Marc Chagall's Arabian Nights could see $500,000 in Gemini auction

Marc Chagall's famed illustrated book Four Tales from the Arabian Nights will highlight Bonhams' forthcoming sale of the Gemini Collection of Modern Prints and Illustrated Books.

Marc Chagall Arabian Nights
Chagall's 'Four Tales' has been called the finest example of colour lithography produced prior to 1950

The auction, to be held on October 28 in New York, comprises lots from Gemini Fine Books and Arts, a book seller based in Illinois founded by Alexander "Arik" Verezhensky - a widely respected collector and dealer who specialises in art books.

The Chagall book is considered one of his most important, featuring 12 colour lithographs that have been called the finest example of the medium produced in the US before 1950. This example, valued at $300,000-500,000, is unique, containing a set of 23 progressive proofs.

Four Tales from the Arabian Nights was published by Pantheon Books in New York in 1948. Chagall had been asked to collaborate with Jacques Schiffrin on the book, and became increasingly drawn to imagery from the Arabian Nights, perhaps as a result of the loss of his wife in 1944, after which his work took a greater interest in themes of lost love, death and reunion.

The sale features several books illustrated by top artists, such as A toute epreuve by Joan Miro - a collection of poems by Paul Eluard published in 1958 - which took Miro more than 10 years to make. Signed and printed in a limited edition, it is valued at $35,000-55,000.

"I have made some trials which have allowed me to see what it was to make a book and not merely to illustrate it. Illustration is always a secondary matter. The important thing is that a book must have all the dignity of a sculpture carved in marble," wrote Miro of his project.

Also featured is Picasso's first major attempt at illustration, Ovid's Metamorphoses, which contains 30 original Picasso etchings, plus one of only 10 suites on chine paper. It is also expected to sell for $35,000-55,000.

See our great range of art collectibles for sale at Paul Fraser Collectibles.

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