Breathtaking matte-finish 5.75 x 7 crystal-clear portrait of Wright in a classic head-and-shoulders pose, signed and inscribed in black ink, “To my true friend Leon Bolles, whose warm sympathy and unfailing help made my success at Le Mans possible, my sincere thanks and best wishes. Wilbur Wright, Le Mans, 18 December ’08.” Affixed to a period 8.25 x 10.5 mount. In fine condition, with trimmed edges and scattered staining to mount.
In order to secure a contract for their Flyer with a private French syndicate, the Wrights had to complete several public demonstration flights to prove that their plane could fly a distance of at least 50 kilometers with a passenger. After a captivating series of 1908 flights in Le Mans, far surpassing the requirements of the French contract, Wilbur was joined by Orville, who had been giving similar demonstrations in the US. This stunning portrait is inscribed to Leon Bolles, a French automaker who accompanied Wright as a passenger at Le Mans during a flight of four minutes and nine seconds on October 5, 1908—newspaper reports emphasized that Bolles weighed in at a hefty 216 pounds, yet the plane remained agile. The following day, Wright broke his own record for longest flight with a passenger, remaining aloft for 1 hour 4 minutes 26 seconds. It was this flight that secured the contract with M. Lazare Weiller’s syndicate, awarding them a whopping $100,000. An extremely rare and absolutely stunning image of Wright with a great association to this important period in his career.
Bidding for the Auction opens Sep 11, 2014 & ends Sep 17, 2014