Heritage

Mailer Self Portrait Auction

Bloomsbury Auctions will offer a self-portrait made by Norman Mailer in the sixties. The drawing is in the literary self-portrait collection of Burt Britton and was included in his 1976 book Self-Portrait. Britton writes:

It was the mid-sixties, it was below ground in The Village Vanguard, and, as Old Blue Eyes would say, “It’s – a – quarter – to – three – & – there’s – no – one – in – this – place – except – you – & – me” – I was behind the bar, Norman was on a stool, the group had been long gone, and Norman wouldn’t go home. He kept asking, “What do you want from me, Kid?” and I kept saying, “I want to lock up, go home, get some sleep.” And he’d repeat, “What do you want from me, Kid?” I kept feeding him drinks as I did all the necessaries that had to be done before closing, and when there was nothing left to be done but turn out the lights and lock the door, I said, “Norman, you really have to go.” But again, he insisted on another round, and another round of “What do you want,” etc. What was I to do? This was the writer who wrote the amazing Advertisements for Myself, a book that to this day still excites my sensibilities. This was, then, Norman Mailer. So, finally, and to this day I have no idea why I said, “Norman, here, on this piece of paper, do a self-portrait for me, drink your drink, and let’s call it a night.” And that initial drawing, done after hours at the bar of the fabled Vanguard, this self-portrait done by Mailer, which fascinated me then and fascinates me still – began all this madness.

See lot 113 at Bloomsbury Auctions.