University Archives

Lot 174

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Jack Kerouac's Oversized Wall Art, Including Probably Buddhist Dharmachakra Decorated in Marker

A small assortment of oversized wall art, two pieces, used by Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) to decorate his living space. The famous American writer who brought us "On The Road" (1957) is often called a nomad, but his personal possessions demonstrate the degree to which Kerouac was also a homebody. The pieces show scattered stains and surface abrasions from old tape. Isolated loss to a few edges. Else in very good to near fine condition. A representative piece in this lot is stamped with the Jack Kerouac Estate stamp.

1. United Card Company "Smile Plagues" easel-back wall art, ca. 1967, depicting a battered vulture announcing: "PATIENCE MY ASS! I'M GOING OUT AND KILL SOMETHING". The condition suggests it was well-loved, and mounted at various times using both masking tape and staples. 7" x 9".

2. Printed chipboard ship's wheel toy, which we believe might have been used as a Buddhist symbol, with hand-applied felt tip marker decoration verso. A little misshapen, and with isolated staples. 13" diameter.

The dharmachakra, or "wheel of dharma," is an ancient symbol which most often represents the Buddha's dharma, or law. The visually represented dharmachakra can have a range of even-number spokes: 8, 12, 24, or more. The eight-spoked wheel represents the Noble Eightfold Path, which is the process of changing one's world view through the painful acquisition of knowledge. Following the Path eventually enables the rebirth of the individual.

This artifact testifies to Kerouac's interest in Asian culture, specifically Buddhism. After being introduced to Buddhism in the mid-1950s, Kerouac devoted himself to its study, interpretation, and practice. His works "Some of the Dharma" (1955-56) and "The Dharma Bums" (1958) explore the mid-century American quest for enlightenment.

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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August 19, 2020 10:30 AM EDT

Wilton, CT, US

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$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000