Thursday, September 22, 2016

Auctions Fall 2016

1. LOS ANGELES LOS ANGELES, CA.- On Saturday, May 19, 1962, at a Democratic fundraiserand early 45th birthday celebration, President John F. Kennedy took his seat in Madison Square Garden anticipating what has now become one of the most iconic moments in entertainment and political history. In front of 15,000 guests, many of them celebrities, actor Peter Lawford was about to make an introduction that would change the course of pop culture and Presidential folklore forever. Under a bright spotlight, the legendary Marilyn Monroe walked on stage and peeled away her white ermine fur coat, revealing a skintight, sheer, flesh-colored dress that sparkled with over 2,500 handstitched crystals. The custom Jean Louis creation was so tight fitting that Marilyn wore nothing underneath and had to be sewn into it last minute. Original sketch illustrated by Bob Mackie. When Marilyn appeared and the dress was finally revealed, the entire audience gasped.
After Peter Lawford introduced her as the “LATE” Marilyn Monroe, she flicked the microphone and began to sing “Happy Birthday Mr. President” in her trademark sultry, sexy voice with original lyrics she wrote herself.
However, it was her intimate tone and projection of the words “Mr. President” that would stun the audience, excite the press and become a milestone in popular culture. The song and performance were remembered for many reasons, not the least because it was one of her last public appearances before her untimely death less than three months later. Sadly, President Kennedy died a year later and that infamous night at MSG was the last known time they saw each other. The rendition by Marilyn remains one of the most famous, delivered in her halting, breathy tone. All in all, it lasted approximately 30 seconds, but more than five decades later, it remains the most famous version of “Happy Birthday” ever. The dress, the performance, Jacqueline Kennedy’s absence and photographs from the evening would spark ravenous rumors of an affair between the President and Marilyn.
In fact, it was Marilyn’s death in 1962 that prompted American artist Andy Warhol to create “Marilyn’s Diptych” — one of the most famous art homages to her, permanently securing Marilyn’s place in contemporary art history.
“Marilyn Monroe singing ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President’ is certainly one of the most famous impromptu performances in American history,” said Darren Julien, President & CEO of Julien’s Auctions. “That rendition has lived on for decades as one of the most remarkable events in her career and certainly one of the most storied tales in popular culture history — a moment in time squarely at the center of the 1960s, Hollywood and Camelot. We are incredibly privileged to have the opportunity to offer this amazing dress to collectors, fans and contemporary art enthusiasts around the world.”
On November 17, 2016, Julien’s Auctions, the world-record breaking auction house to the stars, will once again make history when it exclusively offers the Marilyn Monroe “Happy Birthday Mr. President” Jean Louis creation at auction. Julien’s Auctions will give collectors and fans from around the globe one of the most awe-inspiring moments in auction history when the gavel comes down on the final bid for this remarkable object.
Prior to the auction, the “Happy Birthday Mr. President” dress will go on an exclusive world tour. The dress will exhibit at MANA Contemporary in New Jersey as part of the Exhibition “Marilyn: Character Not Image” followed by the Newbridge Silverware Museum of Style Icons (MOSI) in Kildare, Ireland before making its way back to the Julien’s Auctions Gallery in Los Angeles.
“We have had remarkable opportunities to offer unique objects related to Marilyn Monroe in the past,” said Martin Nolan, Executive Director of Julien’s Auctions. “To be part of the continued interest and excitement around this legend is always thrilling. This dress, this story, this momentous occasion represents a defining moment in history. This auction will remind the world why Marilyn Monroe remains an icon.”

2. NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s sale of Important American Furniture, Silver, Outsider and Folk Art on September 20 will present nearly 150 lots from the 17th through 21st centuries. Leading the sale is
The Benjamin Franklin Silver-Hilted Small Sword (estimate: $200,000-300,000), made for him by Samuel Soumaine (1718-circa 1769), Franklin’s neighbor in Philadelphia.
This court sword is a testament to the diplomatic, scientific and intellectual achievements of America’s foremost statesman. After representing his country’s interests in London during the events leading up to 1776, Franklin secured military and financial support from the French government for the American Revolution. His was a victory as great as any fought in combat, since the struggle for American independence depended greatly upon French intervention.
During his nine years in France, Franklin won over the hearts and minds of the people; one of these was Pierre Jean Georges Cabanis (1757-1808), a young student of medicine and philosophy. Both men of the Enlightenment, they shared a love of scientific study as well as a broader interest in humanism, morality and liberty. The two developed a deep friendship and before departing back to America in 1785, Franklin gave this sword to him. Cabanis went on to encompass both politics and science in his career — a physician and physiologist, he became a member of the Council of Five Hundred and later the Senate. After abandoning politics during the rule of Napoleon, he wrote a groundbreaking study on the links between physiology and psychology that saw him hailed as the pioneer of modern neurology.
Until the present sale, the sword has been in the possession of Cabanis’s direct descendants. ‘The sword is a symbol between two countries, two ideals — both of democracy and progress,’ says Emmanuel de Lipkowski, one of the present owners of the sword and a descendant of Pierre Jean Georges Cabanis.
The Important American Furniture, Silver, Outsider and Folk Art auction takes place during Americana at Christie’s New York, a series of live and online auctions, viewings and events, from September 17-22. Other sales include The Private Collection of President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan and online auction of American Art.

3. NEW YORK Christie’s Raises Premiums Effective Sept 19th
September 6, 2016 by Marion Maneker
Christie's 2016 Fee Structure
Christies has announced a new fee structure for all categories except wine. Emphasizing that the current fee structure has not changed since 2013, the firm emailed clients this morning with the news which includes these new breakpoints:
The new premium rate will be an amount equal to
•25% of the hammer price of each lot up to and including £100,000/$150,000
•plus 20% of the hammer price from £100,001/$150,001 up to and including £2,000,000/$3,000,000
•and 12% above £2,000,001/$3,000,001.

4. PARIS PARIS (AFP).- A Paris court on Tuesday jailed 35 former porters from the prestigious Drouot auction house for stealing precious antiques, jewels and artworks in an insider racket thought to date back decades.
The defendants, who transported and stored objects destined for sale by Drouot, were found guilty of helping themselves to treasures including diamonds and a painting by Marc Chagall.
They were sentenced to up to three years in jail, with 18 months suspended, and fined 60,000 euros ($67,000).
Three auctioneers were also convicted in the scandal that shook the French art world, with the three receiving suspended sentences of up to 18 months plus fines of 25,000 euros.
The lavish lifestyles of some of the porters had long been a source of suspicion. One drove a Porsche 911 and the latest BMW cabriolet, while another reportedly bought a Paris bar with his spoils.
The convicted men were among 43 porters and six auctioneers who were tried in March on charges of gang-related theft, conspiracy and handling stolen goods. Defence lawyer Lef Forster complained that the court had failed to take into consideration the "social complexity of the phenomenon", arguing that the practice of "salvaging objects" was widely tolerated.
Secretive group
Investigators alleged institutionalised theft by the porters, known as "Les Savoyards" as all members of the secretive group came from the French Alpine region of Savoie.
They are also known as the "Cols Rouges" after the red trim on the collars of their black uniforms, paired with pristine white gloves. The porters had monopolised the transport and handling of valuables for Drouot, one of the world's oldest auction houses, since 1860. The court on Tuesday ordered the dissolution of their union, whose membership was tightly controlled and limited to 110.
Much of the pilfering occurred while the porters set about emptying the homes of wealthy people after their deaths, taking items that were not inventoried.
Two pieces by leading Art Deco designer Eileen Gray went missing in July 2006, appearing three months later on the Drouot auction block where they sold for a combined total of one million euros.
The porters claimed they had no idea the objects -- a pedestal table and a dressing table -- could fetch such a fortune, with one saying they were to have been "hauled away by the rag-and-bone man".
The investigation was launched in 2009 after an anonymous tip led investigators to a painting by the 19th-century artist Gustave Courbet that disappeared while being transported in 2003.
Raids uncovered a mountain of treasures, including precious jewels and antique furniture, that had gone missing.
Stealing from the dead'
The same fate befell some stage costumes of the great French mime Marcel Marceau, who died in 2007 leaving a tax debt of several million euros to his daughters.
Testifying at the trial in March, the daughters lambasted what they called a "free-for-all" behind the scenes at Drouot.
They were among several dozen victims of the alleged scam who sought damages in the trial, but the court did not award any on Tuesday.
Drouot was quick to dissociate itself from the scandal, dropping the porters in 2010 and becoming a civil plaintiff in the trial.
"These thefts committed on such a large scale have shamed the institution," the auction house's lawyer Karim Beylouni said in March.
According to the prosecution, the practice -- known as "la yape" which means "theft" in Savoie slang -- was endemic and profits were shared equally among the porters.
Each newcomer "bought" the membership of an outgoing porter, with an initiation process that involved stealing something and sharing the proceeds with the others.
Defence lawyer Thibaut Rouffiac acknowledged during the trial that "there were thefts, without a doubt," but said: "Just because there were thefts and excesses doesn't mean they all stole."
Another, Leon Lef Forster, questioned whether "fraudulent intent" could be proven when the employees salvaged "abandoned things".
Some of the porters allegedly defended the practice by saying they were merely "stealing from the dead".

5. DALLAS, TX.- An early Confederate flag likely handmade by the notorious spy Belle Boyd will open at $50,000 during a special, joint auction event Sept 17 at Heritage Auctions, celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Rail Splitter, a respected publication for enthusiasts of Abraham Lincoln and related memorabilia.
Titled "Lincoln and His Times", the auction features numerous unique items in addition to Boyd's 5-foot by 3-foot flag, which has survived under remarkable circumstances and was recently discovered after being locked away for more than a century in Switzerland following the U.S. Civil War.
"Heritage has auctioned a number of significant Confederate flags over the years," said Tom Slater, Director of Americana Auctions, "but none more evocative than this one. The beautiful display conditional and thoroughly-documented back story makes the Belle Boyd flag a very special offering indeed."
Isabella Maria Boyd was one of the Civil War's most colorful characters. An ardent Southern patriot, the Virginia-born Boyd used her feminine wiles in the service of the Confederacy during the first two years of the War before being discovered and arrested after Union troops over-ran parts of Virginia. When "Stonewall" Jackson's troops occupied Front Royal and prepared to defend it in May 1862, Boyd supplied the general with valuable information about Union troop strength and reportedly even helped Jackson to plan his battle strategy. According to her memoirs she played a prominent role in the fight, appearing on the front lines to cheer and encourage the Confederate soldiers.
When Federal troops took control of Front Royal that summer Belle was quite the celebrity, and it was then that she encountered a young Union captain named Frederick d'Hauteville. The precise nature of their relationship remains the subject of speculation, but she presented Frederick with this Confederate flag, an event recorded both in d'Hauteville's own journal and in a letter to his wife from Robert Gould Shaw (who would later command the immortal 54th Massachusetts regiment of African-American troops, and whose story was told in the film "Glory!"). At the time D'Hauteville and Shaw were friends, both serving on the staff of General Nathaniel Banks.
Boyd would be arrested shortly thereafter on orders of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, but she was promptly exchanged and apparently returned to her old ways, as she was rearrested the following year. She escaped custody and attempted to flee the country on a blockade-running vessel, but the ship was interdicted by a Union warship. Belle was again placed in custody, but clearly her feminine charms were not lost on the vessel's commander, who promptly fell in love with and proposed marriage. The two escaped together and traveled to England, where Boyd would sit out the rest of the War.
D'Hauteville, who came from a wealthy family with roots in both the U.S. and Europe, left the army in 1863 and eventually moved to Switzerland, where he spent the rest of his life. The Belle Boyd flag and three of his uniforms, also offered in this auction, were packed away and did not see the light of day for a century and a half until they appeared in an estate auction in Europe last year. Not surprisingly these artifacts have survived in remarkably fine condition.
The flag itself has a most interesting configuration, as there is a circle of 11 stars in the canton on one side, and but a single star on the other. The circular pattern is typical of Confederate First National flags, and the number of stars implies that this side of the flag was completed between July and the end of November 1861, when the Confederate states numbered eleven. But significantly the 11-star side is actually the back of the flag, which suggests that the single star side was completed first. Quite possibly this was an expression of defiance by the maker, as the earliest flag of the Republic of Texas when the Texans were in revolt against Mexico had featured a single star, widely considered a symbol of independence. Later the Texas flag would be redesigned in a red, white, and blue pattern which may well have served as the inspiration for First National flags, including this one.
Belle Boyd's unique Confederate flag will be offered Sept. 17 in "Lincoln and His Times". Additional highlights include a nearly 30-ounce solid gold medal gifted to the great American statesman Henry Clay and one of the most important Abraham Lincoln letters ever to appear at auction. Also featured are a newly discovered banner from one of the legendary 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates and a Lincoln life mask, sculpted by Leonard Volk, which once belong to Lincoln's Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles.

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