BABEL, ISAAK EMMANUILOVICH. 1894-1940. Autograph Letter Signed ("I. Babel"),
Lot 2
BABEL, ISAAK EMMANUILOVICH. 1894-1940.
Autograph Letter Signed ("I. Babel"),
Sold for US$ 7,500 inc. premium

Fine Books and Manuscripts

9 Mar 2017, 13:00 EST

New York

Lot Details
BABEL, ISAAK EMMANUILOVICH. 1894-1940.
Autograph Letter Signed ("I. Babel"), 1 p, 16mo, Moscow, March 11, 1929, discussing a painting, in ink on paper torn from a notebook, some soiling and wear at edges.

RARE AUTOGRAPH LETTER FROM ISAAK BABEL, to K.P. Rotov (1902-1959), a popular Soviet cartoonist who contributed to Krokodil and Pravda and illustrated numerous children's books:

Dear Kostya,
Please be so kind and send me that new painting that everybody has been talking about for a whole month. It's of Odessa and this, you know, is an ever alive memory. Don't forget!
I. Babel
M[oscow] March 11, 1929


The picture he refers to was an illustration for a new edition of Odessa Tales (1925) that was never published.

Born in the Moldavanka section of Odessa, Isaak Babel is today considered one of the greatest of Soviet Jewish writers. Maxim Gorky was an early mentor; Boris Pasternak, a great admirer. According to Jorge Luis Borges, "Salt", one of Babel's greatest stories, "enjoys a glory seemingly reserved for poems and rarely attained by prose." He is perhaps best known for Red Cavalry, which Sergei Eisenstein wanted to film. Unfortunately, he was also one of the most tragic figures in Russian literature.
Babel's letters and manuscripts are of greatest rarity. He was arrested as "an enemy of the people" during Stalin's Great Purge, accused of a long-time affair with the wife of NKVD chief Nikolai Yezhov. Under interrogation, he confessed to being a counter-revolutionary Trotskyite terrorist and a foreign spy and was shot on January 27, 1940. Finally, in 1954, Nikita Khruschev rehabilitated him publicly, on a single, typed half-sheet of paper: "The sentence of the military collegium dated 26 January 1940 concerning Babel, I.E., is revoked on the basis of newly discovered circumstances and the case against him is terminated in the absence of elements of a crime." ABPC lists only one Babel manuscript (sold Sotheby's, London, 1993) and no letters.

Saleroom notices

  • Estimate should read: $6,000 - 9,000.
Activities
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armour, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first $150,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from $150,001 to $3,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12% on the excess over $3,000,001 of the Hammer Price

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. A processing fee will be assessed on any returned checks. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. Darren Sutherland
    Specialist - Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs
    Bonhams
    Work
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, United States 10022
    Work +1 212 461 6531
    FaxFax: +1 212 644 9007
Similar Items