Sotheby's Books & Manuscripts sale to star Apollinaire letters


Sotheby's Books and Manuscripts auction, which is to be held in Paris today (May 15), will star letters from French poet Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918). 

Letters from Apollinaire to patron André Level
Letters from Apollinaire to patron André Level

The letters chart the course of Apollinaire's military career, through his correspondence with André Level, the poet's patron and parrain de guerre. The letters span the course of Apollinaire's service in the first world war, up to the point where he famously suffered a shrapnel wound to the temple.

It was following this wounding that Apollinaire would coin the word "surrealism", to describe his work Les Mermelles de Tirésias, which was written during his recovery. The letters will go to auction with an estimate of €150,000-200,000 ($195,000-325,000), the highest in the sale. 

The poet's correspondence will be joined at auction by a superb edition of Case D'Armons, one of just 25 copies which Apollinaire personally printed in dedication to the gunners in his battery. The work contains 21 poems, written by the poet in 1915.

Of the 25 printed only 20 exist today, prompting an estimate of €100,000-150,000 ($130,000-195,000).

Also featuring in the sale will be a collection of autographed letters from Salvador Dali and his wife Gala. The handwritten letters include details of a ballet project with the dancer Léonid Massine. Featuring superb drawings by both Salvador and Gala, the letters provide an exciting opportunity for collectors at €30,000-40,000 ($38,000-64,000).

Dali collectors will want to view the current sale at PFC Auctions, which features an original drawing of Gala by the artist.

Paul Fraser Collectibles will be bringing you all the results from this sale, so be sure to check back soon.  

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