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Dr. Jörn Günther hosts an Open House to showcase some of the finest examples of Medieval Art
Ferry de Clungy, Pontificale Romanum, Bruges, c. 1475-1476. Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Jörn Günther Antiquarian.

BASEL.- Dr. Jörn Günther Antiquariat announces the opening of an exhibition next week to coincide with Art Basel 2016. The contemporary art fair is an exciting occasion for the city of Basel and as an internationally acclaimed art dealer, Dr. Jörn Günther is keen to take this opportunity to present a selection of artworks that underline the enduring legacy of the illustrated word.

On view will be an impressive collection of museum-quality illuminated manuscripts, miniatures and early printed books. These pieces are as vibrant today as ever. Dr Günther comments: “We are delighted to be hosting an exhibition for the duration of Art Basel. The Fair is a highlight in the calendar of the city, and I wanted to take this opportunity to showcase some of the highlights we have here as well as to demonstrate that the world of Medieval Art is not a dusty one, But one packed full of timeless treasures and exciting narratives.’

The highlights include an exquisite Book of Hours by written by Francesco Borromeo. This is an incredibly delicate object and displays the masterful artistic hand of Ambrogio de Predis, a friend and collaborator of Leonardo da Vinci. The book dates to 1474 and measures 93 mm x 70 mm, with the majority of the illuminations at 50 x 40 mm.

Another important item in the exhibition is the first account of the New World after its discovery in 1493 written by Christopher Columbus. This is a rare edition of the text that was published in Basel in 1494. This may represent the singular opportunity in a lifetime to acquire such an edition.

Included are six remarkable printed woodcuts that show a stylized view of the Bahamas, the Carribbean Islands and their inhabitants. One illustration shows Columbus landing in Hispaniola while in the middle-ground natives trade amongst themselves and others flee. These images are the first European depictions of the New World and are spectacularly important. In this particular copy, Columbus’ letter is bound together with another text– a script of a historical drama written by Carolus Verardus. The Latin prose by Verardus celebrates the conquest by Ferdinand and Isabella of Granada, the last bastion of the Moors on the Iberian Peninsula.

Another unique and astonishingly rare item is the manuscript produced for Ferry de Clugny in Bruges from 1475 to 1476. Its provenance is illustrious - having been owned by both Pope Sixtus IV and Queen Cristina of Sweden. The manuscript has a splendid Flemish binding, fine quality vellum and imagery attributed to two of the best illuminators and their workshops: Loyset Liédet and Lievan van Lathem. It provides a vividly rendered insight into 15th-Century life through the ceremonies, pageantry, costumes and interiors it portrays. The borders are profusely decorated, creating an enchanting, tapestry-like effect for the viewer.

Dr Jörn Günther’s passion for medieval books and manuscripts predates the establishment of his dealership in 1990, which today consists of two gallery spaces in the historic Swiss municipalities of Stalden and Basel. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the firm. With a team of specialists at the helm, Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books provides scholarly services, expert advice, long-term support on the development of collections, and the acquisition and sale of manuscripts, miniatures and rare early printed books from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

With a lifetime of bibliophilia and 40 years of scholarly pursuit under his belt, Dr Jörn Günther has earned the reputation of one of the world’s foremost specialists and voices of authority in his field. He has been instrumental in the composition of some of the best collections worldwide, and has worked with leading international museums and institutions such as New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum, alongside private collectors on a quest to create and develop their own collections.

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