Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Brussel to Weiser
Sam Orlinick tbooks3C done iii
Sunny Warshaw doneiii
Jack Brussel do tbooks9c
Paul Cranefield Harvey's De Motu Cordis corncob pipe Jarcho done iv
Sam Weisers occult books Donald brother break a nickel do
Milton button manufacturer Victoria done iii
chip henry chafetz sid solomon Paragon? Coop sq bks srshapiro donei
ernie suitcases do
brooklyn -dance w prs tbooksx done iii
Joe Klein art Isabelle purse factory tbooks6D
three apts phil
Connection Luchows tbooksx done iii and iv
Collector lady MOMAAdelaide Milton deGroot tbooks11C,G
Old primitive in galleries Abraham Walkowitz do
Brownout do what?
Black sun biblio Made in Paris by Hugh Ford C?
Jack THL LCL Roth who did biblio? tbooks11D tbooklawC,G
Perel-West tperelG tperelD
Norman Thomas TbooksthG
Girodias Lolita do
Limericks man Ndouglas do
something w Hadrian man Fred`Rolfe? do
Shakespeare & Co Joyce w/ Oconnor Gotham (Wisemen) catalog Tbooks4D
Jack B- Miller do
academy 18 also Friends Fair MDs tbooks13G,tbooks99G
Offer pieces to first edns mag? paid?
Pauline Th Wolfe tbooks7D
Forged autographs, Jefferson tbooksx
Mosher pirate do
Roth Hamalian notes rothD
Wm. E. Geist City sClickers 1987
Mike Berger, new guy
Koch kills MHRDC
Secty of Health
Badillo Tallest PR in the world
Beth Robertson Cosnow Henry Stern
A collector/dealer whom one would often see at Weisers Bookstore on Broadway on Saturdays and late weekdays was the mysterious Mr. Klein, a short elderly stoutish gent, bent forward and peering through a magnifying glass in an art book, muttering. Mr Klein had a loft on the East side of Union Square, in which he and his brother, whom no one had ever met, manufactured leather goods. The purse-making was relegated to one long wooden table with some machinery. I once actually saw an older woman stitching at the table. Otherwise the loft was filled with stacks of paintings on their edges along the walls, statues big and small on antique tables, old glass-door bookcases filled with objets d'art and decaying art reference books in five languages. And old frames, lots of them.
"Look, I want your opinion on a painting I bought last week, I think it is a Pisarro," he would say, and I would obediently trot along to the loft, hoping that some unexpected treasure might reveal itself by serendipity, besides the spurious Pisarro.
On one such occasion Mr Klein started telling tales about an unknown Leonardo da Vinci drawing of Isabelle d'Este, and ended up digging into a trunk and unweiling a Renaissance drawing with the unmistakable features of that beautiful lady. "Look, look, look," he would open an old monograph and show the version in Uffici Gallery. It was definitely a master drawing, and when I pointed out the tracing pinholes in the paper, he shouted: "Look, they all did that, even Leonardo, to make sure that the copy was exactly like the original!" He then commissioned me to research the piece at the NYPublic Library for him, claiming failing eyesight. I did that gladly, because the posssibility of unearthing a lost Leonardo was thrilling. In the Art Room indeed there were references to more than one copy of the drawing, including one that might have gone astray during World War One. When I brought back the news to Mr Klein he thanked me perfunctorily and gave me a gift of some lithographs as a reward. The Leonardo was never mentioned again. Some years later, upon my inquiry, he told me that he no longer had it. However, during the intervening years Mr Klein gave away all his wild thrift-shop neckties, - I took some, as a good will gesture - and would travel to Biarritz and the Riviera, seemingly whenever it pleased him. He had acquired a lady-friend, a woman of a certain age, whom I would automatically address as Madame whenever we met on the street. She was not a bookstore frequenter.
Whenever we entered his loft, Mr Klein would take off his coat and don a paint-covered artist's smock, then pick up a painting that he was currently "sophisticating," and go to work. He was a crude restorer, and would clean and warnish paintings without much regard to damage. He would also reframe them, and seal the backs of the paintings. "Look, look, a Sargent!" he would shout, showing me an early XX Century flashily stroked portrait, bought at a small country auction sale. When I would suggest, with ill-concealed scepticism, that it was more like a Boldini, he would smile: "That's wonderful!" and consider the possibility. One great name or another, all his paintings were wonderful. His enthusiasm was contagious, and never flagged. Every disappointment, every painting dumped or auctioned off at a low price was superseded by a new find, a new hope of a discovery. And they were there.
One day he invited me in and unwrapped an interesting package of Renaissance-looking green papers, masterly fantasy drawings of people and scenes. "Look, look, a Piranesi suite!" I was stunned and had no words. "I shall sell it to Brooklyn Museum, they are goood!" The drawings were indeed museum quality, though whether by the great etcher of the XVIII Century I could not judge. That too was the last time the etchings were seen and talked about. "Theyr'e gone," the usually talkative Mr Klein stated, when I later inquired about their authentication.
Klein put me on to a dealer of remainder books, particularly art books, the Metropolitan an 23rd St., across the street from the insurance giant. He used it as his library, silently browsing for hours. I was impressed when, upon walking in for the first time, I heard the owners, a husband and wife and another relative, discuss the qualities of Canaletto vs. Guardi, the XVIII Cent. Venecian landscape artists, then much seen in reproductions. They obviously had more than a nodding acquantainceship with the arts. Klein had me search for some books for him, particularly a set of the Thieme-Becker art encyclopedias, which I finally located with a part-time dealer in Brooklyn, by advertising in the trade paper, the Antiquarian Bookman. When I came to the dealer's rooms, a small apartment, he took the set from under his bed. He also had a Benezit, the then eight-volume French encyclopedia of artists, which I bought for myself. That ended under my bed for a while.