Albert Einstein (1879-1955).

Carte-de-visite portrait photograph by Gottfried Wolfsgruber, Aarau (Switzerland), n.d. [October 1895 - September 1896], signed by Einstein on the verso and inscribed to his parents and sister Maja, 'Meinen lieben Eltern und der lieben Maya [sic], / Ihr / Albert'.

Mounted on stiff card, photographer's printed signature and details on lower margin and verso; gilt edges. 104 x 64mm including mount.

Maja Winteler-Einstein (1881-1951) – her husband Paul Winteler (1882-1952) – Besso family.
Special notice
Please note this lot is the property of a consumer. See H1 of the Conditions of Sale.
Brought to you by

Lot Essay

A signed photograph sent home to his parents.

Having failed the entrance exam for the Zurich Polytechnic in October 1895 (he achieved exceptional grades in maths and physics, but failed the general paper), Einstein was advised to complete his secondary education at the reputable cantonal school in Aarau. He enrolled there on 26 October, and remained until he completed his Matura examinations in September 1896. During his time in Aarau, Einstein lodged with the Winteler family, who were to play a significant role in his life: his first known love affair was with one of the Winteler daughters, Marie, whilst his sister Maja was to marry Marie's brother Paul, and his closest friend, Michele Besso, married Marie's sister Anna.

We can trace only one other version of this portrait at auction, a cabinet-sized print inscribed to Einstein's childhood friend Albert Karr (sold at Sotheby's, 1 December 2010, lot 197). These are by far the earliest known signed photographs by Einstein.
Post Lot Text
Temporary Admission Regime
This lot has been imported from outside the EU for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime.
Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

Shipping Outside the UK
Please note that if this lot is to be shipped outside of the UK an export licence will be required.  A period of 2 weeks should be allowed for the application to be processed.

Related Articles

More from
Einstein and Family: Letters and Portraits
Place your bid Condition report

A Christie's specialist may contact you to discuss this lot or to notify you if the condition changes prior to the sale.

I confirm that I have read this Important Notice regarding Condition Reports and agree to its terms. View Condition Report