Signed Documents from David Schulson Autographs
Autographs from David Schulson.
By Michael Stillman
David Schulson Autographs recently released Catalog 141 of autographs and signed documents by important figures of the past couple of centuries. These are all names you will recognize, or if not the name, the individual's role in culture or history. Each item is an opportunity to touch the life of someone who left a mark on this world. Here are some of these autographed items.
Item 12 is a most significant letter from impressionist artist Paul Cezanne. The previously obscure Cezanne's career got a boost when a couple of his paintings brought good prices at an auction on March 19, 1894. However, he was still not that well known when critic Gustave Geffroy wrote a very positive review of his work shortly after the sale. Cezanne was very grateful, and on March 26, he penned this letter (in French) to Geffroy. Writes Cezanne, "I read yesterday the long treatise that you devoted to bringing to light the endeavors I have made in painting. I wanted to express to you my gratitude for the sympathetic understanding I found in you..." Cezanne finally met Geffroy late that year, and in the following year wrote the critic that he would like to draw his portrait. Geffroy sat for the portrait regularly for many months, but Cezanne abruptly stopped the project and, despite Geffroy's urgings, never quite finished it. It is unclear whether something Geffroy said, perhaps his liberal political or religious views, offended the sensitive Cezanne, or whether it was simply a case of artist's block. This letter is priced at $17,500.
Guillaume Apollinaire and Pablo Picasso were good friends in the early 20th century. Apollinaire was a French poet who created the term "surrealism" to describe his work. Picasso, the artist, needs no introduction. Picasso drew inspiration from the poet's work for his own artistic endeavors. Item 1 is an undated Apollinaire letter to an unnamed recipient, dealing with the publication of an image of one of Picasso's paintings. Apollinaire notes that Picasso has diverse styles from which to choose, and writes, "In any case I shall ask Picasso to indicate which drawing he would like to see published." $2,850.
Item 16 is a 1914 letter from Marie Curie to her daughter's tutor. Curie, along with her husband Pierre, was a pioneer in discovering radioactivity, research for which she won two Nobel Prizes. This letter is interesting because Curie also notes (in French), "Mr. Langevin certainly appreciates your efforts in that matter. By helping him in his difficult life you made sure he could pursue his work regularly and brought him some peace." Pierre died in accident in 1905, and six years later, his widow took up an affair with Langevin. It was a major scandal, used against this French naturalized but Polish born scientist in her not always welcoming adopted homeland. Langevin, a former student of Pierre, was an unhappily married father of four at the time of the affair. $12,500.
Signed Documents from David Schulson Autographs
Six cartoons and Cezanne's portrait of Geffroy.
Item 28 is a love letter from blues singer Janis Joplin to her boyfriend Peter De Blanc dated August 1, 1965. Joplin had recently returned from a drug heavy lifestyle in San Francisco to her parents' home in Texas, where she was attending college and trying to go straight. De Blanc was a techie from New York who worked preparing sound stages and the like. Joplin expresses her fears of losing him, fears not unfounded as the planned marriage fell through later that year and Joplin returned to San Francisco, for her meteoric rise and fall. In her letter, Joplin describes a dream where De Blanc comes to her door with another woman. At one point, she says her mother wants her to return to school for the fall, but, "...if we're going to be married in December, I couldn't finish." It's an interesting mention of marriage in a letter filled with Joplin's fears that De Blanc is going to leave her. Those who would be interested in this letter undoubtedly know what became of Joplin in the remaining five years before her death of an overdose in 1970. De Blanc went on to do more techie things and spent much of his life providing internet access in the Virgin Islands before dying of cancer in 2002. $3,250.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, item 10 is worth 6,000. It contains six autographed drawings from famous cartoonists: Bob Kane's Batman, Charles Schultz' Snoopy, Bill Hanna's Fred Flintstone, Art Clokey's Gumby, Walter Lantz' Woody Woodpecker, and I'm not sure who from Looney Tunes artist Fritz Freleng, best known for Bugs Bunny. Click the thumbnail image above. $2,000.
You may reach David Schulson Autographs at 973-379-3800 or email@example.com. Their website is www.schulsonautographs.com.
You will find many of David Schulson's autographs listed in "Books For Sale" on this site. Click here.