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  • Press release
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  • New York
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  • For immediate release
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  • 4 October 2018

PRESS RELEASE: Albert Einstein. The God Letter

Einstein, Albert (1879–1955). The God Letter. Autograph letter signed (“A. Einstein”) to Eric Gutkind, Princeton, 3 January 1954. Estimate: $1,000,000–1,500,000. To be offered in Albert Einstein. The God Letter, New York, 4 December.

New York – Christie’s is thrilled to announce the auction of one of the most important manuscripts by the 20th century’s most famous thinker, Albert Einstein’s God Letter (Estimate: $1,000,000 - 1,500,000) on 4 December 2018. This letter, which is addressed to philosopher Eric Gutkind, combines Einstein’s thoughts on religion, his Jewish identity, and his own search for meaning in life. Written a year before Einstein’s death in 1955, it remains the most fully articulated expression of his religious and philosophical views.

Peter Klarnet, Senior Specialist Books & Manuscripts, Christie’s remarks: “Christie’s is honored to present this important Albert Einstein letter at auction as it concerns themes that have been central to human enquiry since the dawn of human consciousness, and it is one of the definitive statements in the Religion vs Science debate.”

Einstein wrote this remarkable private letter in response to Gutkind’s book, Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt. He offers his candid and unvarnished opinion that: “The word God is for me nothing but the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of venerable but still rather primitive legends. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can (for me) change anything about this.” And despite a strong cultural affinity with the Jewish people, Einstein did not exclude Judaism from his critique: he admired and loved his people, but is clear in his belief that they were not “chosen” above others.

The letter stands as Einstein’s clearest and most important expression of his views on God, Religion, and man’s eternal search for meaning. This letter will be on public view at Pace Gallery in San Francisco on 25 October, at our San Francisco Office by appointment 29-31 October, and open to the public 1 November and in our New York galleries ahead of the auction from 30 November to 3 December. Tour details can be found on our website.

About Christie’s

Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had auction sales in the first half of 2019 that totalled £2.2 billion / $2.8 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.

Alongside regular sales online, Christie’s has a global presence in 46 countries, with 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.