DIEGO RIVERA - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 07/31/1942 - HFSID 350474
Sale Price $3,825.00
The artist signs a very contentious handwritten letter (1942) to the Rector of the University of Mexico demanding return of scaffolding, ownership of which is now disputed by the University's supply department.
ALS: "Diego Rivera", 3 pages, 8¼x12¾. No place, 1942 July 31. To Mr. Brito Foucher, Rector of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, regarding scaffolding that the muralist had left at the University and requesting its return. In full: "With regard to your request for information about the lumber that belongs to me and that was used in the scaffolding at the E.N. [National School] of Medicine, I provide you with the following facts and details: I. - I never had a contract with the U.N.A. It was the Committee for the Centennial Observance in the school which started the painting job in the E.N.M. II. - For that job, I did not collect anything, I only received the expenses involved in it. III. - Since I did not execute it as a result of medical problems with my eyes (I was operated on by Dr. Rafael Silva), I returned the advance I had received for expenses in its entirety to Dr. Ignacio Chavez, with whom I dealt concerning the mural. Dr. Chavez can testify to this; there is a card in the Ex-rector de la Cueva's possession from Dr. Chavez stating that the lumber is my property and should be returned to me. IV. - I did not ask for a regular receipt for my property because I had faith, and I still have faith, in the honorability of those who guided or continue to guide our National University. V. - I did not remove the scaffolding, because first a group of doctors and later a group of students and faculty wanted to get the work done, but the money they needed was never raised. (My offer to do it free was a gift to the E.N. of M. because I had worked on the architecture for several years.). VI. - Finally, at the behest of the Ex-rector of the University, Mario de la Cueva, his then secretary and attorney for the University drafted a contract so that I could paint (always free). I never signed or even saw the contract because I had left for the United States to paint a mural in the Exposition in San Francisco, California. VII. - I was not notified when the scaffolding was removed; it was disposed of, and now a Mr. Alaman, head of the Supply Department, asks that I prove ownership of the lumber. This is similar to a situation where someone, who likes to take other people's things, takes someone's hat in the street and, once caught, the taker of other people's property asks the owner at the police station to prove his ownership of the hat. VIII. - The scaffolding was arranged as follows: 1-6 straight central footings of 2 beams of 6 meters each...12; 2-10 straight footings of 2 beams of 4 meters each...20; 3-23 cross beams of 3½ m each...23. Total 55 pieces. 4-a plywood platform covering the whole scaffolding and sheets for the lateral surfaces...155 boards; 5-50 narrow beams to assemble the side rail of the scaffolding and 50 'scraps' for a hand rail; 6-a wooden stairway with hand rail; 7-Iron clamps to assemble the scaffolding. [Rivera has drawn a diagram of the pieces scaffolding and how they were arranged.] Rector, this is the scaffolding I own, its ownership can be verified by Dr. Ignacio Chavez, who was then Director of the School, and other witnesses. Anything which any official or ex-official might say to challenge my ownership can only be for the purpose of hiding irregularities which I need not characterize. Please pardon the fact that I am again forced to take up you time and please permit me to give you my thanks for the measures you have taken to order your employees to return the scaffolding to me. Very truly yours." Handwritten postscript, initialed "DR": "I send this information through my friend and colleague, Mr. Antonia Aramburu, of whom it was requested, as my agent in the settlement of this matter". Rivera needed the scaffolding for his frescoes and wall murals. From 1935-1955, he had worked primarily on murals in the National Palace of Mexico. Commissioned in California, he left his scaffolding in Mexico while he went to San Francisco for the Golden Gate Exposition on Treasure Island (1940). The Pan-American frescoes he created in view of spectators displayed the unity of the countries with an Aztec goddess that was half machine (symbolizing American industry) and half human (personifying Mexican beliefs). The Pan American Unity mural is now displayed in the Diego Rivera Theater at the City College of San Francisco. Lightly creased, diagonal crease through "Diego". Folds, horizontal fold through initials. Stains, light stains touch 2 words of postscript. Lightly soiled at lower right corner of first page. Overall, fine condition. Framed by the Gallery of History to an overall size of 49x25½.
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