Ketterer Kunst to auction Maria Sibylla Merian’s magnificent book on insects

M.S. Merian. Over de ... Surinaamschen insecten... 1730. Estimate: € 25 000.

Hamburg, 26 March 2009 (kk) – It might be yours for just € 25 000: the Bernard edition of Maria Sibylla Merian’s two great books on the insects of Suriname and Europe. Published in Amsterdam in 1730, the work, featuring 256 stunning copperplate engravings, is to be sold at the Ketterer Kunst auctions in Hamburg on 18 und 19 May 2009.

Maria Sibylla Merian’s “Over de voorteeling en wonderbaerlyke veranderingen der Surinaamschen insecten …” is indeed a highlight of the Hamburg auction of Rare Books – Manuscripts – Autographs – Decorative Prints with Marine and North German Art and is bound to trigger off vehement bidding skirmishes. After all, apart from the quality of this work, the price of € 20 000 at which it will be called is certainly reasonable. Back in 1999 Ketterer Kunst sold an edition of this book, which is a pioneering early work of modern entomology by the enterprising and emancipated native of Frankfurt, to a bidder from the US for DM 100 000.

Maria Sibylla Merian’s father, MatthДus Merian the Elder, and his successors published “Theatrum Europaeum”, the celebrated and lavishly illustrated chronicle of European history illustrated with more than 140 copperplates engraved by Merian himself. The Merian expert Lucas Heinrich WШthrich calls this matchless work a “rich treasure-trove of contemporaneous historical documentation of the era of the Thirty Years’ War and Louis XIV”. It carries an estimate of € 18 000.

Estimated to fetch as much is the very rare first edition of the Sophologium of Jacobus Magni, a comprehensive compendium dealing with philosophy and the sciences. Printed in the officina of the Strasbourg lettercutter, printer and publisher Adolf Rusch, who was the first in Germany to work with antiqua typefaces, this exemplar offered by Ketterer is one of very few known to be marked with the contemporary handwritten date.

The “Tableaux Topographiques” of BКat FidЙle Antoine Zurlauben and Jean Benjamin Laborde in five volumes whisks us away to beautiful Switzerland. Carrying an estimate of € 30 000, it is one of the most important works on the Swiss Federation. This complete and magnificently illustrated exemplar comes from the library of the Earl of Essex.

The celebrated herbal of Leonhart Fuchs is represented by two versions at once. Whereas the German edition of the “New KreШterbuch …” (1543) is estimated to fetch € 15 000, the estimate for the Latin original edition of “De historia stirpium …”, published the year before, carries an estimate of € 28 000 because it is so beautifully coloured. Leonhart Fuchs’s illustrations are still used today in scientific publications since there has “never been anything more beautiful and aesthetically valuable” (Karl Eugen Heilmann).

A very rare work is a first edition of Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr’s “Neue und grШndliche Anweisung, …”. For € 7000, the new owner of this book published in 1719 can learn all that is worth knowing about the design of large sundials aligned on both the horizontal and the vertical planes.

Apart from Rare Books, Manuscripts, Autographs and Decorative Prints, this auction will feature for the first time works from the fields of Marine and North German Art .

In this division, Jakob Petersen’s “Die Galeasse ‘Marie von Greifswalde’ birgt die Besatzung von der Brigg ‘Atlante’ aus Stettin” [“The Galleasse ‘Marie of Greifswald’ Rescuing the Crew of the Brig ‘Atlante’ of Stettin” is sure to create a stir in the auction room. Painted in watercolours in 1828 by a versatile and virtuosic portrayer of ships, the work is to be called carrying an estimate of € 7500-9000.

For the same price, the successful bidder can acquire a brace of paintings depicting a ship off China. “Hamburger Brigg ‘Schwan’ vor Hongkong” [“The Hamburg Brig ‘Swan’ off Hong Kong”] is shown fully rigged on the high seas and again with sails reefed, lying at anchor off Hong Kong, in both cases under the Hamburg and the German flag and flying the identifying pennant from her masthead.

Other works from this division include Abraham Hulk’s “Segelschiff auf stШrmischer See” [“Sailing Vessel in Stormy Seas”] (estimate: 7000-8000) as well as paintings by Carl Ludvig Bille, Miles Edmund Cotman, Johannes Holst and Matthieu von Plattenberg.

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Published in: on April 28, 2009 at 1:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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