Lot 17. On psychoanalysis and his 'important work'

Starting price:£ 6 000
Auction date:16.07.2020   06:00 UTC +02:00
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ID 370006
Lot 17 | On psychoanalysis and his 'important work'
Albert Einstein (1879-1955).

Autograph letter signed ('Papa') to his younger son Eduard ('Tetel'), Caputh (near Berlin), 8 October 1932.

In German. Two pages, 290 x 190mm. Provenance: Christie's, 7 June 2000, lot 32 (part).

On his son's breakdown, psychoanalysis and his 'important work'. Eduard has been committed to an asylum for treatment of schizophrenia, and his father attempts to comfort him with an anecdote of the friend of an acquaintance in Pasadena who was institutionalised for depression after the war, and chose to remain in his asylum even after the conclusion of his treatment, 'as he claimed that there could be no better refuge for an intellectual worker. And there he remains even today in cheerful spirits and the best of health'. Eduard is especially not to worry about his father's testamentary arrangements: 'I will never mention them again'. Einstein is leaving for California in December, and hopes that Eduard can come to see him before he goes – he cannot unfortunately move himself, as he needs to remain with his assistant [Walther Mayer] 'because of important work'. Nevertheless, he holds out the prospect of taking Eduard to America with him in the following year: 'This year it would not only be too expensive but too unsettled for you, as I have arduous commitments in California. But next year I am going to Princeton near New York for five months...'. In the meantime, he is passing the time peacefully in his beloved country home at Caputh: 'I spend my days in work and sailing, without bothering myself much with the great world'. Eduard should strive for an equal sense of detachment: his father recommends that he read Hans Christian Andersen – he himself has been reading the second part of Goethe's Faust, though without much pleasure. Einstein's stepdaughter Ilse has been following a long course of psychoanalysis, and Eduard must promise to teach him about the subject if he comes: 'I promise to keep a straight face'.

This was Einstein's last year in Europe. By October 1933 he was indeed in Princeton, not on a five-month visit but in permanent exile after the Nazi seizure of power: he was never to see his son again. Eduard Einstein (1910-1965) was first diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1930, and was to spend much of the rest of his life at the Burghölzli clinic outside Zurich.

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Preview24.06.2020 - 16.07.2020
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