May 23: Artist's Books take center stage at Il Ponte Casa d'Aste

- by Thomas C. McKinney

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Highlights from Il Ponte Casa d'Aste's May 23 sale

This month, on May 23rd, Il Ponte Casa d’Aste is hosting a sale of Books, Manuscripts and Engravings that includes a unique collection of artist’s books. About 150 artist’s books from the avant-garde periods of the 20thand 21stcenturies are on offer. Among the examples of the Futurist period, there are several books with the dedication of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and a curious edition of the '70s of the Manifesto della cucina futurista (€ 100.00-200.00), printed on silver paper and metallic red characters.

Within the Surrealist context, Il Ponte notes several items, beginning with a prestigious volume by André Bréton, Paul Eluard and René Char (€ 12,000.00-18,000.00), belonging to the latter, printed on pink paper with the binding of the period by Devauchelle. Also part of the collection is a second copy of the same subject that bears the signature of all three intellectuals. Two copies of the Second Manifeste du Surréalisme are also being auctioned (€ 2,000 - 3,000), one of them with a dedication to Man Ray, and a rare example of the speech that Bréton held for the French students at Yale University in 1942, published without his permission in that year (the official copy arrived two years later in 1945). Additionally, Il Reale Assoluto by Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp (€ 4,000-6,000) is being offered, with two original lithographs signed by Man Ray and later used in reproduction for the publishing of the book.

The sale continues with a series of books from the Cubist period, including a volume by Blaise Cendrars (€ 300-500), which conceals a particular curiosity: on the title page there are two photos taken with one of the first Photomaton on the Boulevard des Italiennes in Paris.

Among the most recent volumes worthy of note are the ones inspired by the exhibition of Adami, Del Pezzo, Tadini, Schifano of 1965 (€ 100.00-200,00), with the puzzles of their works, and Il primo giorno di primavera by Del Pezzo who personally took care of the original cover and the four inserted boards.

The catalog for Il Ponte's sale of Books, Manuscripts and Engravings is viewable online here.