Władysław Szpilman's legendary piano auctioned off for record price
Władysław Szpilman's Steinway & Sons grand piano has become the highest-sold musical instrument in the history of Poland. At Tuesday's bidding organised by Poland's oldest auction house DESA Unicum, the famous piano went for over one million zloty. The artists pen and watch, which he kept on him through his time in the Warsaw Ghetto, have also found new owners.
More than 50 items that belonged to the pianist were put on display at September's exhibition "Władysław Szpilman. Composer's Cabinet", organised by DESA Unicum auction house. On Tuesday, the artists possessions were put on auction, which had to be conducted online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The highest bid was made for Szpilman's Steinway & Sons grand piano, which was sold for nearly 1,3 million zloty. The auction house announced that the whole turnover - amounting to over 2,5 million zloty - would be donated to promote Władysław Szpilman's artistic legacy worldwide.
Another high bid was offered for a Mont Blanc fountain pen from the 1930s. Its starting price was set at 10-14 thousand zloty, and yet the hammer price turned out to reach as much as 75,000 zloty (together with the buyer's premium it will reach nearly 90,000 zloty). Szpilman's silver Omega watch in an art deco style from 1934 went for nearly 250,000 zloty, with starting price at 10-16 thousand.
The two items were the only things Władysław Szpilman managed to save after being rescued from the Warsaw Ghetto during the WWII. "These amulets of sorts... Maybe they saved my father's life and gave him a chance to survive. All alone, in ruins, (...) not even able to check time? That's the last thing one can do without" - the artist's son, Andrzej Szpilman, told Fakty TVN reporter.
The chairman of DESA Unicum, Juliusz Windorbski, was quoted as saying the interest in the auction was huge, among both Polish and foreign cultural institutions, as well as private collectors around the world. "The auction was the only chance to come into possession of personal belongings of one of the most esteemed pianists, and thus become part of this remarkable story. We believe that the auction's success opens a new era in Polish auction business" - Windorbski said.
Most of the auctioned items had been present in the family home of the Szpilman's, as their sons recall. "Each day you could hear Chopin, Rachmaninov, all pieces, which father used to practice" - Andrzej Szpilman said.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, tvnwarszawa.pl
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: DESA Unicum