Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

Lot 499

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(1875-1944) American illustrator and author, best known as the originator and designer of the chubby cherubs known as the Kewpies. Their sensational debut in 1909 was made in Ladies' Home Journal, but they were soon seen in Woman's Home Companion, Good Housekeeping, and then, in the 1930's, as a comic strip in The New York Journal. In 1912, children from all over the world asked for a Kewpie character they could hold in their hands, so Rose found a German porcelain manufacturer that would make Kewpie dolls. Rare illustrated T.L.S. "the golden rose of youth" in the text, 1p. 4to "Villa Narcissus Capri (near Naples) Italy" Dec. 27, 1932, to her friend in America "Ruth amid the alien corn". O'Neill's personal letters are usually candid and cryptic, sometime with no thread or stream, sometimes quite humorous, but, undoubtedly decipherable to her correspondents, and amusingly pleasing to eye with her decorative embellishments. In her engrossing style, she forcefully relates: "I'm completely unable to say anything to parts of your letter. I am you loving ghost and you must talk to me, but you will know I have heard, and thought and squeaked and gibbered in the streets of Rome and cared about everything, but that I can't answer (like Hamlet's father, that conversable phantom.) And you wept at my chirp and gave it a 'larklike' violin of Mozart to comfort it. And you need me. I am bridging to you….seeing with dazzled eyes the golden rose of youth in the garden of Carabas……and hearing its golden days? You would be rather astonished to hear Dagmar talking about you….halting nobly, in the equine way. She can't get over you. She says she never saw such youth in flower…outside, inside, burgeoning, glowing, reverberating with splendor. These are not her words, but truthfully her feeling. Her sea-eyes sparkle sapphire when she thinks of you. And Jean came to you at the St. George. Enter the dragon. And saved you. And, oh dear faithful, you have just written to clink. I have been having a very strange time, ('as one duchess to another') I have been Forgotten Patrick as far as outward signs go. Too well I know the heart-perturbing thing that no once was lucky enough to forget me….that I have been an ache, a constant malaise to all those blessed hearts. But they can't tell me anything. Callista absolutely can't. And I know it. And whey the devil don't I let her alone? I have howled instead….like any callow brute that has had no discipline of Years. As I have said, I hold out no hope to youth of any increase in virtue with time, any greater restraint, fortitude, wisdom, decency or art. The howling of the egoist old is the music of the spheres. She is haunted by me day and night….while she struggles to feed me and weather through the terrific complications of her existence. If she had any good news for me, she would hurl her heart across the space like a Lance". Some age-toning, otherwise in very good condition. By the 1930s, Rose was having a difficult time finding work: The Kewpies were losing their popular appeal, magazines were beginning to use photographic illustrations instead of original art, and her many estates, including Villa Narcissus, and her dependents began to drain her finances.

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March 30, 2011 11:00 AM EDT

Stamford, CT, US

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