June 5, 04:47 PM GMT
14,000 - 16,000 USD
AN IMPORTANT COLLECTION OF JUDAICA BOOKPLATES, [EUROPE, LAND OF ISRAEL, AND NORTH AMERICA: LATE 19TH-20TH CENTURIES]
429 bookplates (ranging in size from 1 1/4 x 2 1/4 in.; 33 x 55 mm to 9 1/2 x 5 3/4 in.; 242 x 145 mm) on paper; text in English, Hebrew, German, French, Yiddish, Dutch, Danish, Hungarian, and Russian in various scripts (Latin, Modern Hebrew, Paleo-Hebrew, Cyrillic); most in black and white, some printed in color (a few with handwritten inscriptions); featuring a variety of motifs, including coats of arms, Stars of David, portraits of famous Jewish figures (Maimonides and the Gaon of Vilna), synagogue scenes or buildings, ritual objects, landscapes, and, of course, libraries. Most in good condition, some with signs of wear, aging, and water damage; a number bear remnants of the paper pastedowns to which they had previously been glued. Housed in two entirely handmade cobalt blue SAFE brand (“Favorit Skai”) 14-ring albums with a gold trim strip on the front of each, plus one loose set of plastic sheets; each ex libris in its own plastic sleeve and each album in its own matching blue slip case, slightly scuffed.
A substantial selection representing a unique genre within the Jewish book arts.
A bookplate (known in Latin as “ex libris”) is generally a slip of paper on which appears the name of a book collector and which is most often glued to the inside cover of a volume to indicate ownership. Ex libris first came into use prior to the invention of movable type but became much more popular in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The first bookplate to feature Hebrew characters was created before 1504 on behalf of the German Renaissance humanist Willibald Pirckheimer (1470-1530), and probably the first Jewish book collector to commission an ex libris was Isaac Mendes of London in 1746. With the passage of time, and especially starting in the late nineteenth century, more and more Jews and Jewish institutions had bookplates created for their libraries in a variety of sizes, languages, and artistic styles.
The present lot comprises a choice collection of international ex libris, including examples designed by such famous artists as Ephraim Moses Lilien (“the father of the Jewish bookplate”), Ilya Schor, Salomon Seelenfreund, Hermann Struck, and Arthur Szyk; and owned by such Jewish luminaries as Marcus Nathan Adler, Simcha Assaf, Yitzhak and Rachel Ben-Zvi, Marco Birnholz, Shneor Zalman Cheshin, Moses A. Dropsie, J.D. Eisenstein, Zidkiyahu Harkabi, Yehuda Leib Maimon, Zvi Scharfstein, Boris Schatz, Shlomo Simonsohn, David de Sola Pool, and Israel M. Ta-Shma. Eleven female collectors (including Leah Goldberg), as well as a large number of significant Jewish libraries and major repositories of Judaica/Hebraica, are represented among a group extending geographically from Eastern Europe to the Land of Israel to Los Angeles.
A list of the bookplates in this collection is available upon request.
Nick Block, “Ex Libris and Exchange: Immigrant Interventions in the German-Jewish Renaissance,” The German Quarterly 86,3 (Summer 2013): 334-353.
Philip Goodman, Illustrated Essays on Jewish Bookplates (New York: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1971).
A.M. Habermann, Tavei sefer yehudiyyim (ex-libris) (Safed: The Museum of Printing Art, 1972).
Ruthie Kalman (ed.), Bookplates Exhibition “Ex-Libris”: From the Library Collection (Beersheba: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Zalman Aranne Library, 1994).
James P. Keenan, Bookplates: The Art of This Century: An Introduction to Contemporary Marks of Ownership (Laredo, TX: Cambridge Bookplate, 2013), 45-72.
Remo Palmirani (ed.), Gli ex libris del popolo del libro (Soncino: Pro loco Soncino, 1994).
Avrom Weiss (ed.), Katalog le-ta‘arukhat tavei-sefer yehudiyyim (Jerusalem: The Graphic Archive and Museum, 1956).