Lot 624: Scarce ALS in pencil, two pages both sides, lightly-lined, 5.25 x 7.5, October 10, 1946. Letter to Alexander Dorner, former curator of the Lower Saxony State Museum and head of the Kestner Society, in part: "1936. Helma traveled between Oslo and Hanover and went the last time 1939 back to Hanover. Then she was not allowed to go to Norway again, when war started. 1940. Ernst and I had to flee again to England. We lived merely in London. I had no connection with Helma…I had a one man show in Modern Art Gallery in London 1944. I painted all the time and did very nice small sculptures. On the exhibition came a telegram. Helma had died. Of cancer. I did not even know that she was ill. Later I heard, that all my property in Hanover has been bombed. My Merzbau is a heap of ruins. But the Museum of Modern Art, Director Sweeney, will help me to reconstruct it. I shall perhaps in March get permission to go to Hanover, I need a permit…In 25.3.47–18.5.47 shall be an exhibition collages In the Mus. of Modern Art NY. They will exhibit many of my collages…Now I would like to exhibit in USA soon also my very good oil pictures and sculptures. Where? Can you help me?" In fine condition, with a rough top edge.Living in Hanover, Germany, through the first World War, Kurt Schwitters reinvented his artistic style into what he dubbed Merz, most frequently taking the shape of abstract collages made from fragments of found objects—an attempt at making aesthetic sense of the chaotic world around him while interjecting witty commentary on current events. After gaining widespread fame in 1919 from his exhibition at Der Sturm, he began to create his first Merzbau, a transformed interior space within his family house in Hanover. He had completed one room and just begun to expand, when he was forced to flee, having become a target of the Nazi party for his 'Degenerate Art.' Remaining in exile with his son Ernst, first in Norway, then in London, it was not until 1944 that he learned of his double loss: the death of his wife Helma, and the destruction of his beloved Merzbau in Hanover during an Allied bombing raid. Despite having suffered two strokes, Schwitters continued his artistic pursuits without pause; learning that he would be receiving a 1000-pound fellowship from MoMA in New York, he set to work on his newest space, the Merzbarn in Elterwater, at the start of 1947; he would continue until his death in January. An excellent account of the years of chaos from an immeasurably influential artist who, despite constant wartime struggle and interference, never stopped creating new work, always sought out by the world's finest museums and galleries.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 456
Wednesday, 15th July 2015
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