Edward Tufte auctions off his library

In less than a month (December 2nd), Christie's will auction off Edward Tufte's library - an idiosyncratic collection of first edition books, plates, prints, and ephemera that the dataviz guru calls his "Museum of Cognitive Art," and I call "Jessica's Christmas List."

I'm not going to sample low-rez images of the lots here, because there's a stunning slideshow, complete with curation, at the Christie's website. If you've got ten minutes, this is virtual antiquarian dataviz windowshopping at its best.

There appear to be 160 lots; Tufte's website describes it as "200 rare books, including major works in the history of science, statistical graphics, 20th-century artists books, ET artworks, Sidereus Nuncius (1610), Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (1499)." Apparently Tufte intends to use the proceeds to fund his gallery ET Modern, among other art projects.

If, like me, you've taken Tufte's course on data visualization, you've already seen some of these books - he uses them in his lectures. And if you are in NYC, Tufte's website promises that

at ET Modern, ET will show special rare books from his library to be auctioned at Christie's on December 2, 2010. He will discuss how those books participated in creating his own books, especially Beautiful Evidence. These historic, beautiful, rare, important books on show include: Galileo's Starry Messenger (1610), Hypnerotomachia (1499), Durer on measurement (1532), Cousin on perspective (1560), Bayer's first accurate star atlas (1603), Playfair on statistical graphics (1785), and two of Picasso's artists books. Free lecture at ET Modern on Thursday November 18 at 7.00pm, and again on Friday November 19 at 2.00pm. Free lecture at Christie's (where all 200 books will be on view) on Monday November 29 at 2.00pm and again on Tuesday November 30 at 2.00pm.


Christie's slideshow of the lots for auction.
Christie's catalogue for the auction, with detailed curator's notes.
Tufte's comment on the sale.

Can't afford a Christie's bid? There's always Amazon. . .

Via Slashdot.

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