Lot 41 of 361:
Watercolor by Diego Rivera gifted to founders of Communist Party USA  

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Lot closed - unsold
$30,000 - $50,000

Original watercolor design for cover of Fortune Magazine, March issue 1932

Rivera, Diego

Moscow and New York

Fortune Magazine



Watercolor on wove paper. 34x27 cm (13¼x10½").  Original water color design for the March 1932 issue of Fortune Magazine worked up from sketches Rivera had made at the 10th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in Red Square, Moscow.

Signed by Diego Rivera (1886-1957) with an inscription "Para Bert y Ella Wolfe / Diego Rivera 1933". Offered with the March 1932 issue of Fortune Magazine. Bertram and Ella Wolfe were founding members of the American Communist party on May Day, 1919 following a split with Eugene Debs' Socialist Party. After the passage of the Sedition Act of 1918, the Wolfes assumed false names, leading an underground existence in the USA until they migrated to Mexico where they befriended Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and many artists associated with the Mural movement and the leftwing milieu of Mexico's avantgarde. Bertram Wolfe, who later would become a fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution along with other disillusioned radicals such as Sidney Hook, wrote several books about Diego Rivera including the 1963 The Fabulous Life of Diego Rivera. Writing about a visit by Rivera in 1927 to attend 10th anniversary of the October Revolution in Moscow as a guest of the Soviet government, Wolfe writes, "In Moscow Diego was caught up in the pageantry of the Tenth Anniversary celebrations. From his place on the reviewing stand against the old Kremlin wall, he watched the Red Army file through the historic Red Square, followed by a procession that continued all day long. With greedy eyes he watched, notebook in hand, sketching as well on the tablets of his tenacious brain; saw the surging sea of crimson banners...All this he noted in forty-five watercolor sketches and innumerable penciled notes, out of which he hoped to build murals for Russian walls...One of the sketches became the cover of an issue of Fortune. The notebook was purchased by Mrs. Abby Rockefeller; part of it served as material for the Russian demonstration scene on the wall of the Radio City building which the Rockefellers subsequently destroyed..." p. 216. Provenance: This watercolor was gifted by Ella Wolfe to her close friend Helen Solanum after the death of Bertram Wolfe. Ms. Solanum met the Wolfes when she joined the curatorial staff of the West European Collection at the Hoover Institute in 1973. She was co-executor of Ella Wolfe's last will and testament. Ella Wolfe died on January 8, 2001. 

Lot Amendments

A few margin creases with small chip at lower right corner, a few stains in margins, sheet toned a bit, two margin tears have been repaired, one in right margin barely affecting right border.

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