Suzanne Lovell Inc


A remarkable livres d’artistes collection documents the history of Modernism

Artist’s Book Collection, Estimate: £1,700,000-2,500,000.

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on 2 February at Christie’s London

Images courtesy of Christie’s except where noted

On February 2nd in London, Christie’s is offering a collection of artistic collaborations between the most important artists, authors and publishers of the 20th century, including original artworks by Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky, Miró, Giacometti, Delaunay and Dalí, all published 1883-1939. The epitome of each Modern movement, from the Fauves unleashing of color, the Cubists dismantling of form, the Futurists celebration of dynamism, and the Surrealists turning inward – the artist books of this period were born out of explosive creativity and innovation across Europe. From Durer’s Apocalypse (1498) to William Blake’s illuminated poetry (late 18th century), these Modern livres d’artistes exemplify key moments in the development of the avant garde, the coming together of artist, writer and publisher into creative protagonist and document of the time in which they were produced.

Parisian dealer Ambroise Vollard is often regarded as the father of the livre d’artiste as he was the first to commission his artists to illustrate both contemporary and classical literature. Published in small editions, these books were carefully crafted and expensive, designed to enhance the reputation of the artist and become a collector’s item. Dealers across Europe followed his model, in contrast to the Futurists in Russia, who published bold and radical books with the intention of disseminating revolutionary ideas inexpensively. Literature was also central to Surrealism, as artists and poets partnered to create unique collaborations inspired by one another.

This fantastic collection is available at Christie’s in London on 2 February 2016.

Wassily Kandinsky, Klänge, R. Piper & Co, Munich, 1913

Image courtesy of MutualArt

Blaise Cendrars, La Rose du Transsiberien et de la Petite Jehanne de France. Original stencil colouring by Sonia Delaunay, 1913.