What is Ex-libris?
Ex-libris is small size graphic works on which names and pictures on various subjects, which are made by lovers of book inside the cover of books. It is either a visiting-card or deed title of the book. Ex-libris which is know in English as bookplate introduces owner of the book, glorifies and exalts him and warns the borrower of the book that he/she may bring it back. Along with being a discretion of possession, indication of an ownership, it may be said that it has the function to protect the book from thieves. Its literal meaning is as follows: "...'s book", "for ....'s book" or "from ...'s library".
Ex-libris is a significant communication medium. While it is set as the graphic of need, it is specific master-works which have been designed by aesthetic anxiety. Art is between hands of human, brings it into the books, it lets the others to feel its charming warmness. This branch of art which has a longer past history becomes interesting at present day in relation with its cultural, historical characteristics; it has been used by artisits and collectors as an important object of issue.
The first and oldest example of Ex-libris was made on a light blue colour faience in about B.C. 1400, which belonged to the book of the 3rd Amenofis and it is supposed that these plates were fitted to wodden cases which were used papyrus rolls. Ex-librises in fact have been upon invention of printing press. Very valuable manuscripts of books which were primarily held only by the Church and princes could be possed by sublevel nobles and well trained bourgeois class by means of the printing press.
Thus it has become necessary to institute a private ownership code to protect such books, which lost their uniqueness, from being stolen and lost.
It is known that the first example of Ex-libris was used in 15th Century in the South Germany; one of them was 19 cm long Ex-libris which had been made for the German Priest Johannes Knabenberg who was known with the nickname Igler/Hedgehog in 1450, and where there was a picture depicting hedgehog biting a flower. Ex-librises which had been widely known in 16th Century by multiplication of books were seen not only in Germany but also started to have seen in other European countries. Well-known artists such as Albrecht Durer (1471-1528), Lucas Cranach (1472-1553), Evard Munch (1863-1944), Kaethe Kolwitz (1867-1945), Emil Nolde (1867-1956), Paul Klee (1879-1940), Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Oscar Kokoscka (1888-1980) had made Ex-libris for the important State men and scientists and their relatives.
When we look at those who have been making Ex-libris today, such artists as Jury Borovitsky, Yuri Nozdrin from Russia, Peter Augustovic from Slovenia, Karol Felix, Robert Jancovic from Czech Republic, Anneke Kuyper from Holland, Ettore Antonini, Antonio Grimaldi from Italy, Oleg Denisenko, David Bekker from Ukraine, with their engravings, Jean Marcel Bertrand from France, Mark Severin, Gerard Gaudaen, Frank Ivo Van Damme, Emiel Hoorne from Belgium, Ryszard Tobianski from Poland, Miroslav Houra from Czech Republic, Bosiljka Kicevac from Yugoslavia, Andy Pugachevsky from Ukraine with their reilef printings, Marcel Hascic from Belgium, Masao Ohba from Japan, Ovidiu Petca from Rumania with their silk screens, Kurt Herman from Belgium, Wim Zwiers from Holland with their computer added designes call attention.
Ex-librises have been assessed according to their subwects, artists, techniques, and have been collected by those persons who are interested in collecting them. Collectors have possessed numerous number of Ex-librises by exchanging their own double prints with others, and thanks to this kind of exchange they have been improving their collections in terms of international relations, creation of new friendships, learning of arts and techniques in different periods.
Collectors specifically prefers Ex-librises of well-known artists, particularly those which include musical and erotic subjects. For them aesthetic integrity, technical ability and perfection, relation between picture and inscription are also important. Signing of such smal prints by artist, when and how much and in what technique they were printed are important matter. Universal Ex-librises which are sold in some book-stores and which are of a type to be bought by everybody and whose name-plates are left blank have not been preferred by collectors.
There has been formed an Ex-libris market particularly in European countries where prices have been carefully followed up. In Germany 100 pcs. Engraving Ex-librises are sold in DM 500-1500, woodcuts or linocuts sold in DM 300-600, Lithographies DM 300 and DM 500. In United States of America, exclusive of printing, design of Ex-libris has been made at cost USD 200-1000; well-known artists may rise this figure up to three-four times. Old type Ex-librises which cannot be found easily, however, are sold higher than their normal prices.
In almost every European country, in United States of America and in Japan there are Ex-libris associations where artists of Ex-libris and collectors com together. Some of these associations publish comprehensive annual Ex-libris books and periodical bulletins. There are the original works of some artists whom are presented in this bulletins.
Ex-librises which carry cumtural and historic vaules,have been designed for 500 years with artistic anxieties and have been colleted by lovers of Ex-librises. Such original works which lead you to different thoughts have been prepared generally in restricting to dimensions of books and have been produced in other different techniques. Size of the book should be maximum 13 cm., collectors may use those of about 5-7.5 cm. size. All kinds of layers may be used for the printing layer. Furthermore, hand made layers may be preferable for the fact that they show prints more aatractive and create different tissues. It must be taken great pains that cover of Ex-libris should not be very thick for it may wear out the book.
While it has been preferred that Ex-libris is to be original printing, it may be reproduced in offset (P7), photograph (P8) and design in computer (CGD) when its performance of primary function and its arrival to the new masses have been thought. Generally woodcut (X1) and linocut (X3) printings on black / white books, lithographies (L), silk screens (S) on colour books, etchings (C3) on very valuable books have been put. In just the same way as made in the original printing picture, symbol of the printing technigue, number of copies and number of edition in hand, name of the artist and the name of the Institution in which it has been made have been inscribed by pen at bottom left corner of Ex-librises, and if it is painted with copying colour, number of colours should be indicated. Address of the artist can be written on the reverse side of Ex-libris.
President of Istanbul Ex-libris Society
Köybaşı Cad. Gül Hatmi Sok. Amber Çıkmazı Mete Apt. 4/A
- September 2017
Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Graphic Design
He was Dean of Faculty of Fine Arts Hacettepe University in 2003-2006.
He was the President of Hacettep Art Museum in 2005-2007
- December 2007
Beytepe, Ankara, Turkey
Tunus Cad Kavaklıdere, Ankara,
Yaroslavl International Ex-libris Competition-Russia, "Second Prize"
32nd International Ex-libris Biennial-China, "Honorable Mention"
4rt International Biennal Of Graphic Art In Francavilla Al Mare - Italy, "Honorable Mention"
3rd Biennale Ex-libris Italy-Turkey, "First Prize"
Printmaking Competition For Art Students, "Seref Akdik Prize"
He has written one book about "Ex-libris". His works published in "Graphia" and "Boekmerk" in Belgium, in "Bookplates in the News" in USA , in "Exlibriskunst und Graphic" in Germany, in "Bookplate Journal" in England and in "Exlibris Aboensis" in Finland. He has done twenty three solo exhibitions and has participated in some group exhibitions. He has run a lot of workshops about ex-libris. He has gave some courses of lecture in Belgium, Gent Royal Akademy as an Erasmus Professor. He has made the intensive studies in art museums of Brussels, Brugge, Gent, Ostend, Liege, Sint-Niklaas, Paris, Maastrich, Amsterdam, Luksemburg, Köln, Bonn, Rome, Florence, Venice, Ortona, Lauzanne, Geneva, Nyon, Algeria, Nicosia, Sofia, Warsaw, Gliwice, Belgrade, Minsk, Moscow, Yaroslavl, Vienna, Wells, Salzburg, Prague, New York, Chicago, Edmonton, Helsinki, Beijing, Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, Madrid, Londra, Porto, Lisbon. Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Tagil.
He has organized 1st and 2nd International Ex-libris Competition in 2003-2007, 1st International Printmaking Biennial in 2008 and 33rd FISAE International Ex-libris Congress and Ex-libris Competition in 2010 in Istanbul. He is the President of Istanbul Ex-libris Society and Istanbul Ex-libris Museum.