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Rare collection of renowned botanic works featured in Ketterer Kunst auction
Pierre-Joseph Redouté, Les liliacées. 8 vols. 1802-16. Estimate: € 80.000.

HAMBURG.- The masterpiece in eight volumes “Les liliacées“ by Pierre-Joseph Redouté is at the top of a collection of renowned botanic works that will be called up at Ketterer Kunst in context of the Rare Books Auction on 18/19 November. The estimate for the magnificent flower book by the Flemish artist, who is also known as “Flower Raphael“ for his great poise, is at € 80.000.

The well-preserved and remarkably broad-margined copy with 486 hand-retouched color engravings and the rare dedication for the then French Secretary of the Interior Jean-Antoine Chaptal is one of just 280 copies. Chaptal made 80 copies sure for himself, in order to give them as presents to important European dignitaries, scientists and libraries. Napoleon also had made reservations through his Secretary of State Talleyrand. He had the intention to give them to other European rulers.

No less important is John Hill's “Vegetable System“ in 13 volumes from 1761-1775 which will enter the race with an estimate of € 65.000. The work with 1544 colored copperplates is extremely rare in this completeness. It is one of the most comprehensive English 18th century publications on botany. It caused great sensation, also among experts. Even the renowned Swedish scientist Carl von Linné said that looking at the monumental masterpiece almost made him faint.

Next to John Miller's first complete and rare “Illustratio systematis sexualis Linnaei“ from 1770, another highlight in the botany section comes from William Roscoe. The first edition of his monumental work on “Monandrian Plants“, offered for € 15.000, is extremely rare today because the print run in 1828 was not more than 150 copies.

The section's range of offerings is completed by, among others, Georg Wolfgang Knorr's “Deliciae Naturae Selectae“ from 1771. It is the most elaborate plate work on zoology made in Nuremberg and is offered here in its first and only Dutch translation. The monumenal work about pieces contained in German natural study collections carries an estimate of € 14.000, while Elisabeth Blackwell's “Vermehrtes Kräuterbuch“, one of the most famous 18th century herbals, has been assessed at € 16.000.

Another top lot in the auction is Salvador Dalí's “Biblia Sacra“ (estimate: € 35.000) in three volumes. All its trial proofs are signed by the artist. Additionally, the auction is enriched by Matthaeus Merian's “Topographia Germaniae“, an impressive description of German regions in the late 17th century. The work, complete with more than 1000 copperplates and in a decorative binding, was in possession of Earl Emanuel of Törring-Gronsfeld and has been estimated at € 65.000.

The extremely rare “Navigatio“ by the Dutchman Jan Linschoten from 1599 is also placed in the top tier auction segment. The first Latin edition in a complete and colored copy is estimated with € 85.000.

Max Ernst's illustrations for “Au 125 du boulevard Saint-Germain“ originate from his best Dadaistic days. The extremely rare work with an original etching is one of his earliest illustrated books. It will be called up with an estimate of € 2.500.

Excitement in the auction room is guaranteed when Johann Wolfgang Goethe's first print of the original edition of “Die Leiden des jungen Werthers“ will be called up. It contains the original text before it was thoroughly revised by Goethe for the first rightful edition. Not only did he rework it, he also took out dodgy passages. Even 50 years later Goethe suggested his publisher to use this first edition as basis for a planned anniversary issue: “I am wondering whether you might want to reprint the book after the first edition (… )? There has been great demand recently, I even tried to get a copy in an auction for a lot of money.“ The estimate for this first print, which, according to Goethe causes “great impact for its intense absoluteness“, is at € 10.000.

The same price has been tagged to a fine and well-preserved collection of around 120 drawings, letters and postcards illustrated in intense colors by Willi Geiger. The addressee of all the pieces is his student and close friend Mary Louise Pike.

The slightly lower price of € 8.000 will be asked for a comprehensive letter by the hand of Rainer Maria Rilke. The poet wrote to his friend, the author Friedrich Huch during a stay on Schloß Haseldorf in Holstein in 1902. He mentions, among others, his dire straits, especially the conflict between free artistic creation and the necessity to provide for his family.

Last but not least is Lucius Annaeus Seneca's “Opera Philosophica“, the early complete edition of the philosophical works and letters with the important “Naturwissenschaftliche Schriften“ in first print. The estimate for the book published in Venice in 1490 is at € 4.000.

Next to rare books, manuscripts, autographs and decorative prints, the auction comprises the section of Maritime and Northern German Art. While the latter offers works by, among others, Dorothea Maetzel-Johannsen („Kassel -Schlosstreppe II“, estimate: € 5.000) and Johann Jacob Gensler (Zwei Frauen in Tracht der Probstei und aus Blankenese“, estimate: € 4.000), the section of Maritime Art contains exciting artworks by, for example, Claus Bergen (“Das Flottenflaggschiff 'Friedrich der Große' in der Skagerrakschlacht 1916“, estimate: € 5.000) and Johan Conrad Greive (“Besegelter Raddampfer vor der Küste“, estimate: € 4.000).

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