This 2013 excursion is the first of many scholarly ex libris tours. This trip had three main objectives.
First of all, there are vast private collections of ex libris throughout the world today. Our goal is to visit the collectors. To learn from them and create future projects to work alongside them.
Secondly, to see the ex libris collections of major museums around the world. Especially those holding membership with our society. We examined and documented the collections through written and photographic means. To understand how the libraries, museums are organizing and mounting the plates. Generally how they are maintained and stored. What the museums are doing to further the interest in bookplates.
We observed the need for regular presentations from the library collections to show both group and solo exhibitions of artists including themes, techniques, periods. Sponsoring competitions for contemporary artists is critical to keeping the art form alive. It is important for institutions to publish electronic and printed (hard copy) catalogs, books, and magazines to reach the widest possible international audience. These should be accompanied by virtual and traveling exhibitions.
Thirdly, through this study we shared our mutual passion for ex libris with other artists and collectors. The primary achievement is through the growth of friendships established, the camaraderie through the exchange of ideas and prints. We all concur that we must raise the awareness of the art form through the aforementioned strategies. In some way, each nation within the ex libris world community must contribute to this mission, this common goal.
This excursion not only laid the foundation for future scholarly tours, but it is our plan to bring these long established ideas to the foreground as we seek support and the Society’s collection continues to grow. We must be prepared to expand on the ex libris research center in the Americas. It amazes me that there are more than a dozen important ex libris centers throughout the world today, including Istanbul. Yet nothing like it in the Americas except through James P. Keenan’s initiative.
The Instituto Allende Fine Arts College is one North American institution that holds membership with the ASBC&D and seriously supports our society’s goals by assisting us in hosting Master Artist workshops, international ex libris competitions, and publishing fine books. The workshops, exhibitions will be available to travel throughout the Americas and we will require your cooperation and support in achieving this in the United States and Canada! We certainly do invite your ideas, comments, suggestions, and advice as key elements to the creation of our next center.
This issue of the Chronicle will cover just a few of the details of our rare and exciting excursion through Scandinavia. The next issues will cover our trip from the United Kingdom through to the DEG congress at Wurzbach, Germany.
We started this scholarly excursion with orientation in Stockholm, Sweden on April 3, 2013. On April 4th we met with Lars Stolt and Aino Törnqvist Stolt at their home. Lars is a distinguished author, collector, and former president of Svenska Exlibris Foreningen—the Swedish ex libris association. He is currently a member of several international ex libris associations including ours.
We called this meeting a mini-Swedish Congress. Total 6 persons in attendance including myself, James, Lars & Aino Stolt, Magnus Backmark (heraldic artist), Olle Reichenberg (president of the Svenska Exlibris Foreningen). We talked for hours and shared our knowledge with great enthusiasm. We also enjoyed some brisk ex libris exchanges. We had a lovely dinner with the group, took several pictures, and went through the Stolt collection at his home. Recently, he donated most of his collection to the Royal Library in Sweden.
The next few days were spent with Per-Axel Wiktorsson and his wife, Adéle. Mr. Wiktorsson is an important collector, member of Svenska Exlibris Foreningen association, and the ASBC&D. He invited us to view his personal collection at Uppsala University Library. There we met with Agneta Malmsten who is the Librarian overseeing his collection.
Per-Axel then invited us to vist the Paul Rune Dahlman Collection and Library in Örebro. Dahlman was a collector and the Swedish Ambassador to Mexico during the early 20th century. This important collection is located in his historic home in Örebro, where he died in 1944.
From Örebro we traveled by train to Göteborg to catch the Stena Line to Frederikshavn, Denmark. In Frederikshavn we visited with Klaus Rödel who has been a member of the ASBC&D since 1968 and he is the director of the Kunstmuseum|that houses one of the world’s greatest bookplate collections! It would take a lifetime to view the entire collection, but we we gave it a few days.
Klaus Rödel was a perfectly charming and generous host. We had only a few days to look through thousands of books and bookplates, but it was an exciting time. The museum has extensive ex libris holdings and marvelous facilities for mounting exhibitions.
James & I packed up 100s of books and exhibition catalogs published by the museum over the years. These books are welcome additions to the ASBC&D’s research library.
In the next issue I will include more on our travels through the UK, Belgium, Germany.
— Prof. Nurgül Arikan
ASBC&D Advisory Board
Article originally published in the Ex Libris Chronicle Volume 12 No. 2 & 3