Art and entertainment luminaries join design innovators in a star-studded lineup at Blackwell Auctions

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, June 25, 2024


Art and entertainment luminaries join design innovators in a star-studded lineup at Blackwell Auctions
Moorcroft Set - Moorcroft three-piece ‘Claremont’ coffee set, earthenware with sterling silver floral-design overlay. Includes 10in coffee pot with lid, creamer and sugar bowl. Each piece signed ‘Moorcroft’ and numbered ‘420061’ to base. Coffee pot and sugar bowl also stamped ‘Shreve & Co. San Francisco.’



CLEARWATER, FLA.- Important paintings and prints, luxury timepieces, fine antiques, and fresh-to-market celebrity memorabilia await bidders at Blackwell Auctions’ December 9 “Iconic Sale,” with absentee and Internet live bidding available through multiple platforms. Topping the bill are five unique Polaroid test shots from Dick Zimmerman’s photo shoot for Michael Jackson’s Thriller LP, and John Wayne’s personal galley proof copy of The Green Berets, gifted to him by the book’s author. It comes with provenance from Wayne’s granddaughter.

“The auction would have been outstanding even without the celebrity items, but then the unexpected treasures started arriving just before the consignment cutoff. That suddenly took the auction lineup to the next level. There were so many genuinely iconic items – not only from the art and design world, but also Hollywood – that we immediately knew what we would call the sale,” said Edwin Bailey of Blackwell Auctions.

Iconic with a capital “I” is the way to describe the five Polaroid test photos that celebrity photographer Dick Zimmerman took of Michael Jackson during the 1982 photo shoot for the Thriller LP. Each photo will be auctioned individually. In two of the test shots, Jackson is shown with a tiger cub who was brought in to amuse and distract the singer, whom Zimmerman recalled as being surprisingly self-conscious in front of a camera. In two other test shots, Jackson wears the white suit that would become immediately identifiable to the world. In one of them, he lies casually on his side. Upon reviewing the options, producer Quincy Jones made the recommendation that the latter version be used as the album’s cover. That very test shot, auction Lot 101, has been archivally mounted and framed in a shadowbox. It comes with a Dick Zimmerman LOA and photographer’s release conveying ownership of the test photo’s copyright to the winning bidder. Estimate: $10,000-$20,000. Similarly, an LOA and copyright release will accompany each of the other four Jackson test shots, estimated at $4,000-$8,000 apiece. (Note: in the case of all five test shots, personality rights may apply.)

Zimmerman has also consigned the Hasselblad 500ELX camera he used during the 1982 Thriller photo shoot with Michael Jackson. Accompanied by an LOA from Zimmerman, it is cataloged with a pre-sale estimate of $10,000-$20,000.

Few have ever commanded the big screen quite as powerfully as Hollywood’s “Duke,” John Wayne (1907-1979). Wayne took possession of every role he ever played, leaving an indelible mark on cinematic history. Certainly one of his most enduring roles was that of Colonel Mike Kirby in the 1968 film The Green Berets. According to his granddaughter, Anita Swift, the actor was moved to acquire the movie rights to The Green Berets after reading a galley proof copy of the book of the same name, written by real-life Green Beret Robin Moore. Wayne’s personally owned, uncorrected proof copy of the book, presented to him by the author, will be auctioned together with a letter of provenance and photo from Wayne’s granddaughter, Anita Swift, who inherited the book from her mother, Mary Wayne LaCava. Estimate: $4,000-$8,000.

The auction features a wide variety of art, most of it coming from private collections, estates and upscale Florida residences. A Theophile Alexandre Steinlen (French, 1859-1923) oil-on-board painting of four people in a theater box is presumed to date to the World War I era, based on the subjects’ hair and clothing. Measuring approximately 19-5/8 by 24 inches (sight), the wood-framed painting is signed and estimated at $6,000-$12,000.

Peter Max (b. 1937-) has had a long and productive career. His trademark style, which gained global acclaim during the 1960s and ’70s, is used to stunning effect in a 2011 mixed media on paper titled 9/11 Tenth Anniversary. Max’s respectful depiction of the New York City skyline includes the Twin Towers and, in the foreground, the Pentagon. Measuring 22½ by 30 inches, it is signed and personally inscribed on verso, and is expected to achieve a winning bid of $3,000-$6,000.

A series of original painted monkey-theme circus banners by Dick Sigler adds color and fun to the sale. The whimsical 1940s production titled The Diners measures 92 inches long by 74 inches wide and is one of several banners in the auction that were featured on the American Pickers TV episode titled “Freaky Florida” (Season 20, Episode 19). It comes from the estate collection of third-generation circus banner artist and collector James Sigler (1954-2022). Estimate: $1,500-$3,000

A selection of timeless and highly sought-after George Nakashima “New” chairs has been apportioned into three consecutive auction lots. Each of two lots consists of a pair of dining armchairs (lot estimate $4,000-$8,000), while a third lot contains four dining side chairs (lot estimate $6,000-$12,000). All of the chairs are crafted of walnut and hickory, and each is signed/dated “Nakashima” and “Sept 27, 1986” beneath the seat.

Franz Xavier Bergman (Austrian, 1861-1936), the grand master of Vienna bronze lamps, created the dramatic cold-painted genre lamp titled “Call to Prayer.” Standing 28¼ inches high, its design incorporates a minaret with a pitched awning, and an Arabian man praying. It is signed on the back in two places with a large “B,” and stamped “Made in Austria.” Estimate: $5,000-$10,000

Holiday sparkle comes to Blackwell’s Iconic Sale in the form of exquisite Swiss 18K gold watches. “To be able to offer this many exceptional timepieces in one auction is an honor for us,” Edwin Bailey said. “Every one of them is a potential Christmas gift designed to last a lifetime.” Three top entries are from the esteemed Genevan watch manufacturer Patek Philippe. They include: an 18K gold “Calatrava” 3919 watch with box and papers indicating a 1988 date of purchase, estimate $10,000-$20,000; an 18K gold “Calatrava” 3802/200 automatic wristwatch manufactured in 1992 and accompanied by a Patek Phillipe Archives paperwork, $10,000-$20,000; and an 18K gold “Golden Ellipse” Ref. 3848 watch with a mechanical windup movement and integrated 18K yellow gold chain link band, $10,000-$20,000. From the revered house of Rolex comes an 18K gold “Cellini Prince” 5440-8 watch, caliber 7040-1 with a manual-wind 21-jewel mechanical chronometer movement. It is estimated at $6,000-$12,000.

Ideal for holiday entertaining, a Moorcroft three-piece “Claremont” coffee set is an earthenware composition with a gorgeous sterling silver floral-design overlay. The set includes a 10-inch coffee pot with lid, a creamer and sugar bowl. Each piece is signed “Moorcroft” and numbered “420061” to the base. Additionally, the coffee pot and sugar bowl are stamped “Shreve & Co. San Francisco.” Estimate: $5,000-$10,000










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