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Der Venuswagen / Heinrich Stinnes Copy I/XL

Driven Home to a Provenance Stick-in-the-Mud

The Whole Charm
of Numbered Private Press Books —
in No. I they celebrate their Greatest Triumph , epitomized in
Doctor Heinrich Stinnes

as one of those grandees of the industrial Rhenish capitalism who wrote provenance history, knowing full well “that one can enjoy capital only by transforming it into art”, so Dirk Schümer in his review of the Genoa exhibition The Age of Rubens in realization of the “economical globalization about 1600” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung April 6, 2004).

“ Provenance copies

“ are books which, as the supralibros, the ex-libris, or a written inscription prove, origin from a famous library and stood in a personal relation to its owner ” (Hans Bohatta in Lexikon des Gesamten Buchwesens, vol. III [1937], p. 58).

So then ensuing here, too. Volume for volume on the fly-leaf the collector’s written owner’s note along with source of purchase & price deep black ink. What a hand did write it! Imperial strokes Die Zeit called them, hitting home, January 5, 1950 on occasion of another one of the estate sales taking place since 1932 (Zeit Online). And continuing

“ One recognized his character also by the pen strokes a mighty claw had applied to the passe-partout or even the sheets themselves. For no printed sheet was admitted to the house … of which was not taken possession in this, almost maniac manner. ”

So it seems indeed. And finds its equivalent in the red collection stamp with 1/40 in the margin lower left of each of present 73 print plates. And apropos of such owner’s notes, the writer of the Zeit, otherwise getting quite the gist of it, turns out to be a bibliophile ignoramus when he gives a moan:

“ Not with the pencil for instance, which an obliterating eraser might have removed easily ( sic ! ), but with deep black ink and imperial strokes, or even with an impertinent copying pencil which burrowed with relish into the skin of the finest Japanese paper. A tattoo which mocks all removal arts of the most skilled restorer. ”

Indelible indeed. And only a Jacobin would ever take it to his head – and with certainty – to force such an autograph, such an ownership trophy of the bluest of the blue under the guillotine of an eraser! What a sacrilege! What a gaffe! Where

“ … this sturdy appropriation probably corresponded with the hard hand of the brother Hugo Stinnes, which took hold of the equity stock of German industrial corporations? Was the strive for completeness, the possessive domination of a wide field the character trait which united the otherwise so different brothers? ”

He was one of the Lannas, the Gutmanns, the Davidsohns, the Thyssens as in the old world the “first collectors of global culture who come from an industrial world … (and) have nothing in common anymore with the earlier (princely) types of collectors” (Lothar Brieger, Das Kunstsammeln, 3rd ed., 1920, pp. 10 ff.). And continuing, as if considering Heinrich Stinnes downright as the prototype “Although he might always like to hear it, he cannot be perceived without the dealer, just for the reason that actually the dealer was the only man with whom he could get along … (And) hand in hand with the dealer’s cultivation at the same time came the development of a better museum system.” And summing up “For indeed those collectors whom we may address as the fathers of our now again flourishing collecting culture have

lived nothing , loved nothing , and enjoyed nothing but works of art. ”

Heinrich Stinnes (Mülheim/Ruhr 1867 – Cologne 1932) was one of theses grandees. Pure-blooded as hardly any other. A principal, as brother Hugo in his field. But, lo and behold, across the times his remained like the use of the copying pencil. We bow in awe.

And won’t come up with the idea – as indeed to be read elsewhere – that an copying pencil note seemingly bled on perfect paper were due to some water damage when quite contrarily it stands testament to plenty saliva of even one Stinnes himself! For

“ In dry use the writing is little vivid or resembles the stroke of a pencil (depending on the variant). Only with the absorption of moisture the color shows clearly and coalesces with the paper fibers. The transformation by absorption of humidity is comparably slow and can take up to two days. Therefore the copying pencil typically was licked at the tip or briefly taken into the mouth as still can be seen in silents. By this the color force on the paper is raised significantly and immediately. Before the toxicity of these pencils became generally known, a (usually violet) color spot at lip or tongue-tip of procurators, secretaries, nurses, librarians etc. was the sign of paperwork … The distinction between pencil and copying pencil, which in dry state both appear grey, can be done by moisture. The copying pencil writing discolors irreversibly violet ” (German Wikipedia April 1, 2020).

niemeyer art books is proud having landed from this provenance, from this parade of the Number Ones not only a collection flagship assolutum, but by these 9 volumes, which cost the publisher 1000 mark in immorality penalty

a culture-historical torch par excellence

which had Justice’s moral sensitivity flare up

as if the young republic, the horrors of war still vividly in mind, had nothing more urgent to do but to flare up because of a noble edition for a small circle of intellectual élite to deprive the

Freedom of the Arts

of the juice. They are back again these days. These excitednesses, this panicky crusading to pull things into the limelight the republic should be able to bear. There’s only one thing to do: the opening up of the soul. Of the, the collecting, the art-loving self.

“ The night is the most beautiful ”

pianist Eduard Erdmann, book collector of degree, once told his head-waiter in the Weinhaus Wiesel in Cologne. Shades of Heinrich Stinnes. But “If you do not feel it”, so Faust, “you will not catch it”. Here and now then, documented with all the accuracy due to the object as not everywhere considered worth the effort: the

exclusively Roman I numbered Stinnes copy of the 9-volume


A Collection of Erotic Private Editions
with 78 Original Prints

(73 plates, 72 of which signed & 1 by Corinth remaining unsigned as also in cat. Fischer 406, 1 ill. title & 4 vignettes). Published as PRIVATE PRINTS OF THE GURLITT PRESS by Alfred Richard Meyer (Munkepunke). First series. 9 volumes (all published). Berlin 1919/1920. 4o (12⅛ × 9⅞ in [30.7 × 25 cm]).

Ruby red orig. morocco on 5 ribs

with blind tooled front cover vignette and equal line on both covers as well as, gilt tooled, on the spine, as the titles, too, turquoise-green moiré inner covers & fly-leaves, several of the latter slightly waved in the course of lamination. Gilt head edge. Two edges untrimmed.


Doctor Heinrich Stinnes

with volume by volume on the fly-leaf
the written ownership note
accompanied of purchase & price in deep black ink on the fly-leaf as well as the red collection stamp (Lugt 4436) along with 1/40 in the margin lower left
of each one of the 73 plate prints


Das Graphische Jahr, Fritz Gurlitt, 2nd ed., Berlin 1922, pp. 73 f.; Hayn-Gotendorf, Bibliotheca Germanorum Erotica & Curiosa, vol. IX (1919), ed. by Paul Englisch, pp. 600 f. & individual references with the titles; Bilderlexikon der Erotik, vol. II (1929), 868 f.; Paul Englisch, Geschichte der erotischen Literatur, Berlin 1927, p. 287, 3 & individual references with the titles; Paul Englisch, Irrgarten der Erotik, Eine Sittengeschichte über das gesamte Gebiet der Welt-Pornographie, Leipsic 1931, p. 299 & individual references with the titles; L. Lang, Expressionistische Buchillustration in Deutschland 1907-1927, Lucerne (1975), pp. 90 f. & individual references with the titles; Peter Josch, Alfred Richard Meyer, in Philobiblon, vol. XXVI, no. 1, Hamburg 1982, C 5.

Venuswagen / Cover Vignette

One of the finest book series of erotic literature
of the early 20th century :

“ The Venuswagen has loaded strong spices , juicy herbs from Occident and Orient . Artists of reputation provide the trimmings , Mr. Alfred Richard Meyer has the reins . Eroticism goes well – Eroticism goes better than ever . Heigh-ho this will be a ride … ”

(Horst Stobbe in Die Bücherstube, vol. I, issue 2, pp. 71 f., quoted from Hayn-Gotendorf, op. cit., p. 600).

“ All (still available) copies were confiscated ”

(Englisch, Geschichte der erotischen Literatur). And Kurt Tucholsky alias Ignaz Wrobel commented on the confiscation series – to which also editions of Gottfried August Bürger, Paul Verlaine and Heinrich Zille fell victim – 25 November 1920 in Die Weltbühne under the heading The Censor is Haunting!:

“ Now the injustice of such a confiscation is that it happens before the verdict of the court of law … This is censorship. Now I will not have prosecutor Orthmann prescribe what I may read, and if this goes on further we have an authoritarian paternalism within four weeks which differs by no means from Metternich’s censorship. That Lovis Corinth is president of the Secession and professor at the Academy the prosecutor not necessarily has to know; neither that Georg Walter Rößner is instructor at the national school of arts in Berlin. But he may acknowledge that the German writers, the German painters, and the German publishers are not of a mind to acquiesce in the beadle encroachment of a man who is incapable to distinguish a nude dance in Motz-Straße from an etching of Corinth’s. The stifling resentment of legal philistines towards everything which signifies fresh air in arts has to rage at home … In what times do we live? We live in a time where the staunchly erected philistine is permitted to don the bit on a nation. Fight back! ”

Here, however, not only eluded Lady Justice’s seizing hands and therefore absolutely complete, but moreover present in the


(first and final total edition 740 copies) on mostly heavy laid paper and bound in leather (as here) or vellum or also, as not noted in the imprint, in silk. – Serial as individual titles mostly in red & black. – Within the generous preliminary matters on page 3 each lithographed serial vignette, with the image content of the first volumes later modified. – Plates printed on the Gurlitt press. – Beside the fly-leaf at the beginning & end one or two original additional fly-leaves. On each one of the fly-leaves following the front fly-leaf said virtuosic autograph owner’s note (c. 2⅜ × 5½ in [6 × 14 cm]). The reference to the plates on the titles mostly numbered in writing. – Except for one of the Corinth plates, see below,

all plate prints as well as the imprint

signed by the respective artist .

  1. Lovis Corinth, VenusFriedrich Schiller. Der Venuswagen from 1781 as eponym and volume 1 of the series with 8 (7 signed as Cat. Fischer 406, too) color lithographs (5⅞ × 9⅞ in [15 × 25 cm] and [7] c. 10¼ × 8¼-8½ in [26 × 21-21.5 cm] resp., 3 of which inscribed in the stone with Ritsch Ratsch, Venusfinger and Inquisitia resp.) by Lovis Corinth (Tapiau 1858 – Zandvoort 1925). 33 pages, 1 sheet imprint, 2 extra end fly-leaves. – Text printed by von Otto von Holten, Berlin. – Englisch, Geschichte d. erot. Lit., 217 f.; the same, Irrgarten d. Erotik, 254 f.; Simon, Schillers ›Venuswagen‹, Euphorion 20/3 (1914); Schwarz L 383. – Europa on the Bull remained inadvertently unsigned. – Boards slightly warped, ribs slightly rubbed just as one spot at the top as well as small defect of the bottom end of the spine below the gold fillet. – “If we leaf through Schiller’s works for the poem ‘The Chariot of Venus’ we will hardly find it. Schiller’s first verses have always been ostracized. The poet has suppressed them himself. Yet – just for the beginning of the great artistic creativeness they are extremely characteristic; their value is not to be looked for in literary curiosity only” (A. R. Meyer).
  2. Otto Schoff, Sappho or The LesbiansE. Jouy (= Victor Josephe Etienne, named for his native place de Jouy). Sappho or The Lesbians. (1799.) With title & 6 signed plate etchings (c. 7⅝ × 5¾ in [19.5 × 14.5 cm]) as well as charming initials by Otto Schoff (Bremen 1888 – Berlin 1938). From the French into the German by Balduin Alexander Möllhausen. 25 pages, 1 leaf imprint, 2 extra end fly-leaves. – Text printed by Otto von Holten, Berlin. – H.-G. IX, 309 f.; Englisch, Geschichte d. erot. Lit., 287 & 425; the same, Irrgarten d. Erotik, 242 & 265-266; Fromm 13208; Brattskoven 15. – The green paste-downs & fly-leaves with tidemark at top. At front at most 4 cm deep and decreasingly coloring the following two white fly-leaves, Stinnes’s ownership note just as untouched by this as at the back the impeccable imprint page with roman I & Schoff’s signature. At the back otherwise 11 cm deep and strongly coloring the two white end papers, yet the first of which affected on front only slightly anymore. Feebly green upper edge then on pp. 9/10 & ensuing etching, then more generally, partly virtually imperceptible faint narrow brown stripe, the farthest top edge occasionally also with a touch of green. – One cover tissue each defect lower right and lower edge resp. – Of the tidemarks in the binding basically worth mentioning just the slight little dark rim on the left half of the lower edge of the front board, duly registered otherwise still front board top & on three sides on the back board. All in all yet no less, but also no more than a partial slip with immaculate freshness of all the rest. – “A classic masterpiece of erotic literature of the first French republic. It shall not be concealed that later Jouy was ashamed of this most beautiful and most daring of his numerous works …« (Möllhausen). And “The lovely portraits of girls he shows in erotic occupation have a lot of Fragonard’s gracious touch … His best known works are: 6 etchings for Jouy’s ‘Lesbians’ …” (Englisch, Irrgarten d. Erotik, 265 f.).
  3. Richard Janthur, PantschatantraPantschatantra. Fables from Indian Love Life. With 10 signed color lithographs with additional monogram in the stone (7⅝-8⅝ × 6¼-6⅞ in [19.5-22 × 16-17.5 cm]) as well as pertinent large chapter initials and figurative upper ledge & closing vignettes by Richard Janthur (Zerbst 1883 – Berlin 1956). 47 pages, 1 leaf imprint. – Text printed by Spamersche Buchdruckerei Leipsic. – Lang 144; Sennewald 19,3. – Continuous waving from faint tidemark in the upper margin, first & final leaves somewhat more. Below mostly slighter waving only and without tidemark, besides not entirely throughout. In the leather only little intrusive trace at the upper edge of the boards. – One cover tissue defect in the lower right and lower margin. All this nonetheless tolerable, disguised by the fine typography and … the strong vividness of the illustrations. Included even the initials.
  4. Georg Walter Rössner, The Aldegrever GirlAlfred Richard Meyer. The Aldegrever Girl. A Novella. 1911. With 8 signed & colored lithographs (“free, yet not erotic” (H.-G. IX, 400; 7⅝-8⅝ × 5⅛-7½ in [19.5-22 × 13-19 cm]) by Georg Walter Rössner (Leipsic 1885 – Gundelsby 1972) and large opening initial 40 pages, 1 leaf imprint. – Text printed by Otto von Holten, Berlin. – Sennewald 19,6; G. K. Kobbe, Munkepunke-Bio-Bibliogr. (1933), 44. – Preliminary matters in carmine & black. – Imprint correctly signed by the artist, not the author as stated there erroneously. – Backed small margin tears, faint brown stripe in the joint, in places minimally foxed. Minimal rubbing at the headcap and three small scratches on the front board lower left. – “The Aldegrever Girl is a gem of truth of nature, humor and spiritedness … For this I would stand up in public, too” (F. Wedekind).
  5. Franz Christophe, Murder in the Chestnut GroveHenry de Kock / Balduin A. Möllhausen. The Murder in the Chestnut Grove or The Uneventful Wedding Night. With 6 signed color lithographs with additional signature in the stone (7¼ × 5⅞ in [18.5 × 15 cm]) as well as illustrated title by Franz Christophe (Vienna 1875 – Berlin 1946). 52 pages, 1 leaf imprint. – Text printed by Otto von Holten, Berlin. – Englisch, Geschichte d. erot. Lit., 508; Englisch, Irrgarten d. Erotik, 252; Sennewald 19,1. – On the half-title sheet the title Henry de Kock / Die Geschichte vom Doktor Schultz. – Preliminary matters in green & black. – The title without the collection-specific written specification of the number of plates. – At the beginning minimal foxspots. – Minimal abrasions at headcap and three ribs at the spine. – “In lasciviousness Henry de Kock was not inferior to his namesake (Paul de Kock, indeed the father) … and also wrote some other free little story … in which the blood-curdling and erotic came together to a strange unity” (Englisch, Geschichte d. erot. Literatur, p. 508).
  6. Willy Jaeckel, Erotic Votive PanelsHeinrich Lautensack. Erotic Votive Panels. With 7 signed lithographs with additional signature in the stone (4½-7⅞ × 5½-6⅛ in [11.5-20 × 14-15.5 cm]) by Willy Jaeckel (Breslau 1888 – Berlin 1944). 32 pages, 1 leaf imprint. – Text printed by Printing Office Gustav Ascher, Berlin. – H.-G. IX, 341 f.; Englisch, Geschichte d. erot. Lit., 287; Lang 134; Sennewald 19,1; Stilijanov-Nedo 86. – Throughout in red & black. – Imprint correspondingly on heavy Dutch laid paper, not 1919 Zanders laid paper as stated by H.-G. – At the beginning only one fly-leaf, included within pagination, too. – One of the cover tissue papers with small tear-off and backed tear at the lower edge.
  7. Paul Scheurich, The Royal Orgy(François-Marie Mayeur de Saint-Paul). The Royal Orgy or The Austrian in Mood. An Opera. Published by a Life-guardsman the Day of the Freedom of Press. 1789. Set to Music by the Queen. With 6 signed plate lithographs (“erotic and obscene”, H.-G.; 2½-3½ × 2⅜-5¾ in [6.5-9 × 6-14.5 cm]) as well as 3 charming lithographed vignettes by Paul Scheurich (New York 1883 – Brandenburg 1945). For the first time translated into German by Engelbert Nern and with his epilog The Small Chambers and the Deer Park. 38 pages, 1 leaf imprint, 2 end fly-leaves. – Text printed by Otto von Holten, Berlin. – Barbier I, 323; H.-G. IX, 438; Sennewald 19,5. – The author of the Opéra Proverbe published 1789 without place under the title L’Autrichienne en goguettes ou l’orgie royale not researched by the publisher/translator. – Series vignette in orange, preliminary matters in orange & black. – All 6 plates with the collection stamp as custom, yet only five also with the written 1/40. – Partially faint shadow of a narrow tidemark at the lower edge, in the leaf of the imprint and the following white fly-leaf somewhat more. One of the cover tissue papers defect.
  8. Wilhelm Wagner, The CherriesWilhelm Heinse. The Cherries. With 7 signed chalk lithographs (“free, but not very erotic”, H.-G.; 6¾-8⅛ × 4-7½ in [17-20.5 × 10-19 cm]) as well as vignettes & upper ledge borders by Wilhelm Wagner (Hanau 1887 – Bad Saarow 1968). 29 unnumbered leaves, 1 leaf imprint. – Text printed by Otto von Holten, Berlin. – H.-G. IX, 270; Englisch, Geschichte d. erot. Lit., 191 f.; Sennewald 20,2. – The serial vignette adjusted to the content. – Title in red & black. – The fine large typography especially worth mentioning. – Without the collection-specific written specification of the number of prints on the title. – Only quite occasional small foxspots. Minimal rubbing of the upper edge of the back board, the boards slightly warped. – Heinse’s 1773 poem after Claude-Joseph Dorat’s Les Cérises et la double méprise, who himself had in turn two predecessors and examples resp. in Béroalde de Verville (Moyen de parvenir) and Jean-Baptiste de Grécourt.
  9. Willy Geiger, Gilles de RaisJ(oris) K(arl) Huysmans. Gilles de Rais. German by August Döppner. With 15 signed lithographs by Willi Geiger (Schönbrunn/Landshut 1878 – Munich 1971) with additional monogram in the stone (4⅜-8⅛ × 2⅛-7⅛ in [11-20.5 × 5.5-18 cm) as well as large figurative closing vignette signed in the stone only and figurative opening initial. 40 pages, 1 leaf imprint, 2 end fly-leaves. – Text printed by Otto von Holten, Berlin. – H.-G. IX, 298; Englisch, Geschichte d. erot. Lit., 523 f.; Englisch Irrgarten d. Erotik, 257; Lang 70. – Only the series title in red & black with coincident omission of the series vignette. – The erroneous specification of the imprint with regard to only 35 luxury copies corrected by hand to 40. – one cover tissue paper defect. Back board with faint long scratch mark and three minimal rub marks, such also at the headcap and the ribs of the spine.

Irrespective of described and, on their own, indeed impairing imperfections in the preservation of two volumes an

excellent state of preservation & as a whole a feast for the eyes

which disguises said imperfections sovereignly awaits you. This copy is downright

a synthesis of the arts
ennobled unrepeatably by provenance & Roman I .

Destined for those

who “ know to read the arrangement , the gestures

and the forms of figures in a composition ”.

So Nicolas Poussin about 1637 to Jacques Stella. 300 years later here then facilitated to those few to read and understand by the innermost turned outside of one of their kind.

Offer no. 29,125 | price on application

Heinrich Stinnes, Collector's Stamp
Heinrich Stinnes, 1/40.

  1. Hilliard T. Goldfarb in the Montreal/Cologne Richelieu catalog ed. by himself, 2002, p. 10/I.