EX LIBRIS: Antique Book Plates

Known more generally as book plates, ex libris are prints, drawings or watercolors designed by artists to be inserted into the front of books to display ownership. Originally a mark of prestige and status in society, book plates emerged in the fifteenth century and usually bore the owner’s family coat of arms. An interest in ex libris collecting and societies began in the 19th century, by which time it was increasingly common for merchants, scholars and other professionals to commission these works from prominent artists. The compositions were created based on the person’s interests, career and accomplishments and often would include a play on his/her name. Fine book plates continue to be made today by contemporary artists both by commission and as a direct response to the book plate as an art form. Many take their inspiration from various historical ex libris motifs such as Greek myth, momento mori and Don Quixote and incorporate them into their own unique style others imagine their own themes more in line with the Modernist movements such as Symbolism and Abstract Expressionism. Each one lends its own distinct voice to the continuing dialogue and tradition of the ex libris.

 

EX LIBRIS: Antique Book Plates : Three Nudes Around a Fountain. Ex Libris for Dr. Ernst Schwarz at Davidson Galleries

Alois Kolb Austrian (1875-1942)

Three Nudes Around a Fountain. Ex Libris for Dr. Ernst Schwarz

Series: Ex Libris
Year: Etching. Signed in pencil
Size: 7-3/4 x 3-1/2 inches
Stock Number: 12589
Price: $125.00

EX LIBRIS: Antique Book Plates : Construction Site.  Ex Libris for the artist at Davidson Galleries

Max Schnabel German (1903-1986)

Construction Site. Ex Libris for the artist

Series: Ex Libris
Medium: Etching
Year: 20th century
Size: 2-1/4 x 2-3/4 inches
Stock Number: 12598
Price: $50.00

EX LIBRIS: Antique Book Plates : Girl with Books, Cat and Unicorn.  Ex Libris for Hannelore Schulze at Davidson Galleries

Elizabeth Voges German

Girl with Books, Cat and Unicorn. Ex Libris for Hannelore Schulze

Series: Ex Libris
Medium: Lithograph
Year: ca. 1920
Signature: Monogram in stone
Size: 3-7/8 x 2-7/8 inches
Stock Number: 31463
SOLD

EX LIBRIS: Antique Book Plates : Satyr Under Pomegranate Tree.  Ex Libris for Irene Dwen Pace at Davidson Galleries

Elizabeth Voges German

Satyr Under Pomegranate Tree. Ex Libris for Irene Dwen Pace

Series: Ex Libris
Medium: Woodcut
Year: ca. 1920
Signature: Monogram in the block
Size: 3-7/8 x 2-1/2 inches
Stock Number: 31464
Price: $45.00

EX LIBRIS: Antique Book Plates : Venus and Cupid.  Ex Libris for Ilse Blumenbach at Davidson Galleries

Hans Volkert (1878-?)

Venus and Cupid. Ex Libris for Ilse Blumenbach

Series: Ex Libris
Medium: Etching
Year: Initialed in plate
Size: 3-1/8 x 2-3/4 inches
Stock Number: 12604
Price: $50.00

EX LIBRIS: Antique Book Plates : Woman with Basket of Fruit.  Ex Libris for Edith Aulhorn at Davidson Galleries

Hans Volkert (1878-?)

Woman with Basket of Fruit. Ex Libris for Edith Aulhorn

Series: Ex Libris
Medium: Etching
Signature: Signed in plate
Size: 2-5/8 x 2-1/4 inches
Stock Number: 12607
Price: $50.00

EX LIBRIS: Antique Book Plates : Bacchanal.  Ex Libris for Karl Seidel at Davidson Galleries

Hans Volkert (1878-?)

Bacchanal. Ex Libris for Karl Seidel

Series: Ex Libris
Medium: Etching
Signature: Signed in plate
Size: 2-1/2 x 2-3/8 inches
Stock Number: 12609
Price: $50.00

EX LIBRIS: Antique Book Plates : Figure with Eclipse.  Ex Libris for Friedrich Leinfellner at Davidson Galleries

Georg Wimmer Austrian (1892-1975)

Figure with Eclipse. Ex Libris for Friedrich Leinfellner

Series: Ex Libris
Medium: Etching
Year: 1940
Size: 2-5/8 x 2-1/2 inches
Condition: Signed in pencil lower right; glued to backing paper at four corners
Stock Number: 31381
Price: $50.00

EX LIBRIS: Antique Book Plates : Nude Woman Behind a Shirt at Davidson Galleries

Unidentified Artist

Nude Woman Behind a Shirt

Series: Ex Libris
Medium: Lithograph
Size: 3-7/8 x 2 inches
Stock Number: 31472
Price: $25.00

EX LIBRIS: Antique Book Plates : Skull and Book. Ex Libris for Richard de Winiwarzer at Davidson Galleries

Unidentified Artist

Skull and Book. Ex Libris for Richard de Winiwarzer

Series: Ex Libris
Medium: Woodcut
Size: 1-7/8 x 1-1/2 inches
Stock Number: 31376c
Price: $35.00

EX LIBRIS: Antique Book Plates : At Spes Non Fracta (But Hope Is Not Broken).  Ex Libris for the Honourable Charles Hope Weir of Craigiehall & Blackwood, Esq at Davidson Galleries

Unidentified Artist

At Spes Non Fracta (But Hope Is Not Broken). Ex Libris for the Honourable Charles Hope Weir of Craigiehall & Blackwood, Esq

Series: Ex Libris
Medium: Engraving
Year: 18th century
Size: 4-1/2 x 3 inches
Condition: Some stains in printed area
Stock Number: 31387c
Price: $75.00