LOS ANGELES – Andrew Jones Auctions will enter the new year and new decade on Saturday, January 11, 2020 with a very special sale dedicated to fine art from the collection of Gerard Leon Cafesjian (1925-2013), the legal publishing legend, art connoisseur and philanthropist who collected with a discerning eye and an adventurous spirit. The 140-lot auction will commence at 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time / 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
“In six decades of collecting, Gerard Cafesjian broadened his vision and honed his eye to bring together international avant-garde works that make statements, reveal beauty, display whimsy and challenge the viewer,” said company president and CEO Andrew Jones. We’re honored to offer this segment of his collection, which features international artists in a variety of media.”
Shown at the top of this page, two works by Vesna Kittelson (Croatian/American, b. 1947) from the artist’s War Painting Series (est. $2,000-$3,000) reveal Cafesjian’s concern with crimes against humanity and social injustice. His eye for color and playfulness are evident in pieces like Yvonne Canu‘s (French, 1921-2008) Fleur sous les fleurs (est. $2,000-$3,000) and Roberto Sebastian Matta’s (Chilean, 1911–2002) Untitled, 1970 (est. $2,000-$3,000) as well as irreverent works like Igor Gusev’s (Ukrainian, born 1970) large scale oil on canvas titled Elvis Returns, 2010 (est. $6,000-$8,000).
An admiration for the intimacies that can be found in world localities is revealed in Margaret Leahy’s (American, 20th century) acrylic Brooklyn Backyard, 1981, which depicts a window’s view of his childhood neighborhood (est. $600-$800). More-remote locations are seen in the Virgilio Raposo (Portuguese, born 1955) painting titled Lisbon, 2003 (est. $800-$1,200) and Jyothi Basu’s (Indian, born 1960) pastel work titled The Chosen One, 2004 (est. $3,000-$5,000).
Gerard Cafesjian was born in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn to Armenian refugees fleeing genocide in 1915. Raised in New York City, Cafesjian immersed himself in the art culture that surrounded him, spending time at museums and art galleries. After serving in the Pacific during World War II, he returned to New York to pursue studies in economics and law at St. John’s University Law School, Cornell University and earned a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Columbia Law School.
Cafesjian also made time to study painting and sculpture at the Art Student’s League. After graduation, Cafesjian became an editor with the innovative Minnesota-based legal publishing firm of West Publishing and ascended the ranks to executive vice president. He developed the West Legal Directory and the groundbreaking exhibition program titled Art and the Law in 1975.
Cafesjian retired in 1996 and focused his resources and time on philanthropic pursuits, mostly in his ancestral home of Armenia. He founded the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in 1999 and in 2001 he created the Cafesjian Family Foundation, which developed infrastructure for cultural enrichment, financial services, media and renewable energy in Armenia.
One of his proudest achievements was the establishment of the Cafesjian Museum Foundation and the Cafesjian Center for the Arts, which opened in Yervan in 2009. The museum holdings boast over 5,000 works derived primarily from his own vast and varied collection. Cafesjian wanted the center to promote and support historic and contemporary Armenian artists such as John Altoon, Sonia Balassanian, Armen Eloyan, Archille Gorky and Martiros Sarian. He also strived to bring the best of international contemporary art to Armenia.