Marc Chagall’s WWII-era letters going to auction in September
Marc Chagall left us in ’85. His handiwork lives on — even in correspondence.
On Sept. 19, Guernsey Auction House is putting up 12 of his private, not-before-seen, pen and ink letters. Written in French.
1941. Wartime. Nazi-occupied France. Russian Jew Chagall lived in Paris. His life in jeopardy, his avant-garde work another hatred of those commanding the Occupation. High on their hit list, desperate to get out, his letters reached the Joint Distribution Committee, which dealt with USA immigration.
Chagall and his wife, no place to live upon arrival in NYC, spoke no English. His contact was the Museum of Modern Art. MoMA became their address.
One letter from New York speaks of family back home “having such a very, very hard time … forgive us please, our hearts ache thinking of the others … we have such terrible news … we are advised there’s possibility to come to New York on another boat … is it possible to make life somewhat easier for them … can you get them passes … I am troubling you … courage to write you is to ask for help if possible.”
This auction coincides with the Jewish High Holidays and coming of Rosh Hashanah and will — a first-ever — be held in the 62nd Street synagogue between Madison and Fifth.
Guernsey’s president Arlan Ettinger allowed me to handle the letters, which are stored in an air-conditioned vault. The paper remains durable. Ink, clear. Language, French. The collection includes a book with Chagall’s signed self-portrait. The sale is estimated to bring $25,000.
One more thing. Twenty years ago Princess Diana‘s cherished South Sea pearl and diamond necklace, crafted by Britain’s crown jeweler, paid for by then-lover Dodi Fayed, was immortalized by cameras when HRH unveiled it at Royal Albert Hall’s opening of “Swan Lake.”
Soon again it’s for auction. It comes with the crown jeweler’s documents and GIA certificates. Estimate? Says Ettinger: “Seven figures. About $10 million.”
It’s back to the ‘Matrix’ again
Warner’s “The Matrix,” begun as a 1999 sci-fi try, relives. Back again. Third sequel. Keanu Reeves once more rushing around liberating humans in some simulated reality called the Matrix. Producers are pushing to shoot scenes here. Unlike 20 years ago, the green screen can now insert any city skyline into any futuristic battle between any man and any machine. Still, they’re looking to film in New York. Worst comes to real worst, Chicago. Listen, everything old is returning. Soon the Dumbocrats will dump socialist Warren, Bonky Sanders, VP Joe Burden, Baby Bootleg, Kirsten Killherbrand and just put up Honey Boo Boo for president.
Nice, rich guy
David Koch lived nice. In ’85, he paid Sotheby’s $4.2 million for a Modigliani. Unloaded $2,700 for a deli snack at Hotel du Cap in France. Donated $100,000 for an audience with Jordan’s Queen Rania. Did a party celebrating whomever’s the Duchess of Marlborough. Was at Ivana’s second wedding.
For a lifetime, Jackie O and I lived one house away. When she passed on, he bought her Fifth Avenue apartment. Rich, rich David then complained she was chintzy. Her 15-room apartment had old-time junky wiring, and he told me that just to redo her antique hang-out-the-window air conditioner system cost him $3 million.
David Koch. One of Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People.
At the 2nd Ave. Deli, talking through an egg-salad sandwich — on white bread yet — this guy said: “My friend’s wife bought him a primer on sex. The problem was it started without him.”
Only in New York, kids, only in New York.
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