Lot 380

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Einstein Boldly Signed Photo From Sailing Trip to a Fellow Scientist

A charming signed photograph of Albert Einstein, inscribed to fellow scientist Dr. Max Heimann. Measuring 4.875" x 6.875", mounted to a mat measuring 6" x 8", n.p., ca. December 1935. Accompanied by an LOA from PSA/DNA. The photograph is affected by a small crease, and the mat has flaws that have been repaired on verso; framing this piece would be very effective and attractive. Like toning and soiling. Boldly signed.

The image is a black-and-white photograph of Einstein, casually attired in a white polo-collared shirt, and seated in front of a body of water. Inscribed and signed in German on the mat below the image, "Herrn Dr. Max Heimann dem Gütigen / Albert Einstein Dezember 1935". 

Upon his fiftieth birthday, Einstein's friends gifted him a 23-foot sailboat, which he named Tümmler (meaning "porpoise" in German). In the years that followed, he became a devoted, if unconventional, yachtsman. Despite being a world-famous physicist, he was not particularly gifted at sailing: his mast fell down regularly, he often had to be towed home. One time he almost managed to drown himself and had to be rescued by a passing motorboat. However, Einstein was never deterred, proclaiming that his love of sailing came from the opportunity it granted him to relax after all his hard work thinking up equations and theories in his study.

Although it is impossible to pinpoint the exact date when this particular photograph was taken (as Einstein frequently wore this white polo while sailing), it was likely taken between 1933-35. In the summers of 1933 and 1934, he was a regular around the waters of Connecticut and New York. In the summer of 1935, he ran aground near Old Saybrook, CT - an event that the press took full advantage of. The New York Times ran a headline: “Relative Tide And Sand Bars Trap Einstein.” Another newspaper wrote: “Einstein’s Miscalculation Leaves Him Stuck On Bar Of Lower Connecticut River.” Nevertheless, Einstein continued his "favorite pastime" even after his health began to deteriorate, proving that one does not need to be an expert to find enjoyment.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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