Koller Zurich: The Sweep of History on the 21st

- by Bruce E. McKinney

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Images and lot numbers for the Koller Sale

On September 21st in Zurich, Switzerland Koller Auctions is holding their twice annual sale of interesting and important works on paper including autographs, manuscripts and illuminated manuscripts.  The categories include:

 

Morning Session beginning at 10:00 am

 

Autographs and Manuscripts

History and Cultural History

Swiss Books

Literature of the 17th to 19th centuries

Children’s Books

Topography and Travel

 

Afternoon Session beginning at 2:00 pm

 

Mechanics and Sciences

Arts and Crafts

Varia

Modern Literature

Photography and Photobooks

 

In other words, the material is diverse, reflecting the complex history of printing and changing tastes over almost 600 years.  The material is primarily but not exclusively European.

 

There are few subjects that do not find at least trace connections.  George Washington merits a mention as does Albrecht Durer, Homer’s Odysee, examples of Books of Hours and Bibles.  Art and modern images are as at home here.  Here is a longer list:

 

Marcel Proust

Salvador Dali

Francis Bacon

Winston Churchill

Charles Dickens

Lewis Carroll

Albert Einstein

Andrew Jackson

Pablo Picasso

 

Of special interest, lot 260, is an important collection of Basel incunabula, "15 Basel important early prints of a Swiss collector."  This is exceptional material, estimated at CHF 150,000 - 200,000.

 

The common thread is collectability and the stature and uniqueness of the lots offered.

 

The sale and its circumstances reflect the sweep of current history and the recent economic unrest.  Collectable material is both a passion, and for many an emotional investment, enduring certainties whose value fluctuates but over time increases.  Switzerland has a unique perspective on the world that the scientific certainties of some lots juxtaposed against the art of Georges Braque and the work of Else Lasker-Schuler seem to perfectly express.  It is this complexity that makes the sale compelling.

 

This sale, as is the world, seems to ever be on the threshold of something new.  Here between the covers of Bucher und Autographen are examples of what has been new and important for sixty decades.  What is most heartening is that we continue to appreciate the development and evolution of ideas and taste that long ago became embedded in the texture of the history of ideas.  These elements still matter and those who bid, and are lucky enough to buy, will be affirming their belief that all these threads together are stronger than the day to day uncertainties of modern life

 

On the company’s web site, www.kollerauktionen.ch, it is possible to view both this sale and many other upcoming company events.  In the upper right corner a preferred presentation language can be selected; German, English, French or Chinese.

 

The software provided on the site is state of the art.  Printed catalogues continue to be substantial representatives of collections but the electronic presentation exceptionally good.  The future is electronic and this presentation a significant step in that direction.