Fine long autograph letter signed "Martha" to American fashion designer Vera [Maxwell]. Martha GRAHAM.
Fine long autograph letter signed "Martha" to American fashion designer Vera [Maxwell]

Fine long autograph letter signed "Martha" to American fashion designer Vera [Maxwell]

6 pp. Large octavo. Dated November 11, 1964. In dark blue ink. On letterhead with address in 20 Dubnov Street, Tel Aviv printed in brown ink in Hebrew to upper and in English to lower margin.

A warm and personal letter with interesting association, reflecting not only on Graham's wardrobe and style but also on her current activities including advising, coaching, costuming, make-up, etc.

"The dresses are so lovely. I kept the fabulous linen ... These dresses are exactly what I needed ...

... I wish I could have seen your showings. I was engulfed at the time in a labyrinth of an idea and I felt almost about to lose my thread to show me the way out. I am not sure I am not still in that twilight interior Gide describes in his "Theseus" with its secret intoxications of color and sound and scent and the high pitched vibration of approaching events. I suppose I hate to leave it as we all do - that secret, lonely, miserable time. But I have to kick myself out of it pretty soon.

I hope the beautiful clothes you sent me to wear at Lincoln Center are safe & on view in a museum. There [has] never been such a cape ... as you sent. I ... showed it to all the company and knew it was too powerful for me to wear that night, much as I longed to. It was a wonderful, hellish experience, in contemplation before, and I was terribly afraid of the title of the evening, the vastness of the hall, and of myself. You were wonderful to have thought I could have worn any of these lovely things. It is a gesture of faith from you that I treasure.

I am at work here in a new area, advising, coaching, supervising costumes, make-up ... Of course there is the baffling subject of "style" because to most who are new and some not so new it is confused with "stylish"...

... Craig has been so wonderful. I thought he looked glorious when he returned from Corfu... I have asked Craig to speak to you but he says I must do it ... I would so like to pay for two dresses. Please understand, Vera, as I know you will. It is such a privilege to wear any of your things which have an eternal... beauty about them. My love always...

... This is Bethsabee's paper as you know ..."

Slightly worn; creased at folds; small staple holes to upper left corner; Graham's name added in another hand in turquoise ink to lower margin of final page.

Not surprisingly, Graham had a somewhat idiosyncratic writing style; the text at the end of page 2 does not seem to flow naturally into page 3 and the letter may thus be lacking a leaf.

Written at a difficult time in Graham's career, just months after the passing of her oldest friend and musical collaborator, Louis Horst.

Martha Graham is recognized as a primal artistic force of the 20th century, alongside Picasso, James Joyce, Stravinsky, and Frank Lloyd Wright. TIME magazine named [her] “Dancer of the Century,” and People magazine named her among the female “Icons of the Century.” As a choreographer, she was as prolific as she was complex. Graham created 181 ballets and a dance technique that has been compared to ballet in its scope and magnitude. Her approach to dance and theater revolutionized the art form and her innovative physical vocabulary has irrevocably influenced dance worldwide."

Martha Graham’s extraordinary artistic legacy has often been compared to Stanislavsky’s Art Theatre in Moscow and the Grand Kabuki Theatre of Japan, for its diversity and breadth. Her legacy is perpetuated in performance by the Martha Graham Dance Company and Graham 2, and by the students of the Martha Graham School.

Maxwell (1901-1995) designed for Martha Graham as well as other notable individuals including Lillian Gish, Rosalynn Carter, and Pat Nixon.

"Craig" is possibly a reference to the English actor, director, and scenic designer Edward Gordon Craig (1872-1966).

"In 1964, Baroness Bethsabee de Rothschild founded the Batsheva Dance Company, which has become the flagship of Israeli dance. Establishment of the troupe marked the beginning of the influence of American modern dance in Israel and contributed to the professional level of dance there. From the middle 1960s until the early 1970s, the troupe drew heavily on the techniques of Martha Graham, who was also its artistic adviser. The company's repertoire included seven important works by Graham: Errand into the Maze; Diversion of Angels; Embattled Garden; Dark Meadow; Herodiade; Cave of the Heart; and the Learning Process. In 1974, Graham created Jacob's Dream especially for Batsheva." Jewish Virtual Library website

Graham's autograph letters are quite rare to the market.

Item #31972

Price: $575.00  other currencies

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