Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jill Krementz covers the 54th NY Antiquarian Book Fair

I was greeted by my childhood friend Jim Cummins. We went to grammar school together, though back in the day we didn't see much of one another. He's seven years younger and that's a big difference when you're on a jungle gym during recess.
The 54th New York Antiquarian Book Fair
Park Avenue Armory

April 3-6, 2014

One of the annual highlights of the year, the New York Aniquarian Book Fair is the single most important rare book event in the world. Each dealer (and there are over 200) brings his or her best material along with knowledge, research and enthusiasm. Bibliophile or not, you cannot leave this fair without learning something new.
Jim greeting Barnabus McHenry, a collector of Virginia Woolf. Colleague Alexander Obercian is in the center.
Alexander Obercian, Head of Historic Photographs and Fine Bindings, displays an 18th Century American Embroidered Bible Cover, 1753, by Sarah Saunders ($35,000).
On display in Jim's booth, the original cover art for A Separate Peace by John Knowles ... mandatory reading for most of today's high school students. On the left is an edition of the book but "it was not priced as we used it to inform the original painting on display for the cover art of the paper back edition of the book." The painting is $24,000.
Jack Knowles was our neighbor on the East End. He lived in Southampton.
James Jones, Truman Capote, Willie Morris, and Jack Knowles in front of their favorite watering hole, Bobby Van's. The restaurant was later moved directly across the street,and is now next to The Candy Kitchen. A print of this photograph is framed and on the wall behind the bar — generally unnoticed by those perched on their barstools.
Book dealer Anne Bromer specializes in miniature books.
Patricia Pistner from Naples, Florida is a serious collector of miniatures. She left the Armory with a set of 12 volumes, wrapped, in the palm of her hand.
Ms. Pistner purchased 12 volumes of Etcht Miniature Monthly. As a set it's extremely rare. "I collect the history of the book in small format ranging from 2500-year-old cuneiform tablets to contemporary fine press."

Shown here: Two volumes of the 12-volume set purchased by Ms. Pistner.
Ray Bradbury did pop-ups. While I was looking at this tiny treasure, David Bromer decided to buy it. for his own collection ($750).

"He gets a huge discount," his wife said. He also got a big kiss.

"But hey, do I get a commission?" I replied.
Ray Bradbury photographed by Jill Krementz in California on May 3, 1971. Ray never learned to drive, which may explain why he was so prolific.
Jeff Hirsch specializes in photography books. He often receives my photographs in the middle of the night when I am sending them to NYSD's Jeff Hirsch for layout purposes.
"It's one of my favorite books," Jeff told me ($1,250). He and his wife do six to eight shows a year.
Bruce Davidson photographed on May 12, 1967 by Jill Krementz. The exhibit was part of an exhibition in Central Park.
Cliff Neiderer, a California bookseller from La Jolla (Neiderer Fine Art Books) had this beautiful folio for sale — "Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor."
On display at Appledore Books owned by Bryan Bilby, a selection of early Shel Silverstein.

"We were very lucky to turn up this collection (it all came from Shel's apartment in the West Village) and we have most of the items individually priced. This photo, for example, shows the manuscript — and 2 pgs. of Shel's rough draft — of 'Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out' from Where the Sidewalk Ends (pgs. 70-71).

"We're asking $5,000 for the manuscript and the rough drafts (the book included). We also have Shel's manuscript of the song 'Quaaludes Again,' which appears on the album 'The Great Conch Train Robbery.' We're asking $2,500 for this (record included)."
A view down the center aisle of The Antiquarian Book Fair.
Artist Heide Hatry, a seller of rare books for 17 years, in her Fluevog shoes, with her friend Katie Peyton, owner of Undercurrent Projects.

Hatry's new installation will open April 29th at Undercurrent Projects (215 East 5th St.).
Ken Lopez has always specialized in many of my husband's books as well as those of Jack Kerouac, and Hunter Thompson. He recently sold a bundle of Kurt's letters (on behalf of Nanny Prior, Kurt's next-to-youngest daughter) to the Lilly Library for many thousands of dollars — letters written to her post Barnstable — a correspondence reflecting their deeply troubled relationship.
Lots of first editions by KV. I took the portrait for the cover of Kurt's last book, a man without a country.
Wooden ruler given out by the Vonnegut Hardware Co. which was founded by Kurt's great-grandfather and which employed my husband when he was a young boy. The ruler is signed in silver: I Worked Here!
Kurt Vonnegut photographed by Jill Krementz on September 5, 1994 in Sagaponack. On his lap, the daily New York Times crossword puzzle and an open Atlas.
Tom Congalton: Between the Covers Rare Books.

Mr. Congalton is the current President of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB). He specializes in archives, literary first editions, and African-American literature and history. His company has exhibited at the New York Fair for over 20 years.
Mr. Congalton has a wide selection of African-Americana.
Baldwin's first two books inscribed to his Spiritual and Artistic Mentor, Beauford Delaney.

First English edition of Go Tell It on the Mountain (1954) and first edition of Giovanni's Room (1956). Each book is in fine dustwrapper. Housed together in a custom cloth clamshell case with Morocco spine label gilt. $30,000.
Beauford Delaney is the celebrated African-American artist who Baldwin often referred to as his spiritual mentor. Both Delaney and Baldwin were the sons of preachers and struggled with coming to terms with their homosexuality. The 40-year-old Delaney painted the 16-year-old Baldwin in the nude, and though there is no evidence they were lovers, they remained devoted to each other, first when they moved to Paris in the 1950s, until Delaney's death in a mental institution in 1977.

The Inscription in Go Tell It on the Mountain (which also has a publisher's presentation slip laid in) reads: "For Beauford - With all my love, and with my gratitude - Jimmy '54, Paris." The Inscription in Giovanni's Room reads: "For Beauford - With my love, Jimmy. Nov. '56, Corsica. Praise God for trials past."

A spectacular and meaningful association, Baldwin's first book, a coming-of-age novel, and his second book, one of the most important, and perhaps the most influential gay novel, about an American man living in Paris and his relationships with the men he meets in a Paris gay bar.
James Baldwin photographed by Jill Krementz in New York City on September 6, 1973.
Ashley Wildes, in addition to being a bookseller — I see her at the Armory every year is a rock musician who plays guitar.
One of the real treasures for sale at Between The Covers is this signed edition of Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.
The book is inscribed to Ralph Olivas, an artist whose studio was next to that of Wallace's widow, Karen Green.
There are two paintings by David's widow, the artist Karen Green, completed after his suicide on September 12, 2008. This one is Mourning/Morning in which the writer's widow forgives him.
The art is part of her "Forgiveness Machines" series which Green created to help come to terms with her grief following the sudden death of her husband.

The 2014 Whitney Biennial has an installation on the 4th floor of DFW's notebooks, loaned by the Ransom Center.
And then who should I see as I am walking by the refreshment area ... none other than my old friend, the great writer Colm Tóibín.

Last year, his play, The Testament of Mary ran on Broadway at the St. James Theater and was nominated for a Tony award. The religious drama, based on his novel of the same name, starred Fiona Shaw, portraying the mother of Jesus telling her own story of her son's Crucifixion.

Colm is in New York teaching a semester at Columbia. "I always come here and spend money I don't own.
Colm immediately walked me around the corner to meet brothers Thomas and James Goldwasser, who were reserving a serious purchase for him ...

"What you really want to capture in the moment," they told me, "is when he takes his wallet out and pays us in Euros."

But before opening his wallet, Mr. Tóibín needed to look at a few more books.
And then Susan Shilliday came by to pick up the Vanessa Bell that was being held for her. We all had a look at her treasure.

Ms. Shilliday, a screenwriter who worked on "Legends of the Fall," owns "an old-fashioned bookstore called the Montague Bookmill up in the Pioneer Valley near Amherst."
Vanessa Bell's original art work for The Nation, Travel Number; Summer 1925. A steal for $6000.

My personal feeling is that bibliophiles have a great life and there are countless treasures out there. The dealers are honest, well-educated and it's a pleasure to hang out with them.
Colm Tóibín with the large Thomas Mann scrapbook being held on reserve for him.
Colm is showing his "prize find" to British bookdealer, Rick Gekoski, who owns a rare book and manuscript store back in the UK. Mr. Gekoski had a booth at the Armory.
The opening page of the scrapbook. "This is the best picture ever made of me."
A tearsheet from the front page of New York Times Book Review. A double portrait of Thomas Mann.
A signed letter from Mr. Mann to Mr. Landis.
Another scrapbook page with a large portrait of Thomas Mann.
Done deal: $700.
Colm Tóibín photographed by Jill Krementz on June 4th, 1997 in New York City.

What a pleasure it was for us to catch up. I hope Colm will add this photo to his own personal scrapbook of clippings and memorabilia — if he has one.
Text and photographs © by Jill Krementz: all rights reserved. Contact Jill Krementz here.