20 Mar UNTITLED (LITTLE SHORT GOLD SUMMER FLAG). C. 1990. ORIGINAL HUGE TWO PART HANDWRITTEN LETTER ON SHAPED PAPER.
Two part, very large, original paper letter – each 100 x 34.5cm on gold shaped paper where the top of the paper resembles a dome. Both sheets are folded many times for posting down to 13.5 x 18cm). An original letter from Byars to Paul Jolle congratulating the latter on some unspecified (perhaps spurious) promotion. The text is written in Byar’s handwriting.
The text says: “DEAR GREAT MR J. THE POWER OF THE GR.(?) PLEASE DON’T YOU THINK ONE OF MY XXXXX WOULD LOOK FINE HIGH UP IN SOME PARLIAMENT ROOM I’M HAVING EXHIBITION (sic) AT GERBERS AND AND THIS AFTERNOON / I’D LOVE TO SEE YOU. I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT CH’D LET IT’S POETIC FLAG GET SO RENEWED. I’M HOPING FOR A VERY GREAT CREATIVE RESP. FROM THE BERN INTELLECTUALS? HELP? I DO HOPE YOU LIKE LITTLE SHORT GOLD SUMMER FLAG TOO? REGARDS AND THANK YOU B.” The words are hard to read in places but as usual Byars is being both flattering and hinting at a possible commission from the reader at the same time. The “little short gold summer flag” may well refer to the two shaped gold pieces of paper the letter is written on. Byars was always very admiring of the simplicity of the Swiss flag.
Both folded parts of the letter are housed in an original 13 x 17.7cm white enveleope on which Byars has drawn a large letter “J” in his starry handwriting style.
Paul Jolles was a Swiss diplomat who Byars befriended after he met the artist at the Toni Gerber Gallery in Bern. Apart from being heavily folded and the odd tiny tear at the indexes of folds this is in very good condition and is a typical brief from the romantic minimalist (if with an air of self interest about it).