Desire Kellermann, Paris.
George Gershwin, New York and Beverly Hills (acquired from the above, October 1931).
Ira and Leonore Gershwin, Beverly Hills (by descent from the above, 1937).
By descent from the above to the present owner, 1991.
Please note this lot may be tax exempt from the sale tax as set forth in the Sales Tax Notice at the back of the catalogue.
The Comité Marc Chagall has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
Property from the Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Philanthropic Fund
Ira Gershwin, the first songwriter to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize (with George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind for Of Thee I Sing), was born on December 6, 1896. He received many accolades for his achievements, including three Academy Award nominations.
Ira's first success with his brother George was Lady, Be Good! in 1924, followed by such major works as Oh, Kay!, Strike Up The Band, Girl Crazy, Of Thee I Sing and Porgy and Bess (with DuBose and Dorothy Heyward). In 1936, the brothers went to Hollywood for what became their final collaborations: Shall We Dance, A Damsel In Distress and The Goldwyn Follies. In the years following George's death in 1937, Ira was instrumental in the creation of two additional Gershwin film scores: The Shocking Miss Pilgrim and Kiss Me, Stupid. With the success of the "new" Gershwin musicals My One and Only and Crazy for You, Ira's songs have been re-discovered by a younger generation.
Ira also collaborated with other songwriters, including Harold Arlen, Vernon Duke, Kurt Weill, Aaron Copland, Vincent Youmans, Harry Warren, Arthur Schwartz, Burton Lane and Jerome Kern. Ira's book, the acclaimed Lyrics On Several Occasions, was published in 1959.
As one of the great American songwriting teams of the 20th Century, Ira and George were members of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Theatre Hall of Fame. They received the Congressional Gold Medal from the United States Congress and the Grammy National Trustees Award. In 1976, Ira was honored with the National Music Award; ten years after the University of Maryland had awarded him an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree. In 1983, the Uris Theatre in New York was renamed The Gershwin.
After George's death, Ira was the keeper of the Gershwin flame, attending to the details of his brother's estate and supervising, for donation to the Library of Congress, the organization and annotation of manuscripts pertaining to their careers. (His nephew, Michael Strunsky, performs many of these functions today.) In 2007, the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song was created, to recognize American composers and interpreters of popular song.
On August 17, 1983, Ira died peacefully in the Beverly Hills, California home that he had long shared with his wife of 56 years, Leonore Strunsky Gershwin.
Christie's is honored to be offer the following lot from their esteemed collection.
Arts Club of Chicago, Exhibition of the George Gershwin Collection of Modern Paintings, November 1933.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Ira Gershwin, 1952.
Dallas Museum of Art (on extended loan, 1993-1999).