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Lot 55: Fine George Gershwin Typed Letter Signed Announcing His Return from Mexico
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
October 26, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: “I just got back from Mexico” ********** GERSHWIN, GEORGE. (1898-1937). America’s most famous composer. TLS. (“George G.”). 1p. 4to. New York, January 2, 1936. Written on his personal 132 East 72nd Street stationery to Pittsburgh businessman and philanthropist RICHARD S. RAUH (1893-1954), co-founder of the Pittsburgh Symphony Society. ********** “I just got back from Mexico which accounts for the lateness of this reply. I am extremely sorry that I cannot be at the Metropolitan Opera House in Philadelphia on the 26th as I will be out of town working at that time. With all good wishes to you and Mrs. Rauh…”********** Gershwin began his career in 1914 as a song plugger in New York City. Following the publication of his first song, “When you want ‘em, you don’t get ‘em, when you got ‘em, you don’t want ‘em,” he captured Broadway’s heart with “Swanee” in 1918 and began a sensational show career that lasted until his untimely death at age 38. In collaboration with his older brother Ira, he produced such hits as Lady, Be Good!, Funny Face, Girl Crazy, and Of Thee I Sing, with their greatest achievement being Porgy and Bess, based on Dubose and Dorothy Heyward’s best-selling novel and play Porgy. ********** At the end of 1935, Gershwin took an unconventional month-long trip to Mexico in the company of his psychoanalyst and three other patients. “He went hoping for musical inspiration. He was exhausted by the mixed response and controversy surrounding the premiere of his landmark opera “Porgy and Bess…” [However,] Gershwin returned from this trip musically uninspired and disappointed not to have made any discoveries of intriguing indigenous music,” (“In a Painting, Gershwin Packed the House,” The New York Times, Weber). It was on this trip, however, that his interest in art collecting and painting increased and where he became friendly with Mexican painter David Siqueiros, who later executed his famous Portrait of George Gershwin in a Concert Hall. Among friends and family portrayed in this portrait is Dr. Gregory Zilboorg, the psychiatrist with whom Gershwin traveled to Mexico. ********** Rauh was the son of German-Jewish immigrants and a successful advertising professional and philanthropist who devoted himself to Jewish causes and the performing arts. He co-founded the Pittsburgh Symphony Society and was the husband of popular Pittsburgh actress Helen Wayne (1912-1993) with whom he helped restructure the Pittsburgh Playhouse. ********** Folded with some light surface wear. The bottom of the pages has been neatly trimmed. In very good condition.