A close-up view of the back of the ‘Meet The Beatles!’ album shows the signatures of the Fab Four. Image courtesy of Case Antiques Inc.

Bidders have shot at signed Beatles album at Case’s sale

A close-up view of the back of the ‘Meet The Beatles!’ album shows the signatures of the Fab Four. Image courtesy of Case Antiques Inc.

A close-up view of the back of the ‘Meet The Beatles!’ album shows the signatures of the Fab Four. Image courtesy of Case Antiques Inc.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On Saturday, Oct. 1, Case Antiques Inc. Auctions & Appraisals will gavel one of the most anticipated pieces of Beatles memorabilia to ever hit the market: a Meet The Beatles! album signed by all four Beatles at the time of their American debut on American TV. It tells the behind-the-scenes story of which the public was unaware: the illness that almost kept one of the Fab Four from being part of that legendary performance.

The album comes from the estate of Dr. Jules Gordon, a former house physician at New York’s Plaza Hotel, and will be included in Case’s Fall auction, which will take place at the company’s gallery in Knoxville. LiveAuctioneers.com will facilitate Internet live bidding.

On Sunday, Feb. 9, 1964, The Beatles made their historic live debut on the Ed Sullivan Show, attracting more than 73 million viewers. But, the day before the show, there was concern that one of the band members, George Harrison, might miss the big moment because of strep throat.

Thomas Buckley noted in the New York Times on Feb. 8, 1964, “Mr. Harrison, who is known as the quiet Beatle, awoke yesterday with a sore throat. He was treated by Dr. Jules Gordon, used a vaporizer and rejoined his colleagues at the studio late in the afternoon. ‘I should be perfect for tomorrow,’ he said.”

But the situation was more serious than they let on. Photographs taken by Dezo Hoffman during the Saturday afternoon rehearsal show Neil Aspinall sitting in for Harrison. And in the book The Beatles Off The Record by Keith Badman, Harrison’s sister, Louise Caldwell, recalled: “The doctor said he couldn’t do the Ed Sullivan Show because he had a temperature of 104! But they pumped him with everything. He was thinking about getting a nurse to administer the medicine, every hour on the hour. Then the doctor suddenly realized that I was there and was his sister and he said to me, ‘Would you see to it? It’s probably just as well that you’re here because I don’t think there’s a single female in the city that isn’t crazy about The Beatles! You’re probably the only one who could function around him normally.’”

The physician who treated Harrison was Dr. Jules Gordon, the house doctor at the Plaza Hotel from 1942 until 1985. Dr. Gordon was called to the Presidential Suites on the 12th floor where The Beatles were staying. As a doctor who treated many celebrities, Dr. Gordon didn’t fawn over The Beatles. “He was very unassuming and treated everyone with the same respect, no matter who they were. People just took to him,” remembers a Gordon family member. Dr. Gordon met The Beatles on at least two occasions during their visit to New York for the Ed Sullivan Show and commented to his family that the band members were very accommodating and likeable each time.

The album signed for Dr. Gordon reads “To Doc Gordon thanks for the JABS from George Harrison,” followed by the signatures of Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Ringo Starr.

Frank Caiazoo, an expert with 24 years of experience studying and authenticating Beatles autographs, notes in the letter of authentication which accompanies the album that “The ‘jabs’ referred to were the numerous shots administered by the doctor in his efforts to assure that George would be able to take the stage that night. As it turned out, the performance was The Beatles’ most important … ever. The good doctor did his job well and all four members of the band went on as planned, stepping full force into music and television history.”

The Meet The Beatles! album included the group’s first U.S. chart-topping hit I Want to Hold Your Hand. It was released in the U.S. on Jan. 20, 1964 just ahead of the band’s first U.S. tour, and less than three weeks before The Beatles signed it for Dr. Gordon.

The Meet The Beatles! album inscribed to Dr. Gordon is the only personalized album known to exist that was signed by all four Beatles at the time of their launch to fame in the U.S. on the Ed Sullivan Show. No more than 15 Beatles albums signed by all four Beatles are known to exist today. Seven are Meet the Beatles! albums.

The Gordon family is aware of three or four other albums that The Beatles signed for Dr. Gordon, including one sold by Case Antiques in its May 2011 auction for $63,250 (including buyer’s premium). It is not clear what happened to the others; the family says there are no more remaining albums in their possession.

The Meet The Beatles! album in this auction is conservatively estimated at $40,000-$45,000. “However,” said company president John Case, “this is such a rare item that the hammer price will likely be much higher. Autographs by all four Beatles on an LP from their early years are highly sought after by collectors.” As Autograph Magazine noted in an article on Jan. 25, 2011, “If you have a Beatles album signed by all four band members, you’ve got something quite valuable. Albums in good condition typically range from about $15,000 for the most common one, Please Please Me, to well over $100,000 for some of the rarest albums, especially U.S. releases … Band-signed Beatles albums are very hard to come by.”

This remarkable piece of Beatles history coincides with the television debut of Martin Scorsese’s two-part documentary, George Harrison: Living in a Material World, which will air on HBO on Oct. 5 and 6.

The Meet The Beatles! album has been authenticated by the world’s leading expert, Frank Caiazzo, the only autograph authenticator in the world who specializes solely in Beatles signed and handwritten material. A signed authentication letter from Caiazzo is included with the album, verifying its provenance and authenticity.

To authenticate the album, Caiazzo compared the signatures on the album to his vast archive of authenticated Beatles autographs and determined that not only were the autographs indeed genuine, but also that they date precisely from the period of the Beatles’ first visit to America in early 1964.

The auction will be held at Case’s gallery in the historic Cherokee Mills Building, 2240 Sutherland Ave. in Knoxville. The sale will begin at 9:30 a.m. Eastern. A preview will take place on Friday, Sept. 30, from noon to 6 p.m. Eastern.

For more information and to view the online catalog, see www.caseantiques.com, or call the gallery in Knoxville at 865-558-3033 or the Nashville office at 615-812-6096.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


The term ‘Beatlemania’ was already coined on the liner notes of the ‘Meet The Beatles!’ album. Image courtesy of Case Antiques Inc.

The term ‘Beatlemania’ was already coined on the liner notes of the ‘Meet The Beatles!’ album. Image courtesy of Case Antiques Inc.

In Memoriam: Philip ‘P. Bill’ Hacking, 72

UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J. – Evelyn Leighton, president of Leighton Galleries, wishes to inform the antiques community of the death of Philip Hacking, 72, a longtime resident of Clifton, N.J. He died Aug. 26. He was known by many as “P. Bill.”

“Phil was a staple at our auctions, and also worked with us for many years at the tag sales,” said Leighton. “He started out as a consignor and soon became a respected colleague and friend.

“Phil’s love of antiques goes back many years evident by the great stories we have heard. Phil was always more than happy to share what he knew about art, antiques and all things good. His passion for the industry never faltered, nor did his zest for life. Phil always had a kind word for everyone, and he was ever exciting to be around,” said Leighton, who described Mr. Hacking as a true mentor and connoisseur.

Mr. Hacking was born in Lancaster, England. He also worked as a mechanic for Belleville Finishing Corp. for 10 years.

He is survived by his wife, the former Dragica Djurovic; his children, Aleksandar and Snezana; his brother, Frank; and a granddaughter.

Additional information was provided by NorthJersey.com .

 

 

 

 

 

 

J.G. Brown, (American 1831-1913) , ‘The Little Street Sweeper,’ dated 1865. Estimate: $15,000-$25,000. Image courtesy of Trinity International Auctions.

Trinity International has 230 works for fine art auction Oct. 1

J.G. Brown, (American 1831-1913) , ‘The Little Street Sweeper,’ dated 1865. Estimate: $15,000-$25,000. Image courtesy of Trinity International Auctions.

J.G. Brown, (American 1831-1913) , ‘The Little Street Sweeper,’ dated 1865. Estimate: $15,000-$25,000. Image courtesy of Trinity International Auctions.

AVON, Conn. – Trinity International Auctions will conduct its fall auction of fine art and sculpture Saturday, Oct. 1, starting at noon Eastern. The auction will include 230 works and feature works by David Burliuk, Andy Warhol, Ralph Scarlett, Frederick Mulhaupt and J.G. Brown. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide Internet live bidding.

In 1984, Andy Warhol created a print of ice hockey star Wayne Gretzky. It was Warhol’s intent to draw attention to the Canadian art market. Though Warhol was not a big hockey fan, he said of Gretzky, “He is more than a hockey player, he’s an entertainer.” Gretzky was Canada’s biggest celebrity in the 1980s and is still considered by many to be the greatest player of the game. The print is hand signed by Warhol and numbered 210/300. What makes it rarer is that it is signed by Gretzky lower right. This is one of the few pieces that is signed by Warhol and Gretzky jointly.

Another highlight is Frederick John Mulhaupt’s Hillside Farm on Cape Ann. Mulhaupt is considered the “Dean of the Cape Ann School” and this work was loaned to the North Shore Art Association in 1998 for the retrospective of the artist’s work. The 38- by 38-inch canvas was obtained from the artist’s wife by the present collector in 1963 and is pictured in the book that accompanies this lot.

The auction is strong in traditional American work, which include two pieces by Charles Warren Eaton—Winter Sunset in the Woods and Summer Landscape. Several other works are August Laux’s Chickens and Ducks in a Barnyard from an estate in New Rochelle, N.Y., Levi Prentice Wells’ Still life with Watermelon and Fruits and George W. Nicholson’s Romancing in the Snow.

A real jewel of the American offerings is a work by Arthur Bowen Davies titled Woodland Idyl, 1894. The provenance on the painting is from the artist’s grandson, Niles Davies, through Adelson Galleries to Herbert Brill, a noted collector of Davies’ works. The painting was exhibited in 1998 in Babcock Galleries, New York City.

J.G. Brown is represented with a strong work titled The Little Street Sweeper, dated 1865, whose provenance includes David Findlay Jr. Gallery in New York. Trinity has built a strong reputation for offering Russian work and this auction has numerous Russian works. David Burliuk is a favorite and this auction features five of his works; among them, Florida, dated 1961, Still Life With Flowers, Italy and a particularly charming work, Two Red Horses, which was executed prior to his arrival in America. Nicolai Fechin is represented with a charcoal work titled Head of a Woman from a private collection in New Jersey.

Other important Russian artists include Leon Baskt, Boris Kustodiev, Antolio Sokoloft, Michail Guermacheff, Konstatin Somov and Prince Paolo Troubetzkoy. Two particularly important works by Nicholai Sverchkov, A Groom and his Horse and Savely Sorine, a portrait of Prince Obolenoky, round out the Russian offerings.

Featured from European artists is a collection from a physician in Dalton, Ga., with works by Edward Smythe, Henry Dawson and Pieter Dommersen. Two fresh paintings to the market by Italian artist Michele Cascella from a collection in New York are additional highlights.

Previews will be conducted Thursday, Sept. 29, noon until 5 p.m. and Saturday, day of the auction, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Trinity International Auctions is at 2 Arts Center Lane. For information, 860-677-9996.

View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Frederick John Mulhaupt (American 1871-1938), ‘Hillside Farm’ (probably Annisquam, Mass.), oil on canvas, 38 by 38 inches, signed lower left, titled on stretcher. Image courtesy of Trinity International Auctions.

Frederick John Mulhaupt (American 1871-1938), ‘Hillside Farm’ (probably Annisquam, Mass.), oil on canvas, 38 by 38 inches, signed lower left, titled on stretcher. Image courtesy of Trinity International Auctions.

David Davidovich Burliuk (Russian/American 1882-1967), ‘Florida,’ 1961, oil on canvas, 24 x 26 incnes, signed lower right. Estimate: $12,000-$18,000. Image courtesy of Trinity International Auctions.

David Davidovich Burliuk (Russian/American 1882-1967), ‘Florida,’ 1961, oil on canvas, 24 x 26 incnes, signed lower right. Estimate: $12,000-$18,000. Image courtesy of Trinity International Auctions.

Nicolai Fechin (Russian/American 1881-1955),  ‘Head of a Woman,’ charcoal, 15 x 10 inches, signed lower right. Estimate: $5,000-$7,500. Image courtesy of Trinity International Auctions.

Nicolai Fechin (Russian/American 1881-1955), ‘Head of a Woman,’ charcoal, 15 x 10 inches, signed lower right. Estimate: $5,000-$7,500. Image courtesy of Trinity International Auctions.

Michele Cascella, (Italian 1892-1989), ‘Field of Flowers,’ oil on canvas, 27 x 39 inches, signed lower left. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. Image courtesy of Trinity International Auctions.

Michele Cascella, (Italian 1892-1989), ‘Field of Flowers,’ oil on canvas, 27 x 39 inches, signed lower left. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. Image courtesy of Trinity International Auctions.

Nicolai Equorovich Sverchko (Russian 1817-1898), ‘Horse,’ oil on board, 13 x 10 inches, signed lower right. Estimate: Image courtesy of Trinity International Auctions. $4,000-$6,000. Image courtesy of Trinity International Auctions.

Nicolai Equorovich Sverchko (Russian 1817-1898), ‘Horse,’ oil on board, 13 x 10 inches, signed lower right. Estimate: Image courtesy of Trinity International Auctions. $4,000-$6,000. Image courtesy of Trinity International Auctions.

The Psalms scroll, pictured with the Hebrew transcription included, is not among the first five Dead Sea scrolls available online. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls go online

The Psalms scroll, pictured with the Hebrew transcription included, is not among the first five Dead Sea scrolls available online. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Psalms scroll, pictured with the Hebrew transcription included, is not among the first five Dead Sea scrolls available online. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

JERUSALEM (AP) – Two thousand years after they were written and decades after they were found in desert caves, some of the world-famous Dead Sea Scrolls went online for the first time on Monday in a project launched by Israel’s national museum and web giant Google.

The appearance of five of the most important Dead Sea scrolls on the Internet is part of a broader attempt by the custodians of the celebrated manuscripts—who were once criticized for allowing them to be monopolized by small circles of scholars—to make them available to anyone with a computer.

The scrolls include the biblical Book of Isaiah, the manuscript known as the Temple Scroll and three others. Surfers can search high-resolution images of the scrolls for specific passages, zoom in and out, and translate verses into English.

The originals are kept in a secured vault a Jerusalem building constructed specifically to house the scrolls. Access requires at least three different keys, a magnetic card and a secret code.

The five scrolls are among those purchased by Israeli researchers between 1947 and 1967 from antiquities dealers, having first been found by Bedouin shepherds in the Judean Desert.

The scrolls, considered by many to be the most significant archaeological find of the 20th century, are thought to have been written or collected by an ascetic Jewish sect that fled Jerusalem for the desert 2,000 years ago and settled at Qumran, on the banks of the Dead Sea. The hundreds of manuscripts that survived, partially or in full, in caves near the site, have shed light on the development of the Hebrew Bible and the origins of Christianity.

The most complete scrolls are held by the Israel Museum, with more large pieces and smaller fragments found in other institutions and private collections. Tens of thousands of fragments from 900 Dead Sea manuscripts are held by the Israel Antiquities Authority, which has begun its own project to put them online in conjunction with Google. That project, aimed chiefly at scholars, is set to be complete by 2016, at which point nearly all of the scrolls will be available on the Internet.

_______

Online:

http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-09-26-11 1445GMT

An example of a wooden Baoule mask. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Malter Galleries Inc.

Looters plunder $8.5M from Ivory Coast museum

An example of a wooden Baoule mask. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Malter Galleries Inc.

An example of a wooden Baoule mask. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Malter Galleries Inc.

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) – Looters stormed Ivory Coast’s national museum during the country’s bloody political crisis earlier this year, plundering nearly $8.5 million worth of art including the institution’s entire gold collection.

Five months later, the museum’s gates still open and close at the posted hours, but empty display cases gather dust. A lone set of elephant tusks sits in the dark in the museum’s main exposition room.

And staff member Oumar Gbane now spends his days making a handwritten inventory of what was stolen since his computer was among the items taken.

“No tourists can come here. There is nothing to see,” he laments. The pillage was the first in the museum’s 70-year history.

Doran Ross, former director of the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles, says the Abidjan museum used to be “one of the best maintained in Africa.”

Student groups and tourists once filled the museum’s halls to view the corpse-like Senoufo statues depicting armless ghosts of ancestors and the dark wooden Baoule masks with elongated eyes and narrow mouths.

They saw delicate Akan pendants abstractly depicting animals in shiny gold, sacred Yohoure masks of antelopes with a human faces, and Baoule chest ornaments made of beads and golden disks etched with images of fish and crocodiles.

Ivorian artist and author Veronique Tadjo, who resides in South Africa, says the collection reflected “the various areas (of the country) that now need to reconcile.”

“Young people will be deprived of these treasures that are part of our identity—what makes us proud, what makes us a nation,” Tadjo says.

Museum director Silvie Memel Kassi says the thieves knew which pieces to take: The 17th century gold was stolen but less valuable pieces were not even touched.

In normal times, the museum property seems cut off from the billowing exhaust fumes and endless blocks of high rises outside. Stepping inside the museum walls, one enters a verdant place where tropical hardwoods, palm and banana trees flourish undisturbed.

During the violence, snipers made the property their own sanctuary, using the rooftop of the museum to stage attacks. Many of the bullet-shattered windows in towers across the street have not been replaced yet. When it rains, water leaks through bullet holes in the building’s rusted metal roof.

In November, former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to leave office following a contested election, and five months later the country was on the brink of civil war. Members of the military, militia men and residents picked up arms in Abidjan.

On March 30, the ongoing violence that followed the election intensified around the museum, Gbane says. Museum workers went home not knowing they wouldn’t return for weeks. Like most residents of the city, they locked themselves inside their homes, unable to leave except for perilous trips to find food.

No one was there to guard the museum. It was not a safe place to be, situated between the military headquarters and government buildings.

When Gbane returned on April 18, he found the thick cement walls were punctured on the front of the building and there was a pile of rubble on the museum’s entrance.

After the looting Kassi contacted Interpol, and Ivorian customs officials have been ordered to watch for the plundered objects, Kassi says. But Ivory Coast’s borders are porous and the pieces could be easily smuggled into neighboring countries without detection.

Museum pillages have been a byproduct of war for centuries. In 2003, looters in Iraq plundered 15,000 priceless artifacts that dated from the Stone Age and Babylon to the Assyrians. Afghanistan’s museums have been systematically stripped of ancient artifacts for decades.

Often stolen art is only discovered when the thieves try to sell the pieces to museums or art collectors, says Ross, the art historian.

One danger is the gold could be melted down and disguised. Kassi thinks the thieves are too smart to do such a thing. “It doesn’t have the same value. They know,” she says.

Ross says the gold itself has low karat values and would not even be worth much melted down.

“The real value of the work is the artistic quality,” he says. “This is a major loss, not just for Ivory Coast or Africa but for a much larger world,” says Ross.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-09-23-11 1200GMT

Sculptor Zurab Tsereteli (left) with the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver in an undated photo. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Colossal Columbus statue cannot find home

Sculptor Zurab Tsereteli (left) with the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver in an undated photo. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Sculptor Zurab Tsereteli (left) with the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver in an undated photo. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – It would be the tallest structure in the Caribbean and among the tallest statues in the world, a monument to Christopher Columbus in a region where he has not been regarded highly for many years.

So far, though, the nearly 300-foot bronze likeness of The Great Explorer just seems like a monumental morass or perhaps a colossal joke. Originally intended to grace the skies of a major U.S. city, it has been shuffled from one locale to another and lies in pieces as a businessman and the mayor of the small Puerto Rican town of Arecibo try to finally erect it overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on the island’s north coast.

But this still may not be the final chapter in what has so far been a 20-year saga. The statue’s final resting place is far from certain: Its backers must gather a long list of permits, including from the Federal Aviation Administration, to install a monument so tall it could interfere with air traffic. And now, Puerto Rican officials are competing to bring it to their parts of the island as a lure to tourists.

Then there is the fact that the roughly 600-ton statue, like many other large-scale public works, inspires more criticism than awe, especially since Columbus is commonly viewed now as the harbinger of genocide rather than the discoverer of the New World.

“To be honest, it’s a monstrosity,” says Cristina Rivera, a longtime activist against the creation of private beaches in Arecibo who has been vocal about her opposition to erecting a giant Columbus in her town. “Why do we have to bring such an exaggerated piece of work here?”

It’s just that kind of reaction that has doomed the project in the past and could do so again.

Russian artist Zurab Tsereteli, 77, built the statue in 1991 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ 1492 arrival in the Western Hemisphere. The artist is internationally renowned for giant, expensive and sometimes unwanted works. But his pieces have found a home in the U.S. before, including in front of the United Nations headquarters in New York, and he remains confident his rendition of the Great Explorer will eventually reach a destination.

Tsereteli, in an email interview with The Associated Press, notes that even the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower faced criticism and challenges.

“Now they are symbols,” he said. “Without those symbols, those places would be unimaginable.”

During a visit to Russia in 1990, U.S. President George H. W. Bush stopped by Tsereteli’s studio in Moscow and picked one Columbus model out of three presented to him. In September 1994, Tsereteli traveled to the U.S. with then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin and presented the chosen model to President Bill Clinton.

South Florida was one of the first proposed locations for the statue, which features Columbus with shoulder-length hair, an unusually sharp and straight nose and large and slightly protruding eyes reminiscent of a Cubist painting.

One county commissioner joked it would make a good artificial reef while another suggested they could just display the head and not bother with the rest of the statue. Some also worried about erecting something that would pay homage to a person associated with slave trading and brutal colonization.

The statue then made its rounds through New York, Ohio and Maryland, with no success.

“Various private organizations said they would put it up,” said Emily Madoff, Tsereteli’s spokeswoman. “Then they realize what’s involved in something so big. … You just don’t plunk it on top of the land.”

In 1998, Puerto Rican Gov. Pedro Rosello accepted it as a gift and spent $2.4 million in public funds to bring it to the island. Then the mayor of Catano, a suburb of San Juan that draws thousands of tourists to its Bacardi rum distillery, requested the statue.

But the plan ran into trouble when aviation authorities said the proposed location would interfere with flight paths, and residents whose homes would have to be demolished to make way for the statue protested the plans. Then Columbus went into storage. “It was awful, really awful,” Madoff said. “It just sat there.”

In 2008, a port management company, Holland Group Ports Investments, agreed to take the statue and store it in the western coastal city of Mayaguez, where it remains. A Russian crew recently flew there and ensured that most of the 2,700 pieces still fit together as plans seemed to move forward in Arecibo.

Arecibo Mayor Lemuel Soto says the statue would add to the allure of the town, which draws people to its limestone caves and one of the world’s largest telescopes. Madoff says funding should not pose a problem, that investors have the $20 million it would take to erect the statue.

But now that the permit process is under way, a new threat has emerged. Puerto Rican Rep. David Bonilla has begun lobbying to put up the statue to lure tourists to the western corner of the U.S. territory, perhaps on the island of Desecheo, which is uninhabited except for the occasional errant Dominican migrant trying to escape the U.S. Border Patrol.

San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini, an influential figure on the island, also has weighed in, saying he wants Columbus in the capital. Santini envisions it near a popular lagoon or even atop an old landfill.

The artist’s spokeswoman insists it’s too late to start looking for a new site and that Columbus will rise in Arecibo.

History says otherwise.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-09-26-11 1249GMT

Dealer Melissa Williams tries to convince customers that Missouri is not in the backwater of American art. An example is George Caleb Bingham’s 'Fur Traders Descending the Missouri,' a famous oil on canvas painted in 1845. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Dealer helps others rediscover Midwest’s fine art

Dealer Melissa Williams tries to convince customers that Missouri is not in the backwater of American art. An example is George Caleb Bingham’s 'Fur Traders Descending the Missouri,' a famous oil on canvas painted in 1845. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Dealer Melissa Williams tries to convince customers that Missouri is not in the backwater of American art. An example is George Caleb Bingham’s ‘Fur Traders Descending the Missouri,’ a famous oil on canvas painted in 1845. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – Tucked away above the Ninth Street bustle and within earshot of the strains of saxophone-playing outside Lakota Coffee is Melissa Williams’ art gallery. The dealer—part of a Midwest minority—shares her penchant for 19th- and 20th-century American art with experience, modesty and aplomb, running the understated jewel of a gallery in conjunction with antique dealer Douglas Solliday. Paintings of fascinating origin and varied style grace the walls as Solliday’s furniture, and historical ephemera anchor the two-dimensional art. The two have sold at art and antique shows together since 1981 and have shared a business space since 1995.

Williams grew up in Columbia and studied art history at the University of Missouri. “The two art forms that really please me are paintings and—this sounds funny—the art of small business,” she said. “I love being downtown, where there are all these single-owner small businesses.” Her establishment is part of that group of healthy small-market endeavors around downtown. But the wealth of history begging to be unearthed in her search for high-quality fine art, she said, also has been a draw to stay in Mid-Missouri over the years.

Mary Pixley, associate curator at MU’s Museum of Art and Archaeology, respects Williams immensely, she said in an email. “Gallery owners of Melissa’s quality rarely choose to set up shop in out-of-the-way places like Columbia. The fact that she shares her expertise with Columbia, Missouri, is a statement about how much she cares about art and the city of Columbia.”

Williams’ gallery is open Fridays. Her relentless pursuit of art leads her around–and at times outside—the community. “We have to get out and buy each object individually,” she said. “People like to ask us, ‘Where do you find your things?’ as though there’s a store. We just have to say, ‘No, you could find them, too.’” It is simply a matter of a dogged tracking-down of particular works and artists, she added.

She not only sells art to Missourians but also on the coasts; this summer, for example, she sold art in Newport, R.I., to which collectors from Nantucket often travel. “The Midwest—with with certain pockets—is still the least expensive place to buy antiques,” she said. “There’s really much more interest everywhere in the country about regional things … I think as we get more international, everybody is looking for the roots of the places they live in.”

Several books have been written about the material culture of states such as California, Pennsylvania and Texas, Williams said, but no prominent books have been written about how to collect artifacts and art from Missouri. That keeps the prices low. “I think Missourians” might be tempted to buy into “the East Coast view of our cultural heritage, that there really isn’t anything to our cultural history,” she said. “Which is so totally wrong.”

An art dealer at a coastal show once asked her to name one Missouri-based work of art that is an American icon. She immediately rattled off Fur Traders Descending the Missouri, an 1845 painting by the renowned George Caleb Bingham, now possessed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “He looked at me, and he just said, ‘You can’t count that,’” she remembered.

But Williams is expectant that as Missourians and out-of-state visitors continue to discover the unparalleled art inside the Capitol at Jefferson City, and rediscover historically renowned artists from St. Louis and the colony of Ste. Genevieve, appropriate appreciation for Missouri art and its material culture will flourish.

At the core of Williams’ passion lies an impulse to find art by Midwesterners who once were well-known but have been forgotten by today’s art world. She consistently looks for art by those who painted massive lunettes inside the Capitol, including the likes of Thomas Barnett and Frank Nuderscher. In the 19th and 20th centuries, she explained, artists would work with a dealer, who would often have a large body of work to represent. After artists passed away, dealers stopped representing them, “and so, a great painter becomes forgotten,” Williams said. Afterward, there is “this gap where nobody is paying any attention—and then it comes back.”

“I sell to a lot of people who couldn’t care less about how old it is, but they want something that is very different,” she added. “They haven’t seen anything like this before, and so they’ll search in the past. They’re just fascinated by the innovation that the artist brought.”

Williams sells to many collectors who initially buy a painting for its aesthetic and later become enticed by its history. “I think people will sometimes buy a painting from me as decoration. And then two or three years later, they’ll call me and say, ‘I lost that biography. Tell me about this artist because I keep wondering: Who is this artist whose painting I look at every day?’

“It’s a learning of not just what you like but what you’re fascinated by that can be a portal to you to all sorts of discovery within yourself or learning about the artist or learning about the era that it was painted in,” she said. “There’s so much more than just the word ‘like.’”

___

Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, http://www.columbiatribune.com

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 

AP-WF-09-23-11 1430GMT

Classic car stolen, dog is killed during break-in

THONOTOSASSA, Fla. (AP) – Hillsborough County Sheriff’s detectives are searching for whomever broke into a barn and stole a classic car and killed the family’s dog.

The break-in happened sometime between Wednesday and Thursday. The barn is an antiques shop that is open to the public occasionally.

A 1972 Plymouth Satellite was stolen. Two motorcycles were also removed from the barn and placed into the victim’s truck. Detectives said it’s likely the suspect couldn’t get the truck started and left it and the motorcycles behind.

A 3-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback mix dog named Ellie Mae was killed.

Anyone with any information can call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 813-247-8200 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-8477.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-09-24-11 0704GMT

 

 

 

 

George V silver presentation trophy, ‘The Alexander Channel Cup,’ Birmingham, 1910, Elkington & Co., makers, inscribed, ‘The Alexander Channel Cup Presented To Henry F. Sullivan. Who Swam the English Channel, Aug. 5th & 6th 1923 ...’ Estimate: $30,000-$50,000. Image courtesy of Skinner Inc.

Exceptional silver to highlight Skinner auction, Oct. 14-15

George V silver presentation trophy, ‘The Alexander Channel Cup,’ Birmingham, 1910, Elkington & Co., makers, inscribed, ‘The Alexander Channel Cup Presented To Henry F. Sullivan. Who Swam the English Channel, Aug. 5th & 6th 1923 ...’ Estimate: $30,000-$50,000. Image courtesy of Skinner Inc.

George V silver presentation trophy, ‘The Alexander Channel Cup,’ Birmingham, 1910, Elkington & Co., makers, inscribed, ‘The Alexander Channel Cup Presented To Henry F. Sullivan. Who Swam the English Channel, Aug. 5th & 6th 1923 …’ Estimate: $30,000-$50,000. Image courtesy of Skinner Inc.

BOSTON – Skinner Inc. will conduct an auction of European Furniture and Decorative Arts on Oct. 14 and 15 at its Boston gallery. The sale kicks off on Friday at 4 p.m. Eastern with nearly 650 lots of fine silver. Saturday’s session II commences at 10 a.m. and includes Continental and British ceramics, glass, statuary, clocks, paintings and prints, lighting, rugs, textiles and antique furniture. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide Internet live biddings.

Fine silver highlights include a monumental and historic George V presentation trophy, “The Alexander Channel Cup,” presented to Henry F. Sullivan, a native of Lowell, Mass., and a celebrated endurance swimmer in the early 1900s. Sullivan was the first American to swim across the English Channel. This magnificent trophy is a masterpiece of silversmithing, and an historic relic of the golden era of adventure, exploration, and sporting first achievements. Lot 194 is estimated at $30,000 to $50,000.

Offered early in the sale and expected to induce heated bidding is lot 3, a yellow gold, cloisonné enamel, rock crystal bowl. The bowl Mughal, circa. 18th century, by Robert Phillips, is created in the archeological style and reflects the mid-19th century fascination with Greek and Roman antiquity. Phillips, known for his fine jeweled gold mountings on Mughal crystal bowls and archaeological-inspired jewelry exhibited at the 1867 Paris Exposition Universelle. It is likely that this bowl, with an auction value of $8,000 to $10,000, was exhibited there.

Fine silver offerings also include a diverse collection of more than 50 lots of Judaic Besamin box spice containers from European, Russian and Israeli manufacturers. Featured pieces include an Austrian filigree tower from 19th century Vienna, lot 31, estimated at $800 to $1,200; a Russian Art Nouveau tower from the first half 20th century, with an auction estimate of $600 to $800; and a modernist sterling container from the mid-20th century, lot 56A, and estimated at $1,200 to $1,500.

Finally, fine silver is highlighted by a Tiffany & Co. sterling center bowl with polar bear mask handles, lot 260, estimated at $6,000 to $8,000 and two lots by California silversmith Porter Blanchard: lot 406, a six piece Arts & Crafts tea and coffee service, estimated at $7,000 to $9,000 and lot 419A, a Modernist pitcher valued at $1,500 to $2,500.

Collections of note in Session II include an extensive grouping of English tea caddies, such as lot 1123, an ivory and green tortoiseshell harlequin tea caddy, circa 1800, estimated at $5,500 to 6,500, and lot 1129, a George III pagoda-top pressed tortoiseshell double tea caddy, circa 1810, estimated at $17,000 to $19,000. The sale also features a diverse collection of meerschaum pipes and cheroot holders, including lot 617, a large example with carved baseball players, with an auction estimate of $500 to $700.

Decorative Arts are featured by lot 1004, a grand tour micromosaic plaque, Italy, estimated at $5,000 to $7,000; lot 1017, an important mid-17th century English stumpwork Box, valued at $5,000 to $7,000; and lot 1061, a Meissen porcelain plaque, with an estimated value of $10,000 to $15,000.

Furniture highlights include a 19th century Dutch polychrome painted cupboard, lot 651, estimated at $6,000 to $8,000; lot 882, a pair of Napoleon III ebonized ormolu and Sevres-style porcelain-mounted twin beds, estimated at $12,000 to $18,000; and lot 1116, a late Jacobean carved walnut armchair, with an estimated auction value of $3,000 to $5,000.

Previews for the auction will be held on Thursday, Oct. 13, from noon to 8 p.m. and Friday, Oct. 14 from noon to 8 p.m. Illustrated catalog #2566B is available by mail for $35 ($42 for foreign requests) from the subscription department at 508-970-3240. It is also available at the gallery for $32. For details visit Skinners’ website www.skinnerinc.com or call 508-970-3000.

View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Tiffany & Co. sterling center bowl, 1865-70, set with handles formed as realistically modeled polar bear heads, 9 1/4 in inches, approximately 48.8 troy ounces. Estimate: $6,000-$8,000. Image courtesy of Skinner Inc.

Tiffany & Co. sterling center bowl, 1865-70, set with handles formed as realistically modeled polar bear heads, 9 1/4 in inches, approximately 48.8 troy ounces. Estimate: $6,000-$8,000. Image courtesy of Skinner Inc.

Dutch polychrome painted cupboard, 19th century and later, the molded pediment with panoramic scene of a stag hunt, 78 3/4 inches high, 53 inches wide, 20 1/2 deep.</p srcset=

Estimate: $6,000-$8,000. Image courtesy of Skinner Inc.” title=”Dutch polychrome painted cupboard, 19th century and later, the molded pediment with panoramic scene of a stag hunt, 78 3/4 inches high, 53 inches wide, 20 1/2 deep.

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Dutch polychrome painted cupboard, 19th century and later, the molded pediment with panoramic scene of a stag hunt, 78 3/4 inches high, 53 inches wide, 20 1/2 deep.

Estimate: $6,000-$8,000. Image courtesy of Skinner Inc.

Meissen porcelain plaque, Germany, 19th century, rectangular form polychrome enamel decorated with a depiction of ‘Semiramis Called to Arms,’ underglaze blue crossed swords mark, approximately 13 x 17 1/2 inches, mounted in a giltwood frame. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. Image courtesy of Skinner Inc.1058

Meissen porcelain plaque, Germany, 19th century, rectangular form polychrome enamel decorated with a depiction of ‘Semiramis Called to Arms,’ underglaze blue crossed swords mark, approximately 13 x 17 1/2 inches, mounted in a giltwood frame. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. Image courtesy of Skinner Inc.1058

Ivory and green tortoiseshell harlequin tea caddy, England, circa 1800, decagon shape. Estimate: $5,500-$6,500. Image courtesy of Skinner Inc.

Ivory and green tortoiseshell harlequin tea caddy, England, circa 1800, decagon shape. Estimate: $5,500-$6,500. Image courtesy of Skinner Inc.

Two views of the cased Colt Patterson revolver that sold for a record $977,500. Image courtesy of Greg Martin Auctions/Heritage Auctions.

1836 Colt revolver sets world record price for a gun

Two views of the cased Colt Patterson revolver that sold for a record $977,500. Image courtesy of Greg Martin Auctions/Heritage Auctions.

Two views of the cased Colt Patterson revolver that sold for a record $977,500. Image courtesy of Greg Martin Auctions/Heritage Auctions.

DALLAS – An exceptional, rare and fine ivory-gripped Texas, or Holster Model No. 5, Paterson Revolver from the Al Cali Collection realized $977,500 as part of Greg Martin Auctions/Heritage Auctions Signature® Arms & Armor Auction in Dallas on Sept. 18, setting a world record price realized for a single firearm sold at auction. All prices include 15 percent buyer’s premium.

It was purchased by an anonymous West Coast collector, who auction house officials will identify only as a Silicon Valley mogul.

“There are certain collectibles that transcend genre, period and form and exist simply as great works of art,” said Greg Martin, president of Arms & Armor at Greg Martin Auctions/Heritage Auctions, “and clearly this supremely beautiful firearm is such a thing. The nearly seven-figure final price realized proves just how great a piece this is, and well worthy of being the world record holder.”

The auction, altogether, realized more than $8 million, with 583 bidders vying for 378 lots, translating into a 90 percent sell-through rate by lot value. Altogether, the top four lots of the Cali Collection brought more than $3.28 million.

The revolver, with a 9-inch barrel and attached loading lever, is the finest known surviving example of Samuel Colt’s first revolver, produced by the legendary gunsmith in Paterson, N.J., in 1836.

“This is as desirable as any piece that exists, and as desirable as any piece I’ve seen in my more than 40 years of buying and selling the very best firearms in existence,” said Martin. “Out of maybe 3,000 similar pieces made, with most likely less than 300 surviving, this is clearly among the very best, and the market realized that.”

A pair of Colt revolvers came in a tie for the auction’s second most valuable lot, both realizing $805,000 prices realized , and both also originating in the amazing Al Cali Collection.The first was an exceptional historic, cased, engraved and presentation inscribed Colt Model 1861 New Model Navy Revolver, From the Colt Co. to E.W. Parsons, of Adams Express Co., doubling its $400,000-plus estimate. It was followed by a historic cased Gustave Young-engraved and ivory-gripped Colt Third Model Dragoon Revolver, Inscribed “Colonel P.M. Milliken,” which also performed well above its $500,000-plus estimate.

Another famous Colt pistol brought the admiration of gun-aficionados and the serious consideration of many high-end collectors; the fine and exceptional historic Colt Walker Model Civilian Series Revolver, more commonly known as “The Thumbprint Walker,” One of only 100 made, out of the mere surviving examples, most are in poor condition. This must be the the finest known, and it soared to $690,000.

“Prices like these, which show that craftsmanship, rarity, beauty and historical importance bring a true premium,” said Martin, “also show that serious buyers know that pieces like these are real investments, certain to appreciate in value as the years progress, and certainly worth serious consideration when it comes time to bid.”

Further highlights include:

• Cased, inscribed and custom-made set of Colt Model 1851 Navy and Model 1855 pocket sidehammer revolvers, poroperty of Loren Ballou, an employee of Col. Samuel Colt. Realized: $575,000.

• Fine and exceptional cased and engraved Colt Model 1851 Squareback Navy or Belt Model Revolver. Realized: $373,750.

• Fine and historic cased, engraved and inscribed Colt Model 1855 Pocket Sidehammer Revolver with charter oak grip, presented by the inventor to arms dealer J.I. Spies. Realized: $345,000.

• Fine and exceptional cased, engraved and relief carved and checkered ebony-gripped Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver, known as “The Black Beauty.” Realized: $322,000.

• Exceptional and fine cased, engraved and carved ivory-gripped Colt Model 1862 Police Model Revolver Serial number 37951/E. .36-caliber, 5-shot semi-fluted and rebated cylinder, 4 1/2-inch round barrel with brass pin front sight, top of barrel stamped with single line “Address Col. Saml. Colt New-York U.S. America.” Realized: $253,000.

• Fine and exceptional U.S. martially marked Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver, the First Model Attachable Shoulder Stock, with Canteen Insert: Realized: $207,000.

For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.