LOS ANGELES — Bonhams & Butterfields’ July 27, 2008, Sunset Estate Auction in Los Angeles will feature additional property from the Estate of José Iturbi and Marion Seabury, sold to benefit the José Iturbi Foundation. In early June the auctioneers offered and sold more than $1.7 million in fine art and furniture from the Iturbi estate. July’s sale comprises additional property from this Beverly Hills estate, a delightful collection of paperweights, and works of art and collectibles from several other noted estates and collectors — all offered to the highest bidders.
Named for the famed Boulevard on which the auctioneer’s Los Angeles galleries reside, the monthly estate auctions have become a reliable resource — delivering great design, diverse style and inspiration — beginning with pieces from the 16th century, Spanish Baroque, Georgian and Louis XIV to 20th century modern periods to the present day.
The July Sunset Estate Auction will highlight the collecting tastes of the infamous socialite Countess Dorothy di Frasso and the world famous pianist, conductor, composer and actor José Iturbi. The magnificent Beverly Hills estate brings together two fascinating histories — each providing a glimpse into the “Golden Era” of Hollywood and the grandeur of its culture. Offered will be a handsome variety of furniture, decorative arts, garden furniture and architectural elements, books, Asian works of art and paintings. Items on offer from the Beverly Hills mansion include: a white and gilt partial Theodore Haviland, Limoges dinner service together with select pieces of Noritake, Minton and bird-patterned china (estimate $400-$600); a plated King flatware set by Tiffany & Co. (estimate $275-$375); and a pair of George III style mahogany side tables together with a candle stand (estimate $150-$250).
Prints and photographs from the Estate of Paul Tracy, an antique collector and dealer in Los Angeles for more than four decades, will be offered, as will a nice selection of rugs and silver. The July sale features a collection of glass paperweights from the Estate of Philo Woodrow Van Wagoner with examples from Clichy, St. Louis and Whitefriars.
Additional highlights from the July 2008 sale include: a Queen Anne silver and wood coffee pot by Edward Yorke, London, 1712, adorned with armorial (estimate $4,000-$6,000); a George III silver salver Richard Rugg, London, 1777, (estimate $1,000-$1,500) and a colorful Italian painting entitled “A peasant girl standing at a fountain” (estimate $3,000-$5,000). A collection of desk articles from the Estate of Paul Tracy (varied estimates from $150-$600) will also be featured.
Los Angeles preview events are scheduled for July 25-27 at Bonhams & Butterfields’ Sunset gallery. The illustrated catalog will be the available online at www.bonhams.com/us in the weeks preceding the sale.
About José Iturbi
More than 60 years ago, José Iturbi first entered the Beverly Hills, Calif., mansion of the Countess Dorothy di Frasso. He was reportedly awestruck by the scene, which epitomized Hollywood chic of the 1940s. Beguiled over the course of many visits, Iturbi dreamt of owning the mansion someday.
In 1947, he purchased the home complete with the Countess’ furnishings, the fine art and even the silver place settings. Thus began a lifetime of collecting, enhanced by preservation of and admiration for his new home and its environment. Iturbi’s mansion was his haven from a hectic career, which, at its peak, included more than 250 concerts each year — performances scheduled to enable his appearances in seven feature films for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, including: Two Girls and a Sailor (1944), Holiday in Mexico (1946), Anchors Aweigh (1945) and That Midnight Kiss (1949).
Until his death in 1980, José Iturbi lived with Marion Seabury in the Countess’ former home, preserved as a time capsule of Hollywood’s Golden Age.