How to make Potato Coffee
Hamburg (kk) - What did Leo Tolstoy write to his friend Trebugov and what does a Russian pedlar woman do? The answers to these and other questions related to Russia can be found in a round dozen books written by authors ranging from Krascheninnikov to Putsche, which are to go under the hammer at the Ketterer Kunst auction of Rare Books - Manuscripts - Autographs - Decorative Prints to be held at Meßberg 1 in Hamburg on May 21 & 22, 2007.
A high point of the auction is bound to be a first edition of the "Ostrog Bible" (estimate € 18,000). It was recognised by the Russian Orthodox Church as the authorised Russian translation of Scripture. This famous work, which - like the Luther Bible in Germany and the King James Bible in England - shaped the language and also furthered the development of Old Church Slavonic, was printed by Ivan Fedorov, he first Russian printer, whose influence made itself felt throughout the East Slavic cultural landscape.
Another Russian work, however, is concerned with worldly, not to say purely mundane, matters. Karl Wilhelm Putsche’s "Opissaniye kartofelya" (estimate: € 3,000) is the first Russian edition of this early agricultural classic on the potato. Published in 1821 by the Imperial Free Commercial Society in St Petersburg, the work deals exhaustively with the history, species, planting, cultivation and storage of the potato and suggests numerous uses for the tuber as an ingredient in the making of vinegar, coffee, wine, syrup and beer. An entire chapter is, of course, devoted to making vodka from potatoes.
At the opposite end of the worldly scale, a very rare, complete sequence of plates entitled "Objets d’art décoratif recueillis dans les Palais Impériaux, Églises et Collections en Russie" covers art objects and elegant interior decoration. Comprising 65 chromolithographic plates, the work shows clocks, vases, candelabra, commodes and jewellery from Russian collections, museums and Church treasuries.
"Souvenir de Moscou" is the title of a portfolio containing 14 coloured original photographs of views of Moscow in large formats. The colour is extraordinarily subtle in this rare collection, published by J. Daziaro in 1870. It might be yours for just € 2,500.
Carrying the same estimate, Giovanni Aldini’s "Essai théoretique et expérimental sur le galvanisme, avec une série d’expériences" is illustrated with ten fold-out copperplate engravings. Published in Paris in 1804, this work by Luigi Galvani’s nephew boasts the author’s dedication to the Tsar of Russia, Alexander I Pavlovich, in gold tooling on the front cover.
A letter written in Leo Tolstoy’s own hand to his friend and colleague Ivan M. Trebugov carries an estimate of € 2,000. In it the writer agrees with the views expressed in an unpublished article of Trebugov’s on the subject of "Lies and the Truth", and briefly touches on the work he is doing on the epilogue "To the Politicians" before dealing in more depth with the charges made publicly against him that he had caused the Pavloviki Pogrom in 1901.
Other works sure to fascinate anyone with an interest in Russia include Stephan Petrovich Kraseninnikov’s account of his travels, "Opisanie Zemli Kamtschatki" (estimate: € 1500), and Henri Cartier-Bresson’s "Moscou" (estimate: € 150) as well as "Divers ajustements et usages de Russie" (estimate: € 1,400) by Jean Baptiste Le Prince, who reports on Russian folk customs. In several sequences he presents the costume and clothing of the different professions, such as soldiers, merchants, hunters, tradesmen and pedlar women.
Friedrich Christian Weber, who stayed in St Petersburg from 1714 to 1719 as the representative of the House of Hanover, wrote a book, "Das veränderte Rußland", (publ. 1744), on the spiritual and temporal regime there. Drawing a multifaceted picture of Russia and its people in the era of Peter the Great. Illustrated with 15 copperplate engravings, it carries an estimate of € 600.
Pre-sale viewings of selected books are scheduled in Fasanenstrasse 70, Berlin, from May 2-5, 2007.
All books can be viewed on the following days at the times listed below at Meßberg 1, Hamburg:
9-11 May from 11 am-5 pm
14-16 May from 11 am-5 pm
18 May from 11 am-5 pm
and on 20 May by appointment.
Since it was founded in 1954, Ketterer Kunst has been firmly established in the front ranks of auction houses dealing in art and rare books. While the Munich headquarters in the Prinz-Alphons Palais is responsible for the two traditional annual auctions of Modern Art & Post War, the Meßberghof in Hamburg is the venue for two traditional auctions a year, each based on the following fields: Old Masters and 19th-Century Art /Marine Art and Rare Books - Autographs - Manuscripts - Decorative Prints as well as Modern Art & Post War, with a focus on works on paper. In addition, exhibitions, special and benefit auctions for charity as well as live auctions online are regular events at Ketterer Kunst.
Hamburg, April 17, 2007