Auction 60 Jewish and Israeli History and Culture
Mar 20, 2018 (Your local time)
 8 Ramban St. Jerusalem 9242209
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LOT 2:

Marcus Behmer - Original Sketches - Initial Words for the Pentateuch Published by Soncino, Berlin

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Sold for: $10,000
Start price:
$ 1,000
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Five original sketches of initial words, created for the Pentateuch published by Soncino (Berlin, 1930-1933) by the graphic designer and painter Marcus Behmer. 1928-1931.
1. Initial word for "Bereshit". Ink drawing on graph paper. Signed by Behmer and dated, November 1928.
18.5X15.5 cm. Attached to a passé par-tout (with four pieces of adhesive tape) with the printed version pasted below, in which the letters were cut and pasted separately from the ornaments.
2-5. Initial words for the books of Exodus and Leviticus, Bamidbar and Book of Deuteronomy. Ink drawings on graph paper. Two are signed by Behmer and dated, February 1931.
17X4.5-5 cm. Attached at margins to Bristol paper (with pieces of adhesive tape) and the printed versions are pasted by them; in the printed version of "Ve'ele" (Exodus) the letters were cut and pasted apart from the ornaments.
The Bible of the Berliner Soncino Company, "Friends of the Hebrew Book" (of which, eventually, only the Pentateuch was published) was an attempt to publish a beautiful edition of the bible, as opposed to the "practical" and plain editions printed up to that time. The typeface and the initial words were designed by the German artist Marcus Behmer (1879-1958), and were based on typical Askenazi fonts used for printing the Prague Haggadah in 1526. Hermann Meyer was in charge of the relations between Behmer and "Soncino" (Meyer's name is mentioned in the colophon as one of the people for whom six copies were printed on vellum). The intended completion of the entire Bible was, most probably, aborted due to the dramatic political changes in Germany (Hitler was appointed chancellor in January 1933; in the summer of 1933, Abraham Horodisch left for Amsterdam, and one year later Meyer left as well).
Enclosed: proof prints (final versions) of the title page "Chamisha Chumshe Torah" and the other Chumashim; 44 gatherings (each consists of four pages), from the Pentateuch (not consecutive, several appear in many copies). Tears and creases at margins of a number of gatherings.
For more information about the process of printing the Soncino Bible and the work of Behmer and Meyer, see: Philip Messner, On the Shape of Language, The Hebrew Renaissance and typographic discourse in Germany during the Weimar Republic (enclosed).
Provenance: Collection of Hermann Meyer and his daughter Channah Sapir.

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