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    Fritz Lang: Two Signed Letters - Earliest Known, circa 1913. Two signed letters from Fritz Lang, legendary director of such films as Metropolis, M, and Scarlet Street. The first letter, dated October 20, 1913, is from Lang (in Munich) to Mr. Friedl Weiss-Nerley (in Vienna). Weiss-Nerley was working on a book titled Genesis, for which Lang was to provide illustrations, and the letters cover in some detail Lang's philosophical and personal preferences regarding the book and his reflections on the artistic process. At the time Lang considered himself a budding artist, and was painting for a living (postcards, posters, etc.) and commuting frequently to Paris, Munich and Vienna. The content of the letters demonstrate an early interest in what would become some of Lang's major themes as a filmmaker: eroticism, historical and mythological characters, religion, etc. The first letter details Lang's reaction to the first chapter of Genesis. In the letter Lang attempts to define a process by which he can provide illustrations that reflect the story's direction (or more accurately, a story that would reflect the content of his illustrations) and poses the question, "Don't you think that such events - orgies of masturbation, corpse viewings - are too crude, and of too little aesthetic value?" The second letter (undated, but presumably written within a year or so of the first) is much longer and begins by noting an address in Vienna at which he hopes Weiss-Nerley will visit him over Christmas, followed by an account of a break-up between Lang and a pair of women apparently known to both men. ("I am so happy that I have broken up with them and am free from all the dirt and disgusting stuff.") He then turns again to the artwork for the book, with a strong emphasis on the nature of the nudes he is being asked to draw. ("On the festival days the crowd of people pushed themselves into the temple and gradually a bordello with mass orgies was what the temple turned into..."). The letter concludes with with a business proposal to split any proceeds on a 50/50 basis. The content of the letter is quite consistent with Lang's status in 1911 - 1914, as documented in Patrick McGiligan's Fritz Lang: Nature of the Beast (Harcourt, 1997), widely regarded as the most complete and authoritative Lang biography. Most interestingly, McGilligan notes that a 1914 letter from Lang to another friend, Julius Singer, as being the earliest known Lang letter in any archive. Presumably, the first of these letters would now assume that distinction. Physical description: First letter: one page (script on both sides), 9 x 13.5," folded twice, Near Fine condition, with accompanying mailing envelope, postmarked October 21, 1913 and stamped Fritz Lang - Atelier. Second letter: four pages (script on both sides, excepting page 4), 9 x 13/5," folded twice, Near fine condition, with accompanying mailing envelope, not postmarked (but judged to have been sent between 1913-1915). Both envelopes Very Good, with opened corner missing in each case.

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    Auction Dates
    November, 2009
    6th-7th Friday-Saturday
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