Lot 128: Stravinsky Takes "The Necessary Steps with the Swiss Bank Corp. in New York"
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 have taken the necessary steps with the Swiss Bank Corporation in New York” ********** STRAVINSKY, IGOR. (1882-1971). Russian-born, American composer; creator of The Rite of Spring, Petroushka, The Firebird, and many other 20th-century masterpieces. TLS. (“Igor Strawinsky”). 1p. 8vo. Hollywood, August 28, 1943. On his Hollywood stationery. To WALTER DE BOURG (1888-1977), a Swiss diplomat, who served in the Munich, Vienna and Dublin consulates. In French with translation. ********** “I had just mailed my letter when I received a cable from my son in Geneva concerning precisely the question I raised in point 4 of my letter to you. Here is the exact wording of the cable: UNBLOCKING OF DOLLARS GRANTED PLEASE SEND DOLLARS QUICKLY … that is instead of the Free Swiss Francs that I was to send him. Would it be too much to ask you to let him know that I have taken the necessary steps with the Swiss Bank Corporation in New York to fulfill his request? As you well know, it is impossible at this point to send a cable on this sort of topic, despite the fact that I would be acting legally, having the right kind of license for these kinds of transactions. You would be doing me a great favor if you could reassure him. I thank you in advance and apologize for bothering you again. With my deepest respect and gratitude…”********** Prior to World War I, Igor Stravinsky, his wife Catherine and their growing family routinely spent their summers in Russia and winters in Switzerland, where Catherine was treated for tuberculosis and the couple’s third and fourth children were born. The war and the subsequent Russian Revolution barred their reentry into Russia and made them year-round residents of Switzerland from 1915 to 1920, after which Igor relocated to Paris. ********** Stravinsky’s eldest son, Theodore Stravinsky (1907-1989), a student of Georges Braque and André Derain, earned a reputation as a visual artist. His glass mosaics and windows decorate Christ the King Church in Fribourg and Sacre Coeur in Geneva. He also, on several occasions, designed sets for his father’s works, including a Zurich production of Petrouschka during World War II, and authored books about life with the famous composer and his family including Catherine Strawinsky, Album de Famille. He moved to Geneva permanently in 1942. Stravinsky immigrated to the United States in 1939, eventually settling in Hollywood, whence he wrote our letter. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1945. ********** Accompanied by an ALS from Theodore Stravinsky (“Th. Strawinsky”), presumably to De Bourg, in which he expresses his gratitude for a letter that included a message from his father, from whom he had not had a letter for a year, only an occasional telegram. He accepts the offer to include a letter to his father who must be very worried about the health of the sister who is seriously ill, most likely Stravinsky’s youngest child Marie Milène Stravinsky (1914-2013). He states that regular letters take two to three months, if they reach their destination at all, and he wants to reassure his father and give him the latest about the widely dispersed family. He offers to pay for any expenses the addressee incurs. ********** The elder Stravinsky’s letter is folded with a few faint paperclip impressions in the upper left corner and normal wear. In excellent condition.