Morbid Anatomy reader Gotthold is a long time collector of Fritz Kahn books and posters. He is currently selling two of his original posters (as pictured above) along with a “key booklet” as part of Sotheby’s May 13 Vintage Posters Auction.
I asked Gotthold to tell me and the Morbid Anatomy readership a bit about this special collection he is actioning off in the hopes of helping it find a proper and loving home; here is his response:
Dear Morbid Anatomy readers:
I have been a keen reader of this blog since I discovered it about a year ago when searching for information on anatomical posters I bought for use in an art project.
My personal artistic fascination with death, pornography, science and religion has taken me on a strange and fascinating journey over the past year through the cavernous bookshop cellars of Vienna, the seedy sex shops of London’s Soho, and the wonderful Morbid Anatomy blog in search of new materials and ideas. In my search for materials to use for my work, I spend a seemingly senseless amount of time and money looking for rare, obscure, and interesting materials to use and take inspiration from. It was on one of these escapades when visiting Vienna that I first stumbled upon the wonderful works of Fritz Kahn whose unique mechanical anatomy illustrations have earned much attention on this very blog (recent posts here, here, and here).
Since this initial discovery, I have managed to amass an extensive collection of Fritz Kahn’s books, all featuring his wonderful illustrations, and have also had the luck to acquire a few original posters, including the famed ‘Der Mensch als Industriepalast’ or ‘Man as Industrial Palace’ of 1926 as seen above, top; you can found out more about that piece here.
Conducting more commercially oriented research around these works, I stumbled upon Morbid Anatomy for the first time to read a post on a Christies ‘Anatomy as Art’ auction in New York where this poster sold for some $3,500. The financially conscious side of myself forced me to reluctantly get in touch with Christies in London regarding a sale. I was informed by their experts there was no specialist auction coming up anytime soon but that I could still consign the poster to a ‘Vintage Posters’ auction in May. I chose to sell the two posters and a ‘key’ booklet together as a lot; I still believe this is extremely unique, given that the key booklet acts as an index to the numerical and alphabetical indicators on the poster without which it is difficult to fully comprehend the intended meaning of the illustrations.
The marketing around this auction has been weak, and there isn’t much explanation of the uniqueness of the key booklet or even an image of the second poster in the lot (as seen above, bottom). When I looked at the other posters for sale at this the auction I realized that my item is out of place and I doubt that it will strike the right chord with the bidders.
I have still however decided to proceed with the auction, not in the least because I need the proceeds of this sale to help further my artistic pursuits. I therefore implore anyone who knows relevant collectors to spread the word about the auction, and encourage anyone who’s interested to bid on these items as they are impeccable (the nice thing about Christies auctions is that anyone can place bids from anywhere in the world online). You can see the lot on the auction website by clicking here.
So please, any and all of you medical art aficionados out there, check out (and bid on!) Gotthold’s Sotheby’s lot on May 13th; you can find out more about the lot by clicking here and more about the auction by clicking here. And yes, online/remote bidding is very much a possibility! Also, please feel free to forward this post to any interested parties!
If you are interested in learning more about Fritz Kahn and seeing more of his incredible work, I highly recommend the beautiful, lavishly illustrated book Fritz Kahn: Man Machine / Maschine Mensch, which comes complete with a frame-worthy poster-sized reproduction of ‘Der Mensch als Industriepalast’ (‘Man as Industrial Palace’). Good stuff!
Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith