October 11, 2015


Back to Top

Lot 165A: Carl Andre

Lot 165A: Carl Andre

Group of postcards and gallery mailers (22)

3 signed "@ carl andre", 2 signed "@ carl", 2 signed "Alden Carr", and 14 signed "@"
Various dimensions
Comprised of 19 postcards, 3 gallery mailers, and corresponding envelopes. This lot is comprised of three postcards from Carl Andre and others by various artists including known noms d'artiste of Carl Andre.
Provenance: Private Collection, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the artists, 1974-1993)
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Inventory Id: 20476

Have this work or something similar?

Email us today for a free, confidential
market evaluation from one of our specialists.


VANCOUVER SORROW: The Mystery of "Sandra"

VANCOUVER SORROW, a poem in 26 parts, functions as a long-distance unrequited love story between an artist, Sandra, and a woman in Vancouver, Canada. Nearly every day for a month at the end of the year 1974, the artist mailed a single yellow lined page with a sentiment, a story, or abstract prose or poetry. The pages are handwritten in a beautiful script. A matching manuscript, in which each typewritten page mimics each letter exactly, is included. The first page starts: "<a romantic tale without an end>." References to Diane Arbus, Brice Marden, and good times spent in Vancouver, Los Angeles, and more, follow.

An air of mystery permeates the one-sided dialogue. The recipient is not referred to by name, and the sender's return address reads only "VANCOUVER SORROW" and a P.O. Box address in New York. One name, "Carl," appears frequently. Carl is referred to on a page titled "Hollis Frampton," in a "'moving' fugue" about a suicide at False Creek, and along with cognac–"cognac with Carl cognac." Also, "Ian of all the artists who have been to my home Carl is the first to have brought anything." The style of this artistic manuscript strongly resembles the concrete poetry of Carl Andre.

A founding member of Minimalism in the mid-1960s, Carl Andre is regarded as one of America's greatest living sculptors. But poetry was his first calling. His mother was an amateur poet, and he studied the subject at Phillips Andover Academy where he enrolled on a scholarship. From the 1950s and 1960s onward, Andre created text-based works and concrete poetry in addition to sculpture. He called these "typewriter drawings, " since the structure of the words on the page were as important as the actual content. The word combinations have a visual component–they are in descending lines, or blocks stacked upon each other. Often he uses stories from history or biographies, or those drawn from his own life. His Passport (1960) is like a scrapbook with poems and collages of items of interest to him. In Still a Novel (1972) sentences are arranged in grids and repeating blocks over 104 pages depicting the drama of photographer Eadweard Muybridge's life. Andre sometimes injects into his work an irreverent sense of humor, with cunning puns and verbal jokes. In his ready-made series, Dada Forgeries, with a nod to Duchamp, he created the pseudonym Alden Carr, an anagram derived from his real name.

The manuscript VANCOUVER SORROW resembles Andre's concrete poetry–the typed lines are formatted graphically; the occasional drawing interspersed. The tale ends thus:

But then I didn't go toVancouver to speak–I went
to touch you–you who had
touched me with your words
covered and caressed me. And
now I seem to be back at the


my Love,


But who is Sandra? The recipient of this poem does not seem to remember. She does recall, many years ago, meeting up with Carl Andre in Vancouver and Los Angeles, but not with a "Sandra." Is it a man or a woman? Is it a false name? A pseudonym? Like a riddle or a game to play, with VANCOUVER SORROW you can open the airmail envelopes to see the pages, or you can read the complete typed manuscript, or find the accompanying used yellow notepad with remaining empty pages. Extremely rare and personal, VANCOUVER SORROW has never been on the market before. Unravel the mystery and read the entire narrative here for the first time. Also with this lot is a postcard from Carl Andre referencing this work dated June 22, 1979.

Andre, Carl, Lynn Kost, and Museum zu Allerheiligen. Carl Andre: Poems. Zurich: JRP/Ringier, 2014. 5-7. Print. Carter, Holland. "A Stonehenge for the Modern Age Carl Andre's Epic Sculptures, United at Dia: Beacon. "The New York Times. Art & Design/Art Review sec. The New York Times Company, 29 May 2014. Web. 12 July 2015. Smith, Roberta. "< Carl Andre, John Weber Gallery. " About Carl Andre: Critical Texts Since 1965. Eds. Paula Feldman, Alistair Rider, and Karsten Schubert. London: Ridinghouse, 2008. 125-126. Print. Raymond, Yasmil, and Philippe Vergne. Carl Andre Sculpture as Place, 1958–2010. Ed. Michelle Piranio and Jeremy Sigler. New Haven: Yale UP; and New York: Dia Art Foundation, 2014. 235. Print.