Jun 21, 2016 - Sale 2420

Sale 2420 - Lot 221

Price Realized: $ 5,250
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
(MUSIC.) Large family archive of pianist and composer Leopold Godowsky. Thousands of items in 10 boxes (9.5 linear feet); varied condition, and largely unsorted. Should be seen. Vp, circa 1888-1970

Additional Details

Leopold Godowsky (1870-1938) was one of the leading pianists of his era, and a significant composer as well. Born to a Jewish family in what is now Lithuania, he began performing at age nine. Touring across the globe, he lived intermittently in the United States from 1884 onward, and then became a permanent resident in 1914, mostly in New York. A stroke in 1930 ended his performing career. His children included actress Dagmar Godowsky; Kodachrome inventor Leopold Godowsky Jr., who married into the Gershwin family; and Vanita, who married pianist David Saperton (1889-1970).
The collection contains four boxes of Godowsky's personal papers. Among his noteworthy correspondents represented here are are American astronomer Russian composer Alexander Glasunow (1865-1936), American composer Rubin Goldmark (1872-1936), English composer Percy B. Kahn (1880-1966), French pianist Isador Philipp (1863-1958) (eleven letters), Ukrainian-born pianist Leff Pouishnoff (1891-1959), German composer Julius Rontgen (1855-1932) with a musical quotation, and Russian pianist Isabelle Vengerova (1877-1956). The hundreds of photographs (professional and family) include a shot of Goldowsky with Albert Einstein. Also included are his manuscript introduction to his experimental Java Suite, [1925]; hundreds of his concert programs and promotional pieces; and 8 books inscribed to Godowsky by the authors. Two oil portraits are included, one done when he was a young man in Paris in 1888, and a full-scale portrait done in 1924 by J. Campbell Phillips. What appears to be a death mask of Godowsky is also included.
Godowsky's son-in-law David Saperton, also a well-regarded pianist, is represented by 5 boxes of papers, including a Letter Signed from Leonard Bernstein, 16 December 1957; reviews and correspondence relating to Saperton's recordings of Goldowsky pieces; extensive manuscript notes relating to his teaching career; manuscript compositions; and a tape reel of an original recording by Saperton. A rough inventory of this wide-ranging musical archive is available upon request.