Visionaire offers a total experience, and you cannot understand or appreciate it by looking at it online. You have to physically interact with the issues—you have to smell it, taste it, touch it, you have to play a record, you have to take it out into the sun and see it change colors. Plus, they’re limited, they’re expensive, so it’s something that people buy and they keep. They share it with friends and have it on their coffee tables. It has a life of its own.

Cecilia Dean, co-founder of Visionaire

Visionaire, founded by Stephen Gan, released its first issue, Spring in 1991 and it was available at Rizzoli bookstore for just $10. It was printed on remnant paper and presented loose, portfolio-style, as binding was too expensive. The issue's contributors were mostly friends of Gan's, artists and illustrators in New York, and featured a spread by now-famed fashion photographer Bill Cunningham. By the fifth issue, they were attracting bigger artists, like Bruce Weber, Todd Oldham, Nan Goldin and Kenny Scharf. Eventually, Visionaire would come to be known as "the most expensive magazine" in the world, with later issues being sponsored by and collaborations with Comme des Garçons, Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton and Hermès, among others. Over the years, back issues have become highly coveted and in limited supply (early issues were printed in runs of only 1000 copies). 

"The issue of innocence" and Paloma Picasso, "Mon rouge" from Issue 22: Chic

Visionaire, while it eventually came to have a more simpatico relationship with the fashion industry, presented a deft insider's view of the art and fashion world, reverent on one page, and self-aware, teasing on the next. The issues are sharp and sumptuous– a pastiche of art, downtown, fashion, avant-garde, luxury and queer culture – and exist in the realm of both relevance and relic. Later, Visionaire would become more experiential, incorporating music, films, flip books, scents and even garnered the Guinness World Record for "largest magazine" for their 2011 issue 62 Larger Than Life, which was seven feet tall. 

Illustration from Issue 7: Black

From the Collection of Angelica Blechschmidt

These Visionaire issues were the collection of Angelica Blechschmidt, the editor-in-chief of German Vogue for over twenty years. She began at Vogue as a graphic designer in 1980 and became editor in 1989. Included with many of the issues are hand-written notes from Visionaire editor Stephen Gan to Blechschmidt. 

The Present Lot Includes:

No. 1 Spring (1991)

No. 2 Summer (1991)

No. 3 Fall (1991)

No. 4 Heaven (1992)

No. 5 The Future (1992)

No. 6 The Sea (1992)

No. 7 Black (1992)

No. 8 The Orient Spring (1993)

No. 9 Faces (1993)

No. 10 Alphabet (1994)

No. 11 White (1994)

No. 12 Desire (1994)

No. 13 Must Have Issue (1995)

No. 14 Cinderella (1995)

No. 16 Calendar (1996)

No. 17 Gold (1996)

No. 18 Fashion Special: Louis Vuitton (1996)

No. 19 Beauty (1996)

No. 20 Comme des Garçons (Guest editor Rei Kawakubo) (1997)

No. 21 The Diamond Issue (1997)


No. 22 Chic (Guest editor Mario Testino) (1997)

No. 23 The Emperor's New Clothes  by Karl Lagerfeld (1997)

No. 24 Light (Tom Ford for Gucci) (1998)

No. 25 The Anniversary Issue (1998)

No. 26 Fantasy (1998)

No. 28  The Bible (1999)

No. 29 Women (1999)

No. 30 The Game (USA edition) (2000)

No. 32 Where? (Hermès collaboration) (2000)

No. 33 Touch (2000)

No. 34 Paris (Guest editor Hedi Slimane) (2001)

No. 35 Man (2001)

No. 36 Power (2001)

No. 37 Vreeland Memos (2002)

No. 38 Love (Tiffany & Co.) (2002)

No. 39 Play (2002)

No. 40 Roses (2003)