Sale 22TH01 | Lot 2065

GEORGE GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Autograph musical manuscript "Opening Scene III" from Porgy and Bess.

Catalogue: Stage & Screen

Lot Details

Lot 2065
GEORGE GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Autograph musical manuscript "Opening Scene III" from Porgy and Bess.
An autograph musical manuscript in pencil in Gershwin's hand, circa 1934-35, written on a bifolium of Gershwin's custom printed landscape format staff paper with his initials "G.G." to the lower corner, the page headed "Opening Scene III" and comprising about two and half staves, with a small drawing in the margin of a face in profile (likely Porgy). 12 x 15 inches (31 x 38 cm); framed. Vertical fold, extremities toned, a few scuffs and a small stray stain at lower right.

Provenance: Ethel Merman; acquired at the auction "Property from the Estate of Ethel Merman," Christie's East, 10 October 1984, lot 103J (a copy of the catalogue and insert accompanies the lot).

A rare George Gershwin manuscript from Porgy and Bess from the collection of Ethel Merman. According to research provided by the Library of Congress, this is a sketch for a portion of act 3, scene 3 which closes the opera. Gershwin would later elaborate this closing scene and this music is played between two vocal parts. The research also verifies that Gershwin had this staff paper printed in the landscape format and marked with his initials only for Porgy and Bess. As he often would, Gershwin has embellished this sheet with a small but accomplished profile drawing of a male figure, possible Porgy, in the margin. Porgy and Bess opened on Broadway on October 10, 1935 and ran for 124 performances; it has since been revived many times, most recently at the Metropolitan Opera in 2019. George Gershwin died from a brain tumor in July 1937, within two years of the debut of his masterpiece.

The manuscript also carries a superb theatrical provenance, having been owned by Ethel Merman, whose Broadway debut was in George and Ira Gershwin's Girl Crazy in 1930. The manuscript was acquired at the Ethel Merman estate auction in 1984.


C The Collection of Nancy Salisbury

Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000
Sold for $20,160 (includes buyer's premium)

Additional Notes & Condition Report

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Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000
Sold for $20,160 (includes buyer's premium)

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Catalogue Info

Stage & Screen

Fri, Jun 24, 2022 at 10am EDT
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