104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010  | 
(212) 254-4710  |  Mon - Fri, 10AM - 6PM
Follow Us:
  • We are happy to call you during the auction and place bids on your behalf. To arrange phone bidding, please call Swann's bid department during business hours.

    (212) 254-4710 ext. 0
    Mon - Fri 10AM - 6PM


    Or, e-mail a list of lots with the sale number and your contact information to phonebids@swanngalleries.com. Be sure to include a phone number where we can reach you.

    Bids may also be submitted via fax. Send a list of lots with the sale number and your contact information to (212) 979-1017. You will receive a confirmation before the sale.

    Sale 2511 | Lot 91
    Price Realized: $2,340With Buyer's Premium
    Show Hammer Price
    • Click Image To Enlarge

      Additional Images
    • Sale 2511 Lot 91

      "Decor Musical." Design for a neo-Roman installation for the lobby of the Avery Memorial Theater on the occasion of the first annual Hartford Festival, February of 1936; this design is among the earliest set designs by Berman. Ink, watercolor, and gouache on paper. 216x318 mm; 8 1/2x12 1/2 inches. Titled in lower margin "Decor Musical pour Hartford Festival," initialled and dated in lower right. Sketches on verso. Archivally matted; framed.

      Estimate $2,500 - 3,500

      In 1936, A. Everett "Chick" Austin, the revolutionary Director of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, hosted the first annual Hartford Festival. As a celebration of Modernism, the festival exhibited nearly 400 paintings, hosted a Balanchine ballet, and a Stravinsky chorale. At the behest of Austin, Berman designed numerous set for the festival -- this was Berman's very first foray into the world of theater.

      Just a few short years later, Berman's theater designs were featured in the one-man retrospective "The Theater of Eugene Berman" at the Museum of Modern Art with an accompanying monograph by George Amberg, then Curator of the Museum's Department of Theater Arts.
      The monogram begins, "Ten years ago, at the Hartford Festival, Eugene Berman was presented to a limited audience for the first time as a stage designer. Today his theatrical work is known to countless spectators in this country and abroad, and one cannot imagine the American ballet stage without his brilliant contributions. . . . He has established himself as one of the few modern painters who has an authentic professional standing on the stage." -- "The Theater of Eugene Berman," Museum of Modern Art, 1936.

      Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $2,340