Architect Frank Gehry, designer of the Eisenhower Memorial. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Eisenhower family balks on changes to Ike memorial

Architect Frank Gehry, designer of the Eisenhower Memorial. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Architect Frank Gehry, designer of the Eisenhower Memorial. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s family welcomed design changes by architect Frank Gehry for a memorial honoring the World War II general, but said Wednesday that any monument should be “simple, sustainable and affordable” to honor his values.

In a joint statement from Eisenhower’s son and grandchildren provided to The Associated Press, the family offered its first reaction to changes in the national memorial design that Gehry announced May 15.

The family continues to oppose the use of large metal scrims to frame a memorial park near the National Mall. Gehry has called them tapestries that would depict the landscape of Eisenhower’s boyhood home in Kansas. The scope and scale of the images woven in metal, though, remain “controversial and divisive,” the family said.

In Gehry’s design changes, images of Eisenhower carved in stone would be replaced with 9-foot-tall statues depicting Ike as World War II hero and president near the center of the park. The statues would show Gen. Eisenhower with soldiers before the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France. As president, he would be shown with his hand on the globe. There is also a life-size sculpture of a young Eisenhower looking out at what his life would become.

“From our perspective, many of the changes that Gehry Partners made to the design concept are positive and welcomed,” the family said—but added that more time is needed to break an impasse over the metal scrims.

“Not only are they the most expensive element of the Gehry design, they are also the most vulnerable to urban conditions … ” the family said. “This one-of-a-kind experimental technology, which serves as the memorial’s backdrop, is impractical and unnecessary.”

The family said it won’t support a design that uses the metal scrims, doubting how long they would last. Susan Eisenhower, Ike’s granddaughter, said her family is not endorsing the design.

Still, Rocco Siciliano, chairman of the presidentially appointed Eisenhower Memorial Commission sent a letter back to the family Wednesday, saying he was delighted the family was welcoming the changes.

“Moving forward, I believe we can allay your concerns about the sustainability of the tapestries” with tests of their durability, he wrote, adding that the commission wants to build the memorial “in a timely manner so it can be enjoyed by the ‘Greatest Generation’ before passing it on to our children and our children’s children.”

Earlier in May, Gehry seemed determined to protect the tapestries as part of the overall concept. Designers from his firm were photographing Kansas landscapes to develop the final images. His firm is testing the materials against corrosive conditions.

“Eisenhower was so proud to grow up in Kansas—leaving out this imagery would mean omitting an important part of his story,” Gehry wrote to the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, which includes lawmakers from Kansas and elsewhere.

Members of the commission at a meeting May 15 all voiced approval of Gehry’s design but put off a formal vote.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who oversees national memorials through the National Park Service and has met with the Eisenhower family, said Wednesday that the design must reflect the vision of memorial organizers, the family and the American people so it can “stand the test of time.”

“Though it is important to move forward as swiftly as possible, our priority must be in getting it right,” Salazar said. “If more time is required to get it right, so be it.”

The 12-year-old memorial effort will rely on private fundraising and money from Congress. Organizers hope to complete it by 2015 at a cost of about $142 million.

The family thanked the famous architect for being responsive to objections.

In an interview, Susan Eisenhower said adding statues would draw attention to the 34th president’s accomplishments. Other elements are innovative for today—namely the woven metal—but aren’t designed for the ages, she said.

“It’s America’s memorial and our gift to future generations,” she said. “If this doesn’t get completed in my lifetime, I’m OK with that as long as we’ve got the right process in place.”

The nation’s economic downturn “ushered in a new era” for 21st century memorial projects, the family said, along with the need to reconnect with Eisenhower’s values of celebrating things that are simple, sustainable and affordable.

The design debate reminded Susan Eisenhower of a passage in her grandfather’s farewell speech from the White House.

“As we peer into society’s future—you and I and our government—we must avoid the impulse to live only for today,” Eisenhower said, “plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow.”

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Eisenhower Family Statement: http://susaneisenhower.com/

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Follow Brett Zongker on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/DCArtBeat

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-31-12 1359GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Architect Frank Gehry, designer of the Eisenhower Memorial. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Architect Frank Gehry, designer of the Eisenhower Memorial. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

This rare oil on canvas by Italian artist Parmeggiani Tancredi (1927-1964) was estimated at $80,000-$100,000, but sold for $225,950 to an Italian buyer. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

Largest art and antique auction in Clars’ history tops $1.8M

This rare oil on canvas by Italian artist Parmeggiani Tancredi (1927-1964) was estimated at $80,000-$100,000, but sold for $225,950 to an Italian buyer. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

This rare oil on canvas by Italian artist Parmeggiani Tancredi (1927-1964) was estimated at $80,000-$100,000, but sold for $225,950 to an Italian buyer. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

OAKLAND, Calif. — On May 19 and 20, Clars Auction Gallery conducted the largest fine art and antiques sale in the firm’s 40-year history. The rich and important investment quality property offered drew bidders from around the world with the sale earning just over $1.8 million.

The fine art category, which offered a strong selection of Modern and Contemporary works by renowned American and European artists, realized over $760,000 (includes buyer’s premium) with the remaining $1 million-plus was realized on important historic property, antique furnishings, Asian offerings and highly desirable special collections.

“It was phenomenal to watch the bidding come in from around the world and energy on the sale room floor,” said Deric Torres, director of decoratives and furnishings for Clars. Under the leadership of Redge Martin, who bought Clars in 1996, and his staff of experts, the firm has gained the reputation for acquiring and representing some of the finest estates in California.

Leading the impressive art offerings and topping the two-day sale overall was an important abstract by Italian artist Parmeggiani Tancredi (1927-1964). Surpassing all expectations, Tancredi’s large oil on canvas Untitled, circa 1958, came to the block with an estimate of $80,000-$120,000, but competitive international bidding on this work quickly drove the final sale price to $225,950.

Rick Unruh, director of fine art for Clars, said that he was very pleased with sale of the Tancredi painting going well over its estimate. “We had numerous bidders from all over the world on this lot with the winning bid coming from Italy. Clars has proven yet again that our global audience is second to none,” he said.

Another Italian work, Avvenimento by Edmondo Bacci (1913-1989) also came close to doubling its presale high estimate selling for $18,960.

Two bronze sculptures, Nature Revealing Herself to Science, by Louis Ernest Barrias (French, 1841-1905) and Indian on Horseback, by Alexander Phimster Proctor (American, 1860-1950) tied for second place in the sale. The two works sold solidly within their estimates going for $24,885 each. The bronze sculpture, Figure Looking Skyward, by Elizabeth Catlett (American, 1915‐2012), also performed well selling for $14,280.

Turning to works by American artists, the top sellers were a framed oil on canvas titled Boats in the Cove, by Walter Farndon (American, 1876-1964) which sold for over high estimate at $20,145 followed by the framed ink on paper, a Peanuts daily comic strip 8-13-1962 (United Feature Syndicate, 1962), by Charles Schulz (Californian, 1922-2000). Estimated to sell for $15,000 on the high side, America’s beloved Peanuts earned an impressive $16,590.

Rounding out the top sellers in the fine art offerings was a framed oil on canvas titled Antonia, by Jean‐Gabriel Domergue (French, 1889‐1962) which more that doubled its high estimate, selling for $14,280. A framed gouache on paper, Blue Nude, 1965, by Karel Appel (Dutch, 1921‐2006), sold for $15,470 and the framed gelatin silver print, Mainbocher Corset, Paris, 1939, by Horst P. Horst (German/American, 1906‐ 1999), earned $10,710.

The decoratives and furnishings category featured exceptional property both in provenance and quality. A highlight of this category was the much-anticipated Pottier & Stymus Victorian bedroom suite composed of footboard, headboard, bureau and mirror and all made of ornately carved rosewood. This bedroom suite was custom-made for 19th century San Francisco millionare James C. Flood’s Linden Towers mansion in Menlo Park. At the time, this estate was regarded as the most elaborate country manor in the country. When bidding on this suite opened, serious Victorian furniture collectors from across the country jumped in with heated bidding. In the end, though, the winning bid went to a San Francisco Bay Area couple who became captivated by its provenance as well as its incredible design. The famous Pottier & Stymus Victorian bedroom suite sold for $17, 775.

Other 19th century furniture performed also saw strong results. An American Renaissance Revival Wooton desk, circa 1874, executed in walnut earned a respectable $7,140, and a Regency inlaid breakfast table, circa 1820, almost tripled its high estimate selling for $5,355. Turning to Modern furniture, a Dan Johnson Studio Gazelle dining table, Italy, circa 1955, made $7,140.

On the decoratives side, a Blanc de chine porcelain and gilt bronze clock sold for $10,115 and an unsigned 19th century marble bust titled Portrait of a Duchess, French School, solidly surpassed its high estimate, fetching $5,355.

Sterling offerings also sold exceptionally well. A Gorham seven-piece presentation service earned $7,735 followed by a Reed & Barton sterling flatware service for 10 in the Les Cinq Fleurs pattern and an International Silver Co. service for 12 in the Trianon pattern which both earned $2,975.

A number of lots were offered which reflected the rich and robust history of San Francisco during the Gold Rush era. Two highlights of these offerings were a rare San Francisco Committee of Vigilance membership certificate dated May 1856, which sold for $4,111. The San Francisco Vigilance Movement consisted of two popular ad hoc organizations whose sole purpose was to reign in crime and government corruption. Notorious in their methods, the 1856 committee is regarded as the most successful by employing the vigilante traditions of the American West.

The second historic piece was a California gold quartz walking stick presented by Carleton E. Watkins to his father, J.M. Watkins, in 1869. Carleton Watkins arrived in San Francisco in 1849 and went on to become the foremost landscape photographer of the 19th century. His early work elevated him as an internationally recognized fine artist and, through his images, he introduced Yosemite to the world. This gold quartz walking stick sold for an impressive $6,545.

In November 2011, Clars was the first West Coast auction house to offer a special collection of high-society fashion. Having met with great success, the May sale followed up with a special collection of designer handbags from Hermes, Judith Lieber, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Once again the fashionistas came out spending over $40,000 on just 28 lots. The top seller in this special collection was the Hermes 40cm Togo leather birkin bag complete with original dust cover, box and bag, which fetched $13,090.

Bidders looking for the perfect bling to complement their designer bags were not disappointed with the jewelry category. Diamonds and Patek Phlippe dominated this category with a lady’s Patek Philippe Nautilus wristwatch in 18k gold earning $5,050 and a diamond wedding ring suite, which sported one round brilliant cut diamond and four traditional round full cut diamonds attaining $8,330.

Rounding out this record-breaking sale for Clars was the Asian category, which again saw astounding prices on several lots offered. Topping this category and placing second in the sale overall was a pair of Chinese huanghuali yoke-back chairs, Qing dynasty, which sold for $59,250. The next highest seller in the Asian offerings was a single Chinese huanghuali yokle-back armchair, also Qing dynasty, which earned $24,885.

For complete information of Clars’ May 19 and 20 antiques and fine art auction, visit www.clars.com; call 510-428-0100 or email: info@clars.com.

Clars next fine art and antiques auction will be held on Saturday and Sunday, June 16-17. Contact Clars Auction Gallery for consignment information and to register to bid on this upcoming two-day event.

Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


This rare oil on canvas by Italian artist Parmeggiani Tancredi (1927-1964) was estimated at $80,000-$100,000, but sold for $225,950 to an Italian buyer. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

 

This rare oil on canvas by Italian artist Parmeggiani Tancredi (1927-1964) was estimated at $80,000-$100,000, but sold for $225,950 to an Italian buyer. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

The bronze sculpture ‘Nature Revealing Herself to Science’ by Louis Ernest Barrias (French, 1841-1905) sold for $24,885. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

 

The bronze sculpture ‘Nature Revealing Herself to Science’ by Louis Ernest Barrias (French, 1841-1905) sold for $24,885. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

Peanuts daily comic strip 8-13-1962 (United Feature Syndicate, 1962) Charles Schulz (Californian, 1922-2000) was estimated to sell for $15,000 on the high side but earned an impressive $16,590. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

 

Peanuts daily comic strip 8-13-1962 (United Feature Syndicate, 1962) Charles Schulz (Californian, 1922-2000) was estimated to sell for $15,000 on the high side but earned an impressive $16,590. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

This Victorian bedroom suite created in 1878 for James C. Flood by Pottier & Stymus of New York sold for $17,775. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

 

This Victorian bedroom suite created in 1878 for James C. Flood by Pottier & Stymus of New York sold for $17,775. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

This California gold quartz walking stick presented by Carleton E. Watkins to his father, J.M. Watkins, in 1869 sold for an impressive $6,545. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

This California gold quartz walking stick presented by Carleton E. Watkins to his father, J.M. Watkins, in 1869 sold for an impressive $6,545. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

Over $40,000 was realized on the 28 designer handbags offered with an Hermes 40cm Togo leather birkin bag complete with original dust cover, box and bag fetching $13,090. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

Over $40,000 was realized on the 28 designer handbags offered with an Hermes 40cm Togo leather birkin bag complete with original dust cover, box and bag fetching $13,090. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

Topping the Asian offerings was this pair of Chinese huanghuali yoke-back chairs, Qing dynasty, which sold for $59,250. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

Topping the Asian offerings was this pair of Chinese huanghuali yoke-back chairs, Qing dynasty, which sold for $59,250. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.