Paul Klee- bookplate for Dr. Louis Michaud

Paul Klee's bookplate for his fellow Swiss school friend Louis Michaud (1880 - 1957) the clinician, scientist and teacher. Klee's only bookplate, with the printed initials 'P.K.' in the corner. A copper plate etching measuring 161 by 181mm, the design itself measuring 148 by 105mm. Listed in the Catalogue Raisonée (Kornfeld) as Klee's engraved Opus no 2. Known in only a handful of examples. Within a tree trunk frame Mephistopheles, seated in Dr. Faust's office addresses an eager student. Surrounding them are various objects comically recalling medical studies - a skull with a pipe in its mouth, a nude female torso, a retort, an inkwell, a baby in a wire covered jar and a stuffed hanging fish. Above and below merged, as it were, with the tree are a snake or lizard-like  figure. A cartouche at the top bears the owners name with 'Ex Libris' above, below are the first lines of a famous verse from Goethe's Faust- "der Geist der Medizin ist leicht zu fassen!" (The spirit of medicine is easy to grasp...") Ironic  in style, the bookplate also shows (according to Benoit Junod) 'the first signs of that distortion of forms of the living world which Klee was later to develop.' Sold several times in the last 2 decades for about £1600. No one ever plonks down the money, you usually have to take post-dated cheques and books and bookplates as swaps -- bookplate collectors are fairly cautious. However there is a new breed emerging in the Extreme Orient who buy high and without demur-- they tend to favour erotic bookplates...

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