SOTHEBY'S TO OFFER PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF STANLEY MARCUS FALL 2002
SOTHEBY'S TO OFFER PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF STANLEY MARCUS FALL 2002
This fall Sotheby's will offer for sale over 200 objects from the Estate of Stanley Marcus, style-maker and marketing genius who built the family store into a fashion empire and made Neiman Marcus a household name. Mr. Marcus died in January at age 96 and this collection represents a lifetime of curiosity and learning as well as a passion for collecting objects of wide-ranging origins. These objects, acquired individually and not out of a specific collecting agenda, are the reflection of the taste, judgement and extraordinary eye of a man whose professional life was dedicated to the pursuit of exceptional quality and to fulfilling a role as one of the world's great purveyors of style. The same qualities were evident in and responsible for the success of Sotheby's 1998 sale of the Marcus's collection from their Santa Fe home of American Indian, New Mexican Devotional and Latin American Art. The present collection, estimated to sell for $7/10 million, features works by Alberto Giacometti, Alexander Calder, Diego Rivera, and Georgia O'Keeffe. The collection contains important Pre-Columbian, African and Oceanic and Asian objects as well as objects of Antiquity. This highly personal collection was thoughtfully and effectively displayed in the Marcus's Dallas residence and will be offered in a single-owner sale on November 16th with select highlights being offered throughout Sotheby's fall 2002 season. Highlights from the Marcus estate will be on view during a special Summer preview exhibition in Sotheby's York Avenue galleries beginning Friday, July 26th.
The Estate of Stanley Marcus includes Alberto Giacometti's Figure Walking Between Two Houses which will be offered as a highlight in Sotheby's November 5th evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art. The work is one of the artist's rare depictions of a woman in motion. Giacometti usually immobilized his female figures, either firmly rooting them to their pedestals with disproportionately large feet, or severely abstracting their anatomy. In the present work, however, he has animated the figure and encased her in a glass box, capturing her within the void between the two "houses." The spatial complexity of this sculpture is characteristic of Giacometti's work from the 1950's. Here, by juxtaposing a transparent glass box with two boxes made of bronze and inserting a figure within this composition, the artist alludes to the variety of limitations present in the lives of all individuals. It is estimated to sell for $2/3 million.
The Marcus Estate also features a number of important Latin American works. Among them is El Lider/Orador by Antonio Ruiz, nicknamed "Corcito" because of his resemblance to a famous bullfighter of his time. Ruiz, who was a friend of Diego Rivera and a colleague of Frida Kahlo, painted very few works, fewer than 50 oils according to his last catalogue raisonné, and rarely sold his work during his lifetime. The present work is perhaps one of his most famous paintings. It was first exhibited in the landmark 1940 exhibition, International Exhibition of Surrealism, organized by André Breton and Wolfgang Paalen, where it hung with works by many of the European Surrealist artists in exile. The work was chosen again for an important recent exhibition on Mexican Art, Mexico: Splendors of Thirty Centuries, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Widely reproduced as a prime example of Mexican art of the period, El Lider/Orador is a stellar work of great rarity and estimated to sell for $200/300,000.
Another highlight in the Marcus collection is Rufino Tamayo's Still Life, 1928, one of the earliest depictions of watermelons, which were to become the artist's trademark subject (est. $200/300,000 and pictured page 1). The relationship between Tamayo and the Marcus family continued throughout Mr. Marcus' years of collecting. Stanley Marcus was instrumental in bringing Tamayo's monumental mural The Man in the 1950's to the Dallas Museum of Art and continued to acquire works by the artist later in his life including Retrato Matrimonial (Marriage Portrait) from 1969 (est. $300/350,000).
Sotheby's is also pleased to offer two works from Diego Rivera's brief but dazzling career as a cubist painter. Rivera lived and worked in Paris from 1909-1917. Naturaleza Muerta (Still Life) and Retrato de Hombre (Portrait of a Man), both painted in 1916, are estimated to sell for $450/550,000 and $350/450,000 respectively. The work by Corcito and the two by Tamayo and Rivera will be offered in Sotheby's evening sale of Latin American Art on November 19th.
Georgia O'Keeffe's Antelope, a highlight of the December 4th sale of American Paintings, was painted in 1954 and illustrates the "bone motif" that preoccupied the artist through the 1950's. It features an antelope skull that appears in several sketches and drawings from this period. However, with its spare, simplified composition and subtle gradations of tone, Antelope differs from many of O'Keeffe's earlier bone pictures, in which the pale forms of the bones are juxtaposed against other objects, such as a brightly colored flower, or sharply outlined against a vivid blue sky. The present work emphasizes the broad sweep of the desert landscape with its low horizon extending into an infinitely expansive sky. The artist acknowledged Antelope as something special and distinct from her other bone pictures in a letter she wrote to Edith Halpert on August 8, 1954, requesting that the work be included in a forthcoming exhibition at the Downtown Gallery. O'Keeffe writes "...it is so different than the other things and I think one of the best" (Archives of American Art, Washington D.C.). The work is estimated to sell for $750,000/1 million.
The single-owner offering of Property from the Estate of Stanley Marcus will feature a wide variety of objects, crossing several collecting categories and ranging in estimate from hundreds of dollars to many thousands of dollars. Highlights include African and Oceanic works such as a Bakota Janiform Reliquary Guardian Figure (est. $50/70,000), and a superb Fang Female Reliquary Guardian Figure (est. $150/250,000 and pictured right), Pre-Columbian works including a Chimu/Lambayeque Intricate Tasseled Textile Panel from A.D. 1100-1400 (est. $40/50,000 and pictured page 4, right), and objects of Antiquity such as a Coptic Textile panel (est. $6/9,000 and pictured page 4, left), from a tunic, circa 8th century A.D. This work is wonderfully preserved with vibrant colors, representing Wealth personified as a richly clad and bejeweled lady surrounded by symbols of abundance such as putti fishing and carrying gifts of wine and game.
Stanley Marcus was born in Dallas, Texas in April 1905. Two years later, his father Herbert, along with his uncle and aunt, Abraham and Carrie Marcus Neiman, founded the specialty store that bears their names. Building on their experience in other Dallas department stores, they were the first to offer high-end ready-to-wear clothing at a time when expensive clothes were still typically made by dressmakers. It was Stanley Marcus, however, who through imaginative marketing schemes and his oft-noted commitment to high quality merchandise, model business practices and impeccable customer service that Neiman Marcus expanded beyond the confines of the Dallas shop into a national institution. Despite an early infatuation with the publishing business (an enthusiasm which saw fruition in his involvement in the founding of the Texas Book Club and ultimately in his own significant book collecting activities) he joined Neiman-Marcus as a floor man in 1926 after graduating from Harvard College. Marcus had already been introduced to the concepts of good design and their influence on all aspects of life when, during a graduation trip to Europe in 1925, he visited the seminal international exhibition of decorative arts which ultimately gave Art Deco its name. The lessons learned there committed Marcus to a close study and involvement not only with quality merchandise but to the significant role of the designer in the creative process. Throughout his professional career, he cultivated enduring relationships with great contemporary designers from Chanel, Ferragamo, Blass and Beene to Jack Lenor Larsen and Frank Lloyd Wright. Learning from these experiences Marcus became both an advocate and a tastemaker. Phillip Johnson, was quoted as saying "I have been the beneficiary for some 40 years of people saying, 'Stanley Marcus says you're a good architect' "
He was Executive Vice President of Neiman-Marcus from 1935 until 1950 when he succeeded his father as President and became Chairman of the Board in 1972. Though his long career with Neiman's, Stanley Marcus was responsible for building the store's image and its national reputation. He emphasized attention to detail, commitment to service and innovative marketing ideas, from fashion shows for clients, to specialized his-and-hers gifts and the Neiman-Marcus Christmas Catalogue. The Catalogue and the enormous publicity it received firmly established the store as the most sophisticated in America outside of New York City. Neiman's had, in fact, been the first "regional" shop to advertise in national magazines and brought international designs and designers to Texas through a series of fortnightly promotions that featured design, art and culture of various countries. Marcus parlayed his Texas connections right up to the White House where members of the Eisenhower and Johnson administrations were noted as sporting fashions from Neiman's. He was appointed by Jacqueline Kennedy to the advisory committee for the restoration of the White House, chaired by Winterthur founder, Henry Francis duPont.
International honors included medals and awards from Denmark, Italy, Belgium, Austria and England along with election as a Chevalier and then an officer of the French Legion of Honor. In 1972, he was elected as an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Music, art, education and civic service were all high on Marcus' list of commitments and accomplishments; he sat on the board of Overseers of Harvard College, and the boards of such diverse institutions as the Dallas Symphony, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Southern Methodist University and Common Cause. Frequently recognized by the design and fashion industries, perhaps the most meaningful recognition came in 1995 when he received the Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion, an innovative prize that he had inaugurated in 1938. Mr. Marcus authored four books and wrote numerous articles for national publications as well as a weekly editorial column for The Dallas Morning News.
A consummate collector, Mr. Marcus began collecting at the age of five as a result of his parents' great appreciation for art and design. Over his lifetime, Mr. Marcus collected widely, amassing a personal collection exemplifying his eclectic tastes and his excitement for objects from folk art to rare works by the great artists with whom he had relationships such as Giacometti, Calder, Rivera, and O'Keeffe, and occasionally extending a commission to a major artist or architect for the store. His passion for, and knowledge of, collecting was matched by his generosity; he was a generous donor to the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) and more than 5,000 miniature books to Southern Methodist University in Dallas. His love of the arts was also reflected in his tireless commitment to the Dallas Opera and in his selection as the head of the Architecture Selection Committee for the Meyerson Center, the great performing arts center in Dallas, which was ultimately designed by I. M. Pei. The hall was the site of the memorial service held for Stanley Marcus in January of this year that was attended by more than 2000 citizens and celebrities whose lives were influenced by Stanley Marcus.
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