Specialists in the Field: The Magic of Handwriting

Marco Tomaschett at the Morgan Library


For our first Specialists in the Field segment of 2018, Autographs Specialist Marco Tomaschett discusses his recent visit to The Morgan Library’s newest exhibition, The Magic of Handwriting: The Pedro Corrêa do Lago Collection, featuring nearly 150 examples of letters, sketches and manuscripts spanning more than 800 years. Here’s what he had to say:



Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, concluding portion of an Autograph Letter Signed, to his father, Leopold Mozart, [Mannheim], 7 February 1778.
Collection of Pedro Corrêa do Lago. Courtesy of The Morgan.


The pieces that were selected for the exhibition from Corrêa do Lago‘s vast and mesmerizing collection include letters, music, drawings, signatures and handprints by some of the most culturally significant figures of Western civilization. With a background in philosophy, I was especially enraptured by the group of items by philosophers, including a letter from one of my heroes, Ludwig Wittgenstein.



Each item in the exhibition is presented with the same degree of attention and respect, but some of the pieces are of staggering value to the autographs market: for instance, the manuscript of mathematical calculations by Albert Einstein, or the autographs by the three greatest composers of Europe: Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven. Given the influence of the figures represented in the exhibition, surely anyone can find something that touches one’s life in some way.


Opening night at the Morgan!



Future Queen Victoria, Autograph letter signed, at age 7, to her uncle Prince Frederick, the Duke of York and Albany, Tunbridge Wells, 16 August 1826.
Collection of Pedro Corrêa do Lago. Courtesy of The Morgan.


Sigmund Freud, Autograph invoice signed, to Roy Grinker, on a personal correspondence card, Vienna, 30 June 1934.
Collection of Pedro Corrêa do Lago. Courtesy of The Morgan.