Saturday, July 13, 2013

Collector Profile- Michael Kunze

My own bookplate made in 2000, still looking like me.
Michael and Elizabeth Kunze

I did not chose to collect bookplates - it seems it lay in wait for me.
In September 1997 a friendly second-hand bookseller  gave me a book with a bookplate. I read that book and still have it:  The German translation of Mary Holderness'  "Journey from Riga to the Crimea" (1822), printed 1824 in Jena, Germany.
 Nice but nothing special so far; However, the owner’s bookplate  "Ex Bibliotheca Serenissimae Domus Saxo-Isenacensis"  - i.e. (Library of the venerable House Saxon-Eisenach) puzzled me.

 That puzzle which drew me me into the bookplate-jungle was hidden in detail. The "Domus Saxo-Isenacensis". The last descendant of the family ruling the Duchy Saxon-Eisenach died in 1741.  So - how did it get into a book printed in 1824? All I found out was that the The Duchy was combined  in 1809 with the Duchy of Saxon-Weimar to form Saxon-Weimar-Eisenach.  After quite a time I had  called the Chief Librarian of the Duchess-Anna-Amalia-Library in Weimar by phone and asked him if he had an explanation. He did not have any at hand and  promised to call me back. Some days later he fulfilled his promise and told me that in 1809 all the books of the Eisenach-Library were brought to Weimar to be added to the Library there - together with quite a number of unused Eisenach-bookplates. And as it was obvious that from now on all books marked by this bookplate belong to Weimar, they decided to use the remaining bookplates up to the last one to mark new bought books. A nice by the way: Library director from 1797 unto his death 1832 was Johann Wolfgang Goethe.

This initial bookplate experience had consequences. It is the main reason why my interest in this heartwarming hobby still is searching and investigating for details about the owner of a bookplate. The pictures get more focused when the outlines of a biography are unearthed. That still is what moves me most.
Sometimes, if an owner’s name gets my attention I  only, in the second place, notice how beautiful a bookplate looks.

Here are several of my favorites:

Carl Otto Czeschka, born 1878 in Vienna,  lived in Hamburg when he made the elegant bookplate for Martha Hane in 1910.

                                                             Michel Fingesten's Bookplate
Max Klinger did this bookplate for Eduard Arnhold, a Berlin merchant and banker, in 1906

For several years my main interest has been pictorial Judaica bookplates .
There are other bookplates categories and artists of interest such as 
Literary authors writing in German as owners or artists
Max Klinger,
Hermann Struck,
Emil Orlik,
Michel Fingesten,
Fre Cohen (The Netherlands),
Willi Geiger,
Bruno Heroux,
Georg Jilovsky,
E.M. Lilien,
Hans Thoma and others.
There also are a lot of unsigned bookplates which excite me. Often of interest is the way a bookplate is printed.  It certainly mustn't be a copper engraving to be of interest. But on the other hand engraving sometimes says something about the skill of the artist, of his creative ability,  the love of his handicraft  and, last not least,  something about the number of exemplars probably being in circulation.
I am not a member of any bookplate society. But there are some fellow collectors sharing my interests.  It is a pleasure to exchange stories, opinions, suppositions - and bookplates, of course.

Michael Kunze, Dortmund, Germany
Notes From Lew

  Thank  you Michael for submitting your profile.

Mrs. Geri Caruso sent me this Email last week

"I wanted to let you know that after reading your blog and looking at the bookplates for a while I decided to contacted one of the bookplate artists. She designed a bookplate for my son which I gave him as a birthday present. We did it so that he can reproduced it by printing it on sticky paper. It was a hit! Highly individual and useful forever
Michael is reader and a gardener. The little guy in the picture is his son Nick"

Here is the bookplate which was designed by Muriel Frega

I really enjoyed this month's edition of the Old Book News Monthly and want to share it with you.
Of particular interest was the article about searching on line book databases

See you again next Sunday.

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