Part of the collection will be exhibited at our stand at Frieze Masters, the other part will be on show at our shop in Mason's Yard.
Benjamin Spademan is presenting a group of books which he started putting together some ten years ago, when he acquired in Paris a monograph on Henry Moore, with an original drawing and presentation by the artist on the title page. Next came a Francis Bacon, and a collection began to form. To qualify, books had to have been personally transformed by the artist, usually as a gift to another person.
The criteria for selection were drawn broadly, to include visual artists of all kinds - painters, sculptors, illustrators, cartoonists, stage & fashion designers - and allowing all kinds of art, from highly finished drawings, collages and watercolours to fairly minimal interventions. The books too covered a wide range of types, from livres d’artistes, to standard monographs, to periodicals, exhibition catalogues and ephemera such as invitations.
In the process of selection, the focus was always on the quality of the image and the interest of the inscription.The earliest examples, John Constable and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, are both intensely personal family affairs. In the case of Constable a present for his god-daughter, the child of his close friend and future biographer; and of Rossetti a celebration - together with his sister, the poet Christina Rossetti - of their mother’s 80th birthday.
In the course of the 20th Century, the practice of artists inscribing books with original drawings became more established, and the circle of recipients widened enormously. A high proportion though remained to people connected to the artists milieu - patrons, collaborators, fellow artists, art critics and museum directors- including such names as Colette, Picasso, Marie Cuttoli, Peggy Guggenheim, Florence Gould and Kenneth Clark.
FINANCIAL TIMES / HOW TO SPEND IT / 30.09.2017 Curiosities and cabinets at Frieze Masters by Emma Crichton-Miller
[...] The rare book dealer Benjamin Spademan offers a collection of works that hover between books and art: books embellished with the signatures and drawings of artists, from Henry Moore to Henri Matisse. (...) there is a book of poetry by Isaac Watts inscribed, touchingly, by John Constable to his goddaughter, with watercolour drawings, as well as 20th-century volumes of works by Francis Bacon, Graham Sutherland and Picasso inscribed by the artists.
For the first time, Robert Perkins presents 45 years of collaboration with poets, including Nobel Prize Laureates Octavio Paz and Seamus Heaney, and also Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Allen Ginsberg, John Ashbury, Basil Bunting, W.S. Merwin, James Merrill, Louise Glück, Jean Valentine, Jon Galassi, David Whyte...
A catalogue presents the whole collection, with introductions by art critic Ilka Scobie and Ewan Clayton, author of The Golden Thread, A History of Writing.