Tug-of-war Over Schoenberg’s Mahler Photo

In Brief: Music, Dec. 2012/Jan. 2013

autographed photograph of Mahler

Schoenberg’s autographed photograph of Mahler made headlines | Photo: schoenblog.com

After finding an autographed photo of composer Gustav Mahler in his boiler room, Cliff Fraser, a Los Angeles resident, has become mixed up in an ownership battle.

The long-lost print was a gift to Arnold Schoenberg, and was found to be missing from its frame 25 years ago by his daughter Nuria Schoenberg Nono. Fraser offered to sell the photo back to the Schoenberg family for $350,000, denying any knowledge of the Mahler/Schoenberg connection. Fraser insists that the photo was a gift from Schoenberg to his grandfather, Abraham Fraser, a music pupil in New York. Schoenberg’s daughter deems this highly unlikely, insisting “Mahler was the most important person in his life, his musical life.”

The family argues that a Mahler memento could not have been given as a present to anyone and was most likely “taken improperly” from Schoenberg’s possessions.

As there still may be a settlement, no court date has been set, but the Schoenberg family blog has given the case significant publicity, making international musical headlines.

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