The letter is 40 pages long and contains more than 13,000 words. It was Kerouac's inspiration for a style of writing he invented called “spontaneous prose.” Image: Christie'sAnyone familiar with the 1950s-era Beat Generation will instantly recognize the names Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady. The former was the author of the movement's seminal book, On the Road, and the latter was his best friend, as well as the inspiration for a style of writing that Kerouac called “spontaneous prose.” Now, a letter written by Cassady to Kerouac in 1950 – a 40-page, 13,000-word effort, penned during a three-day Benzedrine high – has only recently surfaced and will be folded into Christie's Books & Manuscripts Sale on June 16th in New York City.
It is dubbed the “Joan Anderson Letter” because, in it, Cassady talks about his frenetic love life in 1946, particularly with Ms. Anderson, who he visited in a hospital after a failed suicide attempt. The letter's uninhibited, non-literary narrative had the free, honest style to which Kerouac aspired. It was at once compelling, unaffected and discursive – written all in the first person, fast, mad, confessional, completely serious and all detailed. Kerouac once called the letter in an interview “the greatest piece of writing I ever saw” and he even referenced it in On the Road.
Medieval painting was cut from a manuscript
I love looking at anything from medieval times. The fact that an artwork or object survived all that history intact is astounding enough in itself. Then you run across the occasional piece that has that wow factor and your jaw just drops. Like the painting you're looking at here. Done in watercolor and gouache in the 15th century by an unknown artist (and even in an unknown country), the work has been given the generic title The Ascension by the Massachusetts auction house offering it: John McInnis Auctioneers. It's lot #247 in their May 28-30 auction.
What's amazing about this 10 inch by 10 ¼ inch painting – other than its sheer brilliance – is the fact that it was actually cut out of a large-size manuscript and then stuck in a frame (this frame is later, by the way; McInnis guesses it's from around 1900). The circular sweep that surrounds Christ and the other figures is actually a big letter “C,” the first letter of whatever text followed. Oh, and did I mention that the painting was found in the attic of the consignor, who is the grandson of James Howard Bridge, the first curator of the Frick Museum? That's some provenance, and some painting!
The incredible sci-fi art of Mr. Chesley Bonestell
Chesley Bonestell (Am., 1888-1986) was an early pioneer of astronomical and sci-fi art whose illustrations and paintings were so influential he actually helped inspire the American space program. He was awarded a medal by the British Interplanetary Society and has a place in the International Space Hall of Fame and the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. A crater on Mars was named after him, as was an asteroid (the asteroid 3129 Bonestell), and his paintings are highly prized by collectors and institutions alike. Among his admirers was the German rocket scientist Dr. Wernher von Braun.
In September of last year, a collection of nine original oil on board paintings by Bonestell sold for a combined $135,000 through Philip Weiss Auctions in Lynbrook, New York. Now, a newly discovered archive of his works will be auctioned for the first time when it comes up for bid Wednesday, June 15th, also at Philip Weiss Auctions, beginning at 10 am Eastern time. Bidder interest is expected to be keen. Bonestell's works have earned him the nickname the “Father of Modern Space Art.” His classic work Titan has been called “the painting that launched a thousand careers.”
1492 decree from Isabella and Ferdinand to be sold June 15th
Imagine owning a decree written and signed by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain in 1492, penned at the exact time Columbus was on his voyage to discover the New World. You can, if you're the winning bidder on that very item in Lion Heart Autographs' next auction, on Wednesday, June 15th, online and in their New York City offices. The decree was written and signed by the Spanish monarchs, warning of punishment for adulterous behavior. It is the only known document signed by the couple that dates to 1492.
Also in the sale is an Albert Einstein autograph manuscript, regarding a variant of the principal formula for his Theory of Relativity, and his first published paper after receiving the Nobel Prize; an original cloth section from the fuselage of the Spirit of St. Louis airplane, signed by Charles Lindbergh while still in Paris, just days after his trans-Atlantic solo flight; a customs card issued to a survivor of the Titanic aboard the rescuing ship the Carpathia; and a large portrait inscribed by the noted Italian opera composer Giuseppe Verdi, to his publisher Giulio Ricordi.
Prince's Yellow Cloud guitar will be auctioned June 24-25
The late recording artist Prince's personally-owned and played Yellow Cloud electric guitar will be sold June 24-25 as part of Heritage Auction's Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction in Beverly Hills, Calif. It will have an opening bid of $30,000. The solid-body guitar was made to order, in the shape and style that Prince made famous. It carries the hallmarks of his iconic “Love Symbol” adopted as his name during a much-publicized contract dispute with Warner Brothers in the early '90s. It was also Prince's guitar and choice for concerts and recordings from the late '80s to the mid-'90s.
Prince loved the guitar so much that when the neck broke during a performance taping for French TV in 1994, he turned it over to his guitar guru, Zeke Clark, to repair rather than replace it. Also in the same auction will be an early reel-to-reel demo tape made between 1976 or 1977, before Prince even had a contract. The tape, in a box with a track list and the star's name written by him in black felt pen, contains three songs: Just As Long As We're Together, My Love is Forever and Jelly Jam. Also sold will be record sales awards for Purple Rain and 1999, and a video sales award for Purple Rain.