National Book Auctions sells early works by 'obscene' director Larry Clark


One of the great French illustrators of the early 20th century will vie for attention alongside one of most controversial directors in recent times at National Book Auction's upcoming June 26 auction. The sale will be held in Ithaca, New York.

The live auction gallery is offering an assortment of scarce books containing important illustrations among a variety of landmark literary titles. Included is a fine collection of antique children's books, genealogical and historical printings, and also ephemera from the noted illustrator James Bingham. 

Meanwhile, a 1913 limited edition printing of Designs on the Dances of Vaslav Nijinsky by the legendary French illustrator George Barbier will be among the French items in the sale The gorgeously illustrated item features twelve original full-page hand-colored pochoir plates.

This scarce volume is one of 400 limited edition printings. This piece's scarcity, eye appeal, and Barbier's renown will undoubtedly see it appeal to bidders and alternative investors at the weekend sale.

From Dances of Vaslav Nijinsky, by the legendary French illustrator George Barbier

Another important art-related volume in this auction is photographer Larry Clark's 1971 printing of "Tulsa," signed by the artist (pictured top right).

The vivid photographic book exposed drug use among suburban teenagers in the '60s and '70s and, according to Peter Biskind's book Down and Dirty Pictures, directors such as Gus Van Sant and Martin Scorsese have stated that they were influenced by Clark's early works.

However, other commentators dismissive of the artistic value of Clark's works have labelled his pieces 'obscene' and 'exploitative'. Clark would later court considerable controversy and become a darling of the art press with his later movies Kids and Bully, which explore similar promiscuous themes.

Also offered throughout this auction is an assortment of antique children's books. 

Featured are first editions of Charlotte Steiner's "Lulu," and "Bumble Bugs and Elephants," the first work by the author/illustrator duo M. W. Brown and Clement Hurd. The duo later produced such The Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon.  

Watch this space for upcoming news on the sale.


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