing in the nineteenth century," "Fat faces: their history, forms, and use," "The typographical design of government printing," and "The early alphabets of Eric Gill."
Of note is the final issue of the Stop press supplement (one of two supplements present in this set), where a brilliant design competition was organized for the invention of the 27th English letter. In addition to the winners, and the judges thorough rationales, a number of "special mentions" were provided for their sheer creativity. Rendering this set rather timely is the March 2017 special issue of The book collector, which revisits the design competition in honour of Ian Fleming's participation in organizing the original competition with Harling.
KLEE, Paul, 1879–1940;  HESSE, Hermann, 1877–1962
Die Alpen: monatsschrift für schweizerische und allgemeine kultur. VI Jahrgang
Bern: Dr. Gustav Grunau, 1911–1912

Mustard cloth boards (25 cm. tall), boldly-illustrated in black. With black lettering to spine. Binder's ticket attributes this thematic binding to J. Brandner of Winterthur (Zurich). Twelve numbers are here bound together, composing the sixth year of this serial, from September 1911 through August 1912. Contents are well-illustrated, with over 30 black-and-white plates and numerous in-text illustrations. Text in German and printed in Fraktur; vii, 748 pages, with pencil marginalia to a handful of pages.
Living in Munich, Paul Klee's career took a fateful turn in the Fall of 1911, after finally being introduced to his neighbour, Wassily Kandinsky, and gaining affiliation with the Blaue Reiter group, with whom he'd soon exhibit over a dozen works at the group's second exhibition (1912). During this period, as an art critic for the Bern-based publication Die alpen, Klee acted for his home city as a veritable ambassador for the avant-garde, working out his increasingly anti-naturalist theory of art in a series of exhibition reviews, mostly published in the section "Literatur und kunst des auslanders." This volume (Jahrgang VI) includes five of these early reviews, including those for the first and second Blaue Reiter exhibitions in Munich (from January and March 1912), as well as a review of an exhibition at the Zurich Kunsthaus, to which Klee was invited to exhibit by Hans Arp. This later review, included as a full essay in the August 1912 issue (totaling nine illustrated pages), would represent a key moment for Klee's public career, as he sought to negotiate himself between Cubism and Expressionism, just a little over a year after his first solo exhibition in Bern. Surprisingly few copies of the original publications have survived—with FirstSearch reporting only a single copy in North America; of the December 1911 number at Tulane—which explains why these seminal writings are almost always referenced in regards to their appearance in his cumulative Schriften and not in their original form.
Die Alpen—which would continue for one more volume (Jahrgang VII, 1912/13)—was formerly published under the title Berner rundschau (from 1906/07 through 1909/10). In addition to Klee's reviews, this 1911/12 volume includes a long (and well-illustrated) assessment of Klee's early career by Hans Bloesch ("Ein moderner graphiker"), as well as three publications from a young Hermann Hesse: including the poem Adagio (which would become Traum gibt, was Tag verschloss) and the short stories Vater Daniel and Drei linden. An incredibly well-preserved monument from the Modernist movement.
KLEE, Paul and Will GROHMANN, 1887–1968;  (WIGMAN, Mary, 1886–1973)
Paul Klee: Handzeichnungen, 1921–1930
Postdam and Berlin: Müller & I. Kiepenheuer Verlag, 1934. 
Association copy (no. 33 of 525); from the confiscated first edition

Smooth cloth boards (29 cm. tall), titled and illustrated in black, reproducing an original illustration from Klee on front panel. Some bubbling to cloth and general scuffing to boards. Contents feature 30 pages of text, ten pages of which represent the first catalogue of Klee's works by Grohmann, followed by 72 plates (complete), printed on thick cardstock with perforated edges to the gutter (to afford easy framing of the images). With ink ownership inscription (Mary Wigman) to front endpaper, accompanied by 1934 pencil inscription from Grohmann to Wigman.
With Paul Klee having already abandoned the German climate for his native Switzerland in late 1933, it seemed somewhat dubious for art critic Will Grohmann to plan the publication of a three volume catalogue raisonné for the German public. Nonetheless, in a letter to Klee, Grohmann confirmed that the first of those volumes—being the one present here—was to appear in October 1934. By the Spring of 1935, the remainder of the edition would be confiscated by Nazi officials; with the other two volumes placed indefinitely on hold.
This particular association copy adds a fascinating twist to the story. Before the edition was confiscated, one of its recipients was the innovative choreographer (and supposed Nazi sympathizer) Mary Wigman, a friend from Dresden of Grohmann, who here presents her with a nostalgic inscription (“In alter treu u. freundschaft"). Of the few annotations to the text—possibly made by Wigman herself, or possibly by Grohmann—is a mark next to number 76 in Grohmann's catalogue, drawing attention to Klee's Drei Hexen from 1927: a work which presumably drew inspiration from Wigman's own Hexentranz (see video above), which she had premiered a year earlier, in 1926.
END OF LOT 08   Contact for purchase inquiries.
KLEE, Paul and Wilhelm  HAUSENSTEIN, 1882–1957
12 Grafiken
[Stuttgart?], [circa 1947]
350 USD
Illustrated portfolio (22 by 15 cm.), showing modest edge-wear, featuring cover image from Alfred Eichhorn. Housing a loose suite of twelve black-and-white lithographic reproductions, with an additional sheet featuring a short text (in German) from Wilhelm Hausenstein. With minimal foxing to paper. A number of the images are internally dated as "47;" no other publication information provided.
Printed without colophon, the origin of this work remains somewhat mysterious. The Getty Research Institute—the only OCLC library to report a copy—identifies German art critic (and Klee supporter) Wilhelm Hausenstein as the primary creator, presumably because the only words here printed, on the modernist understanding of Nature, are attributed to him. Meanwhile, a catalogue of H. A. P. Grieshaber's oeuvre categorizes this work as one of his "books with other poets and artists;" naming the source as an exhibition at Stuttgart's Galerie Herrmann in 1947 (a fact which coincides with the internal dating on some of the lithographically-reproduced images). The posthumous inclusion of one of Klee's images (see below) is particularly intriguing; we were unable to locate a resemblance in the final volumes of his Thames & Hudson catalogue raisonné.
END OF LOT 09   Contact for purchase inquiries.
(PICASSO, Pablo, 1881–1973); RAYNAL, Maurice
Picasso [in its two first printings]. 
Munich: Delphin Verlag, 1921–1922.

450 USD
First two printings of the first (German) edition: (1) Illustrated papered boards (23 cm. tall), repoducing Tête (1907), with stylized lettering to spine. General edge-wear, with abrasions to head of spine. Small bookplate to front pastedown (Aug. Lowe?). Contents: frontispiece, depicting a grotesque sculpture by Gargallo, precedes 139, [1] pages of Raynal's text, followed by 100 black-and-white plates, followed by an eight-paged catalogue (of the reproduced works) and one of the first attempts at a Picasso bibliography; (2) Second item has illustrated linen boards (23 cm. tall), with reproduction of Nu (1907) stamped in black on front panel, with same stylized lettering to spine. Front hinge starting. Contents: Gargallo's frontispiece precedes 139, [1] pages of text, followed by 104 black-and-white plates, concluded with an eight-paged catalogue and bibliography.
Since dubbed a propagandist of Cubism, Maurice Raynal did produce the first monograph on Picasso, of which two variant printings are offered here. Although Raynal originally wrote his long essay in French, it was Munich's Delphin Verlag that first published its contents in German translation in 1921; it wasn't until the second printing (presumably in 1922) that the translator was named as Dr. Ludwig Gorm. This attribution wasn't the only change between the two printings—between which the first French publication was issued by George Crès in Paris. The covers are materially different, representing two different works of Picasso. The stock of some of the plates has improved dramatically. And four of Picasso's latest works were added to his catalogue (and represented with plates), including Les baigneurs (1922).
Strangely, across the two printings, there's one element that definitively doesn't change. In both instances, the titles go to great lengths to announce a false number of plates. When four additional plates are added in the second printing (all of them being properly credited in the table of contents), the original titling error is carried forward, so that 95 becomes 99 (rather than 104). To add a further twist: with the French Crès edition, the plates correspond to the first Delphin printing (with 100), while the cover image matches that from the second. An interesting case study in marketing for art historians.
END OF LOT 10   Contact for purchase inquiries.
(RAVACHOL, 1859–1892);  ESCHER, Hans
Ravachol: ein zyklus
Vienna and Munich: Jugend und Volk, 1967–1969.

Ausgabe A; portfolio XIII of XX
750 USD

Illustrated portfolio, with red cloth spine over black papered-boards (50 cm. tall), printed in red. Boards are scuffed, with wear to corners and some warping to side panels. Containing a suite of 12 etchings of various dimensions (from 17 by 32 cm. to 40 by 24 cm.) and one ink-and-wash sketch (24 by 32 cm.), all of them signed and dated in pencil (for 1967 or 1968). Each print laid loose into windowed mats, uniformly measuring 49 x 40 cm. With spotting to margins from the black paper mats; some offsetting to prints. Accompanied by 1969 publication from Jugend und Volk: cloth-bound illustrated boards (32 cm. tall), housed in illustrated slipcase that matches the larger portfolio. Contents well-illustrated, with text in German; 68 numbered pages.
During the tumultuous period of 1967–1968, Viennese graphic artist Hans Escher revisited the career of the legendary French anarchist Ravachol (the maternal pseudonym for François Claudius Koenigstein), producing a narrative cycle / proto-graphic novel of twelve etchings and twenty ink-and-wash sketches. As so strikingly captured on the front of the portfolio, Ravachol was ultimately guillotined for a series of bombings that protested State violence in the decades following the Paris Commune. In 1969, Escher's images would be reproduced in book form by Jugend und Volk, accompanied by translated excerpts from Jean Maitron's biography of Ravachol, along with a critical essay by Johann Muschik on the contemporaneity of Escher's graphical interpretation of the anarchist legend.
The limited edition of this publication (of which this is XIII of XX) included twenty large portfolios, each of them containing  a complete suite of the full-sized etchings, signed and numbered by Escher, as well as one of the original twenty ink-and-wash sketches—in this instance, of Ravachol's arrest in the streets (imaged above). While three of the etchings are individually reported by the BnF, we were unable to discover records for the complete portfolio on WorldCat.
END OF LOT 11   Contact for purchase inquiries.
THOMPSON, Francis,  1859–1907;  MEYNELL, Alice, 1847–1922
Sister songs: an offering to two sisters
London: John Lane at the Bodley Head, 1895. 
Association copy
Green cloth boards (20 cm. tall), showing some discolouration, with handsome Bodley Head design gilt-stamped to front panel and spine. Contents illustrated by Laurence Housman, with tissue-guarded frontispiece. With textblock being 65, [1] pages of text, followed by a two-paged advertisement for Thompson's Poems and a sixteen-paged catalogue from John Lane. This gift copy is twice annotated by Alice Meynell; with an inscription to her friend on the half-title page and a remarkable attribution to the first page of the poem (imaged below).
"The author has been selling matches in the Strand for two years. We thought we might rescue him by publishing his things, but alas! We seem to have frightened him away even from the Strand, for he has disappeared. Even hunger does not press him to come for money, though I fear he is famishing." Alice Meynell reports here of Francis Thompson, the mystical laudanum poet towards whom she and her husband Wilfrid offered the grace of patrons. It was in their manor at Palace Court, in the company of their two young daughters, that Thompson found the peace to write his Hound of Heaven (if not an avant-garde work in form, then most certainly in its exhausting spirit). As a gift for the Meynells' hospitality, Thompson placed the manuscript for Sister songs on their mantle, accompanied by a letter: "If intensity of labour could make it good, good it would be. One way or the other, it will be an effectual test of a theme on which I have never yet written; if from it I have failed to draw poetry, then I may as well take down my sign."

This sublime association copy, inscribed by Alice to a family friend (Mrs. Cameron Head), includes an incredibly resonant annotation, where Alice completes the gift's circle—identifying the eponymous sisters as her two daughters: "Monica and Madeline (Sylvia) Meynell."
In terms of the reversibility of patronage—catalogue collectors might here take note. Printed as an integral part of this textblock is the 1895 List of books in belles lettres for John Lane, where the publisher performs (in what must have been one of his first opportunities) his repudiation of his one-time golden boy Oscar Wilde, whose monumental works in said genre are strikingly left absent.
[TUCHOLSKY, Kurt, 1890–1935]
Die zeitsparer: grotesken von Ignaz Wrobel

Berlin: Reuss & Pollack Verlag (Pollack & Glaser), 1914. 

A remarkable extra-illustrated copy
Self-wrappers, with hand-coloured etching to front; rebound in plain papered boards (23 cm. tall), with repairs to verso of front wrapper. Contents comprise 23, [1] pages of text, preceded by an inserted leaf with absurd colophon—declaring this to be copy number 1 of 22,863—and a photograph of a young Tucholsky (8 x 6 cm.) affixed above a partially-printed statement of his age, completed in red ink. The inserted leaf also has a code inscribed in pencil to the first page ("157. L. I., 2, R.").
"A little fat Berliner who wanted to prevent catastrophe with his typewriter." Before committing his Swedish suicide in 1935, the great Weimar satirist Kurt Tucholsky made one last entry into his notebook: a sketch of a ladder, with three ascending rungs: "speech—writing—silence." Before taking that final step, Tucholsky was indeed a man of many voices. Of his five pseudonyms, he reserved Ignaz Wrobel for his most political satires; "an acid, bespectacled man, slightly hunchbacked and redheaded. Tucholsky considered the name to be particularly grating to the ears" (Harold Poor, 1968). Die zeitsparer was Wrobel's first appearance in book form, consisting of a collection of five short stories: the eponymous "Die zeitsparer," "Das paradigma," "Von dem manne, der kleine zeitungen mehr las," and "Der papagei." The cover features a hand-coloured illustration from Tucholsky's friend Kurt Szafranski (himself using the pseudonym Tomas Theobold Tomate), with whom he was briefly co-proprietor of a Berlin bookshop/bar.
The original publication is scarce enough, with only seven OCLC records appearing in FirstSearch and only three of those copies held outside of Germany (at Yale, Northwestern, and the National Library of Israel). Of those seven recorded copies, however, only one describes an inserted leaf to match our copy—i.e. the record at Berlin's Staatsbibliothek. This outlier is not mentioned in the corresponding entry in the Bonitz/Wirtz bibliography (C2), nor in the few recorded auction instances. Absurdly, this Berlin copy shares the same colophon as ours—as number 1 of 22,863—although the age supplied in manuscript beneath the photograph of Tucholsky-as-Wrobel differs: with the Berlin copy giving his age as 19, and ours stating 21. The logic behind Tucholsky's dissimulation here remains unclear (if there is one); but it's interesting to note that it was in his 21st year that he made his fateful visit to Prague with Szafranski to meet Kafka—entering the latter's diary as "completely of a piece;" after which he abandoned his legal studies for a career as "the heckling voice in the gallery, and more than that: the conscience of Germany" (Harry Zohn, 1990).
Copyright © 2021 Jason Rovito, Bookseller, All rights reserved.

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