Overall proceeds of 1.5 million made for excellent results in the two-day auction of Rare Books at Ketterer Kunst
in Hamburg on 19/20 May. 15 works by the painter genius Pablo Picasso, entirely sold with sharp increases, were particularly sought-after.
The line-up was led by Pablo Picasso's dedication copy The Arts Council of Great Britain (lot 115), the signed original chalk drawing adorned the cover of the evening auction's catalog. The number of written bids was definitely beaten by the rush in the salesroom and the amount of phones. Bidders from Germany, Austria, Spain, England and the U.S.A. competed for the work from 1960. A persistent German collector eventually carried the trophy away for a price of 46.000.
André Verdet's booklet Picasso à son image (lot 1053) with a signed original chalk drawing in colors by the artist, was in the focus of a tremendous interest as well, soaring from 350 to a result of 24.000, it realized nearly a seventy-fold of its starting price. With 14 written bids, nine phones and a well-attended salesroom, the hot bidding skirmish was eventually stopped by a private collector from Austria, who relegated the international competitors to places second and beyond.
In the section of botanic works it was Christoph Jacob Trew with his unusual book on plants Plantae selectae (lot 22) who took the leading potion. The work, made between 1750 and 1773, was called up at 20.000. Despite strong efforts from German bidders, the work could not be kept in the home country of the Nuremberg artist. An English dealer won the lot for a price of 33,000.
The colorful work on butterflies Lepidoptera Indica by Frederic Moore & Charles Swinhoe (lot 27) has found a new home in a French collection. The complete and well-preserved copy a rarity of entomological literature climbed from 20,000 to a result of 29.000*.
The tremendously lavish joint project Apocalypse de Saint Jean (lot 116), with 26 original graphic works by, among others, Dalí, Buffet, Fini and Zadkine, is just as rare. Because of a number of deviations, the de-luxe edition has a unique character, accordingly, an American dealer honored the work with a result of 79,000*.
Another remarkable increase was realized by the artist anthology of modern and contemporary graphic works La Lune en Rodage I (lot 121), which entered the race with a starting price of 7,000. Next to the salesroom, a number of written bids and more than half a dozen phone bidders from all over Europe, let the price soar. It was only halted by a collector from Southern Germany at a result of 23.000*.
The same region will be the new home of Giovanni Boccaccio's Genealogie deorum (lot 605). An art trader granted a result of 18,000* after it had been called up at 11,000. This way he surely beat a couple of colleagues from the U.S.A.