One of the Earliest Calligraphic Works by Thomas Merton

  • Thomas Merton Original Calligraphic Artwork.

Thomas Merton Original Calligraphic Artwork.

$20,000.00

Item Number: 17032

Original signed artwork from Thomas Merton. In the last decade of his life, while living as a hermit-monk in dialogue with the world, Thomas Merton created a body of visual art, drawing from the Zen Buddhist tradition. When he was a student at Columbia University, Merton sought out a Hindu monk named Bramachari for counsel. The monk advised Merton to follow his own Christian tradition to find what he was most deeply looking for. A strong admirer of Gandhi, Merton also noted how Gandhi, a Hindu, had found a congenial ‘ second home’ of sorts in the Christian Sermon on the Mount. In the 1950’s Merton began exploring Buddhism, especially Zen Buddhism. He thought he found some resonance between Zen and the Desert Fathers. Merton sent a copy of his study of the Desert Fathers to Daisetsu Suzuki, the leading exponent of Zen in the west. They began a long correspondence in the late 1950’s, and Suzuki’s influence can be seen in Merton’s artwork. Includes a letter from activist W.H. Ferry, which reads, “4/3/68 For Mary Sue Dilliard: Daisetsu Suzuki told Father Tom Merton in 1965 that the only way finally to understand Zen was to practice calligraphy. This is the result: one of Tom’s earliest calligraphs. W.H. Ferry.” On the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions letterhead, which Ferry was the Vice President. Matted and framed in what looks to be the original frame, which measures 13 inches by 15 inches. Calligraphy drawing measures 9 inches by 12.5 inches. On the verso of the frame, it includes various Merton material including numerous clippings. Original artwork by Merton is exceptionally rare in the marketplace.

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