BORGES, Jorge Luis (1899-1986). Autograph sketch leaf and manuscript signed (on recto, 'Jorge Luis Borges 1921'), [perhaps Madrid, before March 1921], the recto comprising approximately 25 skilful figure-drawings apparently including a self-portrait in Napoleonic pose, the verso comprising fragments of two apparently unpublished poems, 12 lines in total, and a prose fragment, 2 lines, the leaf approximately 280 x 195mm (some yellowing, margins worn, three small losses).
An early example of Borges's work as an artist, and two early verse-fragments. One of the caricatures, in the lower left corner, corresponds to Borges's appearance at this time, and may be a self-portrait. Of the verse fragments, one comprises a series of phrases, perhaps notes for a composition - 'ocos fiálicos bayonetos popolosas charra multitud' - of which the last appears in the poem 'Ataradeceres' (published in the periodical Ultra in 1921, and in Fervor de Buenos Aires (1923), Borges's first collection). The prose fragment is from 'Ultraismo', an article on the Hispanic form of Futurism, written in collaboration with Jacobo Sureda and Juan Alumar under the pseudonym 'Dagesmar', and published in the journal Ultima Hora, 3 February 1921.
Borges seems to have sketched throughout his life until the onset of blindness, but examples of his work are apparently rare. His sister Norah was an artist who illustrated a number of his works. In early 1921 Borges was still living with his family in Madrid; he returned to Argentina in March of that year.