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    Manuscript Draft of D.H. Lawrence's Controversial Article
    Pictures on the Wall

    D.H. Lawrence. Holograph Manuscript of Pictures on the Wall. [n.d., circa 1929]. Eight and a half pages handwritten by D.H. Lawrence with additional holograph corrections, re-writes, and textual insertions in different color inks. A fascinating look into the creative process of one of the twentieth-century's greatest and most controversial British authors.
    Five sheets of paper taken from a spiral bound notebook, approximately 8 x 10 inches each, written on both sides, and folded once both horizontally and vertically.
    Rough edges from pulled spiral binder holes along the inner margins, fold and edge wear, very minor fold separations, minor ink smudges on first and last pages, staple holes in the upper left corners, else in very good condition. Pages attached in the upper left corner with a gold color clip, and housed in a "The 'Empire' Portfolio" folder with Lawrence's Phoenix device and title in an unknown hand on the front cover.
    First published in the December 1929 issue of Vanity Fair, under its alternate title "Dead Pictures on the Wall," this controversial article by D.H. Lawrence discusses the life cycle of paintings. Lawrence writes that in the beginning of a painting's life it is enjoyed by the viewer emotionally and aesthetically. And when that person's feelings change, which he argues they always do (whether it be in a half-hour or a hundred years), the painting no longer evokes the previous emotion and is therefore no longer truly alive. Consequently it should be thrown out and burnt, like one would with a dead flower. As an alternative to burning works of art, he later suggests the establishment of a "pictuary," a circulating library of paintings.

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    "Never leave stale flowers in a vase. Throw them away! - so it should be taught: Never leave stale pictures on the wall. Burn them!"


    Most parts of the text, when modified, are crossed out with a single thin line, and are still legible beneath, allowing one to see Lawrence's first draft choices. A wonderful example is on manuscript page 7, where Lawrence explains people's attitudes towards books. There is a crossed out corollary for paintings, which does not appear in the published version: "The same with a picture, if I say: 'I think Andrew Dasburg's landscapes are lovely,' then the answer will be, 'Yes, I own one' or 'I haven't seen them: - or - 'I know them in reproduction.' Whereas the answer should be: 'Yes, I had the flowering almond trees with me for six months, and loved it all the time.'"


    This remarkable manuscript in the hand of D.H. Lawrence was purchased by Johnie Griffin, most likely in the early 1950s, from Lawrence's widow Frieda. Included with this lot, by way of provenance and as a testament to their close friendship, are photocopies of three holograph letters from Frieda Lawrence to Johnie Griffin from the mid-1950s.  The letters mention mutual friends, such as Aldous Huxley, Mabel Dodge Lujan, and Alexandra Fechin (Tinka).


    Also present is a photocopy of a typed five paged transcript, which includes a letter from Frieda to her mother; as well as, ruminations on DH Lawrence after his passing. She makes a striking observation, that, when in Buenos Aires, years after DH Lawrence's death, she saw his books for sale in a shop window. She wrote: "'Here,' I thought, 'Where he has never been, people buy his books.' One thin, narrow man has such power all over the world." 

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    8th-9th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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