In remarkably good condition coated with a rich green patina, the little fountain, which measures just 10 1/2 inches high by 9 1/2 inches wide, was modeled after the stunning Fontana Delle Tartarughe in the Piazza Mattei in Rome. This show-stoppingly beautiful 16th-century fountain was designed by Rome’s foremost architect, Giacomo della Porta, himself a disciple of Michelangelo, and sculpted by Taddeo Landini between 1580 and 1588. It is said to be Rome’s most charming fountain. In 2008 Christies sold an almost identical fountain for $10,257, including premium.
The explosion of manufacturing in the 19th century is reflected in the magnificent George III-style mahogany long-case clock from John Creed Jennens & Sons (London, circa 1875-1881). Gray’s is offering this clock at Lot 84 with impeccable provenance. It is the property of the Cleveland Play House, America’s first professional regional theatre founded in 1915 by a group of eight prominent Clevelanders, among them Charles and Minerva Brooks, who sought to bring plays of substance to the people of Cleveland in an era dominated by vaudeville.
Many lots in this auction are being sold to benefit the Cleveland Play House. Most notable of these is Lot 47, a bronze bust of the great American actress Katherine Cornell by sculptor Malvina Hoffman, the brilliant American sculptor and author who died July 10, 1966. Hoffman studied with Rodin in Paris, and by 1915 had started her own foundry, becoming a master founder and writing the definitive work on historical and technical aspects of sculpture Sculpture, Inside and Out, her book on foundry technique. The bust of Katherine Cornell echoes Hoffman’s massive commission of 104 busts for the Field Museum in Chicago, Races of Mankind, which was commissioned by Stanley Field for the Century of Progress International Exposition, the Chicago World’s Fair of 1933 that celebrated the centennial of the city.
Cleveland Play House will be celebrating their centennial in 2015, but this September they move into Cleveland’s prestigious PlayhouseSquare, the nation’s largest performing arts center outside New York, where a $32-million renovation of the Allen theater complex will unite CPH, Cleveland State University’s Dramatic Arts Program and PlayhouseSquare under one roof. Many donors have made this move possible and this auction is the second in a series of auctions Gray’s is holding to generate funds to benefit CPH.
The auction features three sections including a Rare and Important Books section and a fun No Reserves section. The first section features the first 100 lots of fine furniture, paintings and decorations. Many of the lots benefiting CPH are in this section including Lots 81 and 82, two carved oak benches from the lobby of the Brooks Theatre, created by the Rorimer Brooks Co. Louis Rorimer was president of the Cleveland Play House from 1932 to 1934.
Other notable lots in this section include Lot 85 a neoclassical wrought iron and marble-top table originally created for the lobby of Pittsburgh’s Mellon National Bank, Lot 77 a stunning abstract by Matthew Kolodziej (American, b. 1967) titled Hulabaloo, and Lot 70 a striking Laszlo Dus (b. 1941) untitled triptych gifted to the consignor from the artist.
The books section features 118 lots of first editions, rare or signed editions including several lots by Nabokov, and D.H. Lawrence; several art books including catalog raisonnes such as “Lee Krasner” signed and inscribed by the author Ellen G. Landau, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University; the first edition of the Maxfield Parrish illustrated A Wonder Book and Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne; the Brothers Grimm tales for children illustrated by Arthur Rackham and published in 1917; many editions in French and German of classic titles including the complete A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu by Marcel Proust; the complete set of 48 volumes of Sir Walter Scott’s Waverly novels published from 1830-1833 in Edinburgh and London by Robert Cadell and Whittaker & Co. These are just a few of the many treasures for bibliophiles in this section of the June 30 auction at Gray’s.
The third section of the June 30 auction is filled with 150 lots of furniture, paintings and decorations all listed with no reserve. Highlights include Lot 260 a walnut and maple secretary, Lot 273 an American two-part oak hutch, Lot 301 a vintage wrought metal and laminate table and chairs, Lot 413A a Brutalist figural sculpture by an unknown artist and lot 397A an acrylic and ink on paper by Mexican artist Ricardo Barreto (b. 1953). This section of the auction will delight and enthrall buyers with champagne tastes who prefer to keep their spending on a beer budget.
Gray’s will be open for preview at their spacious showrooms, 10717 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, from Monday, June 27, through Wednesday June 29, 11 a.m. – 6pm. The auction will take place at 11am EST on Thursday, June 30. Live online bidding for this auction is offered by LiveAuctioneers.com. Gray’s also accepts absentee bids and telephone bid registration on their website. Gray’s Auctioneers is the only licensed, bonded and insured auction house in Cleveland holding monthly live auctions, and offering complimentary valuations every Friday between 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Deborah J. Gray, auctioneer, opened her eponymous auction house in 2007 with her partner Serena Harragin, and together they have transformed the abandoned building that used to house a Citroen dealership into a driving force in the vibrant Cleveland Fine Art and Antiques auction market. The complete illustrated catalog for this auction can be found on Gray’s web site at www.graysauctioneers.com and also on LiveAuctioneers. For details phone Gray’s at 216-458-7694.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE