Illustrated letters go on sale at Sotheby'stags: auctions, Sotheby's, Manet, Matisse, van Gogh
On a hot Provencal day in July 1890, Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo – blocking out, as he often did, space for a drawing. In it a black cat stealthily circles a dead painter’s garden. The portentous ink was set: four days later van Gogh had shot himself. Now a collection of papers, for sale at Sotheby’s in New York on Wednesday 8 May, shows that many of the artist’s contemporaries shared his epistolary flair.
Letters by Manet, Picasso, Renoir, Signac, Matisse, Chagall and Gauguin are composed not only of the articulated preoccupations of the artist (Picasso and Renoir are fixated on culinary pursuits) but also their visual riffs. Snapshot compositions sketched on the fly and odd motifs punctuate these sheets.
The letters date from 1880, with Manet in genial mood, to 1950 as Matisse settles into the snug embers of his sunset years. The form is played into a wonderful hybrid: part picture, part message. In pencil and pen, crayon and watercolour, major and minor moments are captured. Manet adds a snail to a shopping list; a weary Paul Gauguin heads a letter to the owner of his 1894 Tahitian oil, Day of the God, with a cartoon of the work. He includes an apology. “Excuse the barbarism of this little picture. Certain dispositions of my spirit are probably the cause.”...
comments powered by Disqus
- Senate has a secret book of rules
- How the Vikings Saved Europe and Got a Terrible Reputation
- Hard Hats On: Members of the Media Tour Exhibits under Construction at the National Museum of American History
- Shaman dancers, coolies and suffragettes: rare photos of 1900s Beijing discovered from Austrian archive
- England's King Richard III died painfully on battlefield
- Pro-Israel groups going after federal support of Middle East Studies
- 100th Anniversary of Beard's 'An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution' commemorated
- University of Illinois Bigwig to Native American Studies scholar Jean O’Brien: Drop Dead
- 2 of 21 MacArthur Fellows for 2014 are historians
- Ken Burns electrifies Jon Stewart show