Gauguin's angry letter brings $31k at Bonhams


2015-06-26 11:42:17


Gauguin's angry letter brings $31k at Bonhams

The artist proves that sometimes an ill-tempered rant is all you need to attract bidders

The Bonham's Fine Books and Manuscripts sale over the weekend offered an impressive range of autographs, books and memorabilia.

A highlight of the auction wasan amusing letter written by F Scott Fitzgerald to his friend William Judd which more than doubled its estimate, selling for $19,520.

In it,the Great Gatsby authorrefers to his friend as a "Parisien, Critic, Playrite, Bibliophile, Drunkard, and Good Egg." The warmthof Fitzgerald'swords propelled it far clear of its $7,000 estimate.

Other successful lots included a 1923 handwritten letter from Sigmund Freud, which sold for $5,795, anda photograph of AlbertEinstein, for $1,952. Eachvirtually achievedits top estimate.

Elsewhere, Einstein's typed letter to Dr Ford was picked up for the relative bargain of $2,440.

A signed print ofPicasso sold for $4,575, under its $8,000 listing. Nevertheless, the autograph will undoubtedly appreciate in value for its lucky buyerin future years.

Insurfing books and memorabilia, Thomas Blake's Hawaiian Surfboard- the first definitive book on Hawaii's favourite sport - sold within its estimate range at $3,965.

Among the biggest draws in the autographs was an angry and insightful four-page letter by the painter Gauguin, in which hecomplains of critics and marriage woes. It easily beat its estimate of $20,000-25,000, selling for $31,720.

Surprinsingly,a letter by Moby Dick author Herman Melville failed to sell. The 60,000-80,000asking pricewas perhaps a little high for Melville's letter to a publisher, which contained none of the personal revelations found in the Gauguin rant.

Also in autographs,a set of photos and asignatureby Christopher Robin Milne clearly drew nostalgia in some bidders. It more than tripled its lower estimate of $3,000,eventually bringing $10,980.

Overall, the Fine Books and Manuscripts auction was an intriguing sale, and demonstrated thatthe truly personal pieces canattract strong bidding.

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