Magnificent 2.25 x 3.75 carte-de-visite portrait of the composer in profile, signed vertically on the right side in bold black ink, “Richard Wagner.” This image was captured during an 1877 sitting with Elliott & Fry in London. Affixed to an attractive gold brocade background and presented in an Art Nouveau frame to an overall size of 5.25 x 8. In fine condition. During this period of his life, Wagner was beginning to seriously work on his last completed opera, Parsifal, which he had conceived two decades earlier while contemplating the 13th-century epic poem that tells the story of the Arthurian knight Percival and his quest for the Holy Grail. The opera would premiere at the Bayreuth Festival five years later in 1882, one year before his death. A superlative example of one of the most sought-after musical autographs. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.
Category Archives: Richard Wagner
Important German composer (1813–1883) who single-handedly revolutionized opera and attained status as one of the most influential geniuses in the history of music. Enormous matte-finish 17.5 x 25 photo of an engraved portrait of Wagner, prominently signed and inscribed in German in the lower border in black ink to Carl Bertileni, and dated Tribschen, September 24, 1871. Silvering to dark areas of the image, light scattered surface marks, and some trivial chipping to corners and edges, otherwise fine condition. Tribschen was Wagner’s home in Switzerland from 1866 to 1872, where he finished composing his acclaimed three-act opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Rare in signed photos, this is just the sixth Wagner we have offered—and the previous examples consisted of four cartes-de-visite and one cabinet card. The imposing size and large signature easily make this one of the finest pieces we have encountered from any genre. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.
ALS in German, one page, 5.25 x 8.25, Paris, June 14, 1860. Letter to a patron. In full (translated): “I am today in greatest need of 500 francs. If you could once more grant me this small sum, you would be doing me an enormous favor. Whatever happens, I will give it back to you the day after tomorrow. Would you be so kind as to give the money in an envelope to the bearer of this message?” In very good condition, with central vertical and horizontal folds (vertical fold passing through first letter of signature), scattered foxing, and overall toning from previous display. Wagner wrote this letter at a tumultuous point in his life—he was living in exile, his personal relationships were falling apart, and he was beginning to run out of money. Though he had just finished composing Tristan und Isolde—now one of his most famous operas—he could find nowhere in Paris to stage it. His misfortune in Paris would continue into the next year, when he premiered a revised version of Tannhauser that nearly caused riots. Luckily, Wagner was soon granted return to Germany and, in 1864, the newly crowned Ludwig II began to support Wagner’s work, relieving his financial woes of the past. A rare and exceptional letter from a turning point in the composer’s career. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.