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Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts and Continental and Russian Books

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Delvaux, Paul
AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED ("PAUL"), ADDRESSED TO "ALEX" [PROBABLY THE COLLECTOR ALEX SALKIN], 1 MAY 1948
in French, apologising for his late response, expressing his regret about the end of their contract for a commission of paintings but understanding his decision given the current circumstances ("...Mais je comprends votre decision, car la situation est actuellement tres mauvaise et les affaires sont a peu pres nulls...") and the bans of US customs, mentioning their mutual friend Claude [Spaak] and a commission for the décor for a ballet by Roland Petit which he had won following his exhibition in Paris

2 pages (273 x 212mm.), including a large drawing in ink of a young lady on verso, Brussels, 1 May 1948


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Literature

Alex Salkin, Modern Painting in Belgium (New York, 1948); Jean Genet, Performance and Politics (Basingstoke and New York, 2006)

Catalogue Note

Alex Salkin, the presumed recipient of the letter, was a Belgian lawyer and art collector who promoted Belgian art upon his emigration to the United States in 1940. In 1948 he published the pamphlet Modern Painting in Belgium in which he called Delvaux "a great visionary" (p. 62), "whose real worth must inevitably find worldwide recognition" (p. 59). Claude Spaak was a leading member of the artistic scene in Brussels and it was through his auspices that Paul Delvaux became acquainted with the predominant artistic trends of the 1920s and 1930s and in particular the Surrealist art of René Magritte which eventually impressed him greatly. Delvaux developed the set design for the ballet Madame Miroir which premiered in May 1948 at the Théâtre Marigny, with choreography by Janine Charrat and Roland Petit in a leading role. "In its first production... the staging and performance... reveals a clear debt to the Parisian ballet tradition, and in particular to the Surrealist ballets developed by Cocteau with Diaghilev and Nijinsky" (Genet, p. 61).

Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts and Continental and Russian Books

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London