Robert Lenkiewicz—one of the great eccentrics of our time

 

Lenkiewicz picFound, a page torn from a copy of the Bookdealer dated 13th November 2003 previewing the forthcoming sale at Sotheby’s of the collection formed by the artist and book collector Robert Lenkiewicz.

Because of his reclusiveness, little was known about Lenkiewicz before he died in 2002 aged just 60. A media frenzy then broke out. There are so few genuine eccentrics in the art world that the press can hardly afford to ignore such a prime example as Lenkiewicz. Here is a passage from the preview:

‘Here we have a man who faked his own death some years before he died …and lived for a few days in hiding at the Cornish home of one of his patrons, the Earl of St Germans. He was notorious for befriending and patronising vagrants and tramps, in particular one Edwin McKenzie, who lived in a concrete tube on a rubbish dump and preferred to be known as Diogenes. Since Diogenes’ death in the 1980s the whereabouts of his bodily bits were a mystery, until his embalmed remains were discovered in a secret drawer in a bookcase at Lenkiewicz’s Barbican library. ‘

‘If you remain unimpressed there were other discoveries including what was left of the condemned 16th –century witch, Ursula Kemp. Her skeletal remains, which had been nailed to the coffin, are believed to have been disinterred in Victorian times. This find nicely compliments his great book collection, illustrating as it does Lenkiewicz’s obsessive curiosity with life and death’. Continue reading

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A flyer from the Platonist Press

Found - a publisher's flyer loosely inserted in a copy of Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie's  Mithraic Mysteries (Platonist Press, Alpine, N.J 1925.) The Platonist Press seems to have flourished between 1900 and 1930 publishing books on philosophy, occult speculation, mysticism and the occasional work of fantasy fiction (including Guthrie's Bleiler listed A Romance Of Two Centuries. A Tale of the Year 2025 which appeared in 1919.) This flyer is eccentric, oddly surreal and now politically slightly  dubious. It was probably the work of Guthrie. There is little on the Platonist Press and some of these works may be 'ghosts' (i.e they were never published.) They appear to have moved from Alpine, New Jersey to North Yonkers, NY -which puts this advert some time in the 1920s...

SPICY SITUATIONS, and Dr Kenneth Guthrie's REMEDIES
The Board of Education's Examiner had Just turned down the blushing Miss Teacher Candidate. Weeping, she wailed, Is there no hope at all for me? Oh yes; purred he. Try again next year! What could I study in the meanwhile? Dr Guthrie's TEACHERS' PROBLEMS & HOW TO SOLVE THEM, $1.25; 'Value and Limits of the History of Education,' and 'The Mother-Tongue Method of Teaching Modern Languages,' each 30 cents. Will that pass me? Really, Miss, you are too pretty to teach school. Get his Progressive Complete Eduction, or Marriage as the Supreme School of Life, $1.25. And if I pass examination on it? Then I will marry you, Thanks, kind sir!
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