Martha Graham

All Categories Martha Graham Autograph Letter Signed to Artist Carlos Dyer

Martha Graham

Autograph Letter Signed to Artist Carlos Dyer - 1940

Autograph Letter Signed by modern dancer and American choreographer Martha Graham, to her former lover the artist Carlos Dyer. On Hotel Adolphus (Dallas, TX) stationery dated February 24, 1940, while Graham was on tour with her dance company. On two pages in fine condition with original stamped envelope:


Your letter came — and the moving lithographs before I left New York. I have wanted to write but we have traveled fast. I hope to see you soon. I arrive the evening of the 28th and will go to the Biltmore. I understand there is press — but please call me there. Mother will be with me. My step father died in December. She will meet me.

I understand Long Beach is out, so I will have a little more time. Please call me—so we can plan. I look forward to seeing you. My love to Ramiel.
To you — always —


Martha Graham (1894-1991) was an American modern dancer and choreographer whose influence on dance has been compared with the influence Picasso had on the modern visual arts, Stravinsky had on music, or Frank Lloyd Wright had on architecture.

She danced and choreographed for over seventy years. Graham was the first dancer to perform at the White House, travel abroad as a cultural ambassador, and receive the highest civilian award of the US: the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In her lifetime she received honors ranging from the Key to the City of Paris to Japan’s Imperial Order of the Precious Crown. She said, in the 1994 documentary The Dancer Revealed, “I have spent all my life with dance and being a dancer. It’s permitting life to use you in a very intense way. Sometimes it is not pleasant. Sometimes it is fearful. But nevertheless it is inevitable.” Her style, the Graham technique, fundamentally reshaped American dance and is still taught worldwide.


Born in Springfield, Missouri in 1917, Carlos Dyer grew up in Southern California, where he was influenced by high school teachers to nurture his artistic abilities. During the Depression in the 1930s Carlos worked for the WPA, the largest and most ambitious New Deal American infrastructure program that gave hope to millions of unemployed people, including major artistic and literacy projects. Among those he worked on in his youth, at least one still remains today: a massive 22′ x 44′ prized mural at Woodrow Wilson High School circa 1938, entitled “Democratic Education.”

Having had mutual friends in the art world—among them Ramiel McGehee, Merle Armitrage, Lincoln Kirstein, Monroe Wheeler, and Edward Steichen—Carlos eventually met Martha Graham, with whom he had a relationship for several years, and during which these letters were exchanged. Just prior to enlisting in World War II, Dyer married one of Graham’s company dancers, Charlotte Trowbridge, and after the war taught at various esteemed art colleges and institutes. His works have been shown in the Museum of Modern Art in NY, the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Collection, and other prominent venues. Carlos Dyer passed away in May 2016 at the age of 99.