Picasso Postcard a Record at Swann Galleries

NEW YORK—The top lot at Swann Galleries’ November 29 auction of Autographs was a postcard from Pablo Picasso to conductor Henri Defossé sending New Year’s greetings from Paris in December 1919. The card, signed “Olga et Picasso,” included a small ink drawings of a holiday feast set out on a table, and sold for $27,600—more than any other postcard from the artist at auction.

Coincidentally, the sale also featured another handwritten postcard from an artist, this one from Egon Schiele to painter friend Anton Peschka in German, 30 October 1916, $11,400. Material from other artists in the sale included an Autograph Letter Signed by Thomas Eakins, criticizing newspaper coverage of a boxing match, circa September 1898, $7,200; a Norman Rockwell graphite drawing and ALS to Ken Stuart, art director for the Saturday Evening Post, circa 1957, $6,480 and a Typed Letter Signed, in French, from Wassily Kandinsky, 27 October 1936, $6,000.
picasso-postcard.jpgThe sale offered a very strong selection of Americana, which included much desirable 19th-century presidential material, such as an Autograph Letter Signed by Zachary Taylor, as President, to Secretary of the Interior Thomas Ewing, making an introduction, Washington, 27 November 1849, $18,000; a James Madison ALS as President to the Secretary of the Navy, giving negotiation instructions during the Second Barbary War, Washington, 22 August 1816, $16,800; and a William Henry Harrison ALS as President-Elect, ordering a suit for his inauguration,  January 1841, $12,000.

Earlier presidents were represented by George Washington, with an Autograph Letter Signed as President to Miles Merwin, Philadelphia, 16 June 1793, $9,600 and a John Adams ALS as President to Mississippi Territory Governor Winthrop Sargent, congratulating him on his marriage, 7 April 1799, $6,960.
Among Revolutionary items was an Autograph Letter Signed by George Clinton, to his brother James, detailing the arrival of British troops at Kingston,  17 October 1777, $6,240.
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Autographs from writers of note included François Marie Arouet de Voltaire, Autograph Letter Signed to a Mr. Rolt, 20 February 1754, $12,000; Mark Twain, Autograph Quotation Signed, with lines from his Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson, January 1906, $12,000; and a Walt Whitman ALS to a publisher, concerning the inclusion of a poem in Leaves of Grass, $9,000.

Rounding out sale highlights were an Autograph Manuscript draft of John J. Audubon’s The Ohio, an episode from his Ornithological Biography, circa 1830, $15,600; three letters signed by Chaim Weizmann, as President of the World Zionist Organization, to Rabbi Solomon Goldman, 1939, $11,400; two Typed Letters Signed by Albert Einstein to explorer Mark E. Ridge, discussing stratospheric flight, 1935, $9,000; and a group of 54 checks signed by Joseph Pulitzer, as President of the Dispatch Publishing Company, 1880-89, $6,720.

For complete results, an illustrated catalogue, with prices realized on request, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at www.swanngalleries.com.

For further information, and to propose consignments to upcoming Autographs auctions, please contact Marco Tomaschett at (212) 254-4710, extension 12, or via email at mtomaschett@swanngalleries.com.

*All prices include buyer’s premium.
Auction Guide