Dust on the shelves. Collectors consider it romantic: the dusty corners of antiquarian bookshops where scarce volumes have been hidden under the dust for centuries waiting to be discovered and to be bought by book lovers for a few cents. (The legends say that these books exist.) Dealers live with it or, most of the time, don't do anything against it: the dust in the corners where boxes with hundreds (thousands) of books are stored waiting to be described, priced and put into the showcases or into the internet. Scienstists warn: dust may be unhealthy. As early as 1900 Eduard Fischer von Röslerstamm published an empirical analysis on the life expentancy of antiquarian booksellers, librarians and book collectors. His question was: Did they suffer from dust in the lungs? Was the "book dust disease" an occupational disease that threatened the rare book trade?
Those collectors, who have discovered the beauty and incredible variety of contemporary artistic picture books , are aware of the important initiatives which were set in the 1960s in European children's book art. In these years the contemporary art (as for example Surrealism and Pop art) „came into" children's book illustration, and since that time there is no doubt that certain picture books can be esteemed as „contemporary book-art" - and their artists as book-artists (and not only as illustrators!) A just published catalogue of two Parisian Book Galleries shows this in a tremendous exemplification (Chez les libraires associés and Librairie Michèle Noret).
One of the reasons I love working as a bookseller is how often I get to travel and meet interesting people. Tomorrow I jump on a plane and head for London to promote the International Antiquarian Bookfair in Hong Kong. I will be attending the Olympia Book Fair, one of the world's most prestigious fairs. In the next few weeks I will tell you my experiences. Part 1, introducing Douglas Stewart, Frank Werner, Edmund Brumfitt and James Hallgate.
In hindsight, we know Arpad Haraszthy was born to make wine. His father, Agoston Haraszthy (also known as "The Father of California Viticulture"), founded the Buena Vista Vinicultural Society in California after the 1857 establishment of his Buena Vista vineyard in Sonoma. Hungarian-American wine maker, writer and world traveler, Agoston Haraszthy moved to the United States in 1842 (when his son Arpad was only 2 years old), first settling in Wisconsin, there founding the first Wisconsin vineyards. A challenging endeavor, he gave up his attempts to grow grapes in the mid-west and moved his family to San Diego, California. Though he was active in political town-goings-on in San Diego, Agoston found he was once again disappointed in the local viticulture possibilities, and the family once more relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area, settling (this time for good) in Sonoma. To make a long (& mobile) story short, Agoston finally found what he was looking for in the Sonoma Valley. He and his family settled down. So Arpad Haraszthy grew up surrounded by wine aficionados (for example, Charles Krug was employed at the winery) – it seemed merely a matter of time before he himself entered the profession.