Price: sold


Autographed 8.75” x 11” original Eugen Spiro “artist proof” lithograph of the legendary composer, pianist, arranger, editor, conductor and educator c. 1922.  Both Busoni and Spiro have signed in pencil.  Spiro has written Proof bottom right.  The work also bears a collection stamp with the initials D. B. W. on bottom right.

Busoni (1866-1924) was a musical Renaissance man unto himself.  One of the great music educators, pianists Claudio Arrau, Ignaz Friedman and Egon Petri, composer/pianist Percy Grainger and composers Louis Gruenberg, Igor Stravinsky, Kurt Weill and Edgard Varèse, Stepan Wolpe among others passed through his doors as either regular pupils, or advisory pupils.  A pupil of Mayer and Reinecke.  Busoni numbered; Bela Bartok, Johannes Brahms, Claude Debussy, Isadora Duncan, Karl Goldmark, Franz Liszt, and Jean Sibelius among his friends and advisors.   Busoni edited and arranged a significant amount of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach.  Additionally, he wrote numerous original works including opera, symphonic, string quartets, concertos and lieder.  His piano concerto is a giant of a work which includes a piano, large orchestra and full chorus.  It would receive more performances, but it is expensive for an orchestra to perform. His operas “Arlecchino” and “Doktor Faustus” have received revivals and occasionally his “Turandot” is also revived.    

Eugen Spiro (1874-1972) was born in Breslau to a Jewish family  his Father was a cantor at the White Stork Synagogue in Breslau and a significant composer of liturgical music.  Spiro entered the Royal School for the Arts in Breslau from1892-1894 straying with Albrecht Bräuer.  From 1894-1897 he studied at the Academy of Arts in Munich with Franz v. Stuck.  He then studied in Italy for a year returning to Breslau in 1899 to teach painting making his first series of illustrations of musicians.  In 1900 he became a member of the Munich Sezession.  In 1904 he moved to Berlin, married an actress named Tilla Durieux, was made a member of the Berlin Sezession and began to show his works in the exhibits and salons of Berlin and Vienna.  In 1906 he divorced his wife and moved to Paris as a Professor at the Academie Moderne.  He was a co-founder of the Salon A’tomne as well, returning to Berlin in 1914.   He was appointed to the Berlin board of the Sezession and was eventually made President.  Whilst maintaining a busy schedule as an artist, he also taught at the Academy of Arts there. He was in the German army during World War I as a cartographer.  In 1917 he was re-married and was appointed Professor at the Staatliche Kunstschule in Berlin.  The family spent 1921 in Italy.  From 1924-1933 he was made Chairman of the Kartell der Vereinigten Bildenden Künstler in Berlin and also was a member of the Experts Committee of the Nationalgalerie in Berlin.  His first American show was at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh in 1929.  As a Jew, he was forced from all of his positions in 1933, divorced his wife and left for Paris in September 1935.  He continued his work in Paris and showed in Amsterdam and London.  In 1936 he resigned his German citizenship. In 1940 after the Germans invaded France he left Paris for Marseilles, was imprisoned briefly in a concentration camp in France called Gurs.  He was able to leave in 1941 and head to the United States via Spain and then Portugal.  The same year he arrived in New York and married a woman he met in the concentration camp.  His first solo exhibit in New York was at the Galerie St. Etienne and over the years they held seven more exhibit for him, the last in honor of his 90th birthday.  He taught in Elizabethtown New York from 1948-1952 and then made his first post war trip to Germany in 1952.  His first post war exhibit in Germany was the Gallerie Wolfgang Gurlitt in Munich in 1957.  In 1964 he was decorated with the Das Grosse Verdienskreuz by the Federal Republic of Germany, one of their highest awards.  In 1969 in honor of his 95th birthday, he was given a one man show at the brand new National Gallery in Berlin.  His papers reside at SUNY Albany.

A different work by Spiro of Busoni appeared at auction in Switzerland in 2013. The signature on the auctioned piece was signed by Spiro and the Busoni autograph was in the stone.

Text Box: Composer autographs

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