[Igor Stravinsky] Wooden Tea Table from the Stravinsky Collection, ca. 1940
Wooden tea table owned by the Stravinsky family, ca. late 19th/early 20th c., likely acquired in California ca. 1940, where it was very much a part of daily life. Stravinsky and his wife Vera used this table for their afternoon tea and patience games, as well as evening drinks. Smoking accompanied all of these activities, and the cigarette burns scattered across the surface of the table were deliberately preserved when the table was refinished in 2009. 40 inches in diameter plus two nesting extension leaves. Together with a digital image of the composer shown working at the table and a signed letter of provenance.
Provenance: By family descent, from the niece of Robert Lawson Craft (1923–2015), the American conductor and writer best known for his intimate professional relationship with Igor Stravinsky. Craft received the table from Vera Stravinsky after the composer's death, and he subsequently passed it on to his niece, Kristin Crawford. Crawford notes "in the [photograph], Stravinsky is playing solitaire (at the table in question) in their house at N. Wetherly Drive in Hollywood. This was the daily ritual in the Stravinsky household. Both he and Madame would spend most of the day working in their studios, and in the afternoon, following a nap, they would have tea at this table, smoke cigarettes, and play patience before going back to work. They brought the table with them to New York when they moved east, where it was stationed in the living room. For the eleven years after Stravinsky’s death in their New York City apartment, Madame continued to have afternoon tea there and smoke those menthol cigarettes. Casual daytime socializing took place there, as well as pre-dinner drinks. We would watch the news at the table sometimes as the TV was nearby." Crawford remarks at the end of her letter, "If this table could talk, it could report on many, many glitterati..."