Famed art collector and restorer’s collection headlining June 13 sale

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Artworks by some of the most recognizable and sought-after names in the world of fine art, plus a mansion-full of magnificent antiques and home furnishings, will be sold in an on-site auction planned for Saturday, June 13th, at 1 East Parkway North in Memphis, in the 6,000-square-foot home of Rosemary S. Littlejohn, a collector and restorer of fine art pieces.

The auction will be conducted by Stevens Auction Company, based in Aberdeen, Miss., starting at 9

Brooks etagere

This monumental Thomas Brooks étagère is not unlike one Stevens Auction sold in April for $63,250. (All photos courtesy Stevens Auction)

a.m. Central time. “This is the most important auction of fine art I’ve ever had the privilege to sell in my 30-plus years in the business,” said Dwight Stevens of Stevens Auction Company. “Due to the massive inventory, bidders should check the website frequently for new images.”

Visitors to www.stevensauction.com will see Ms. Littlejohn’s substantial collection of antique and unique works of art, sculptures and other treasures. Included are two sculptures by French artist Edgar Degas, plus artworks by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Alexander Calder, Andre Masson, Michel Henry, Roy Lichtenstein, Gaston Andre, Nancy Lund and dozens of others.

Certain to attract interest are the two Degas bronze sculptures. Sculpture #41 is titled Dancer at Rest Hand Behind Her Back Right Leg Forward and stands 18 inches tall. Sculpture #43 is titled Seated Woman in Arm Chair Wiping Her Left Armpit and is 12 ¾ inches tall. Edgar Degas (1834-1917) was a French painter and figure-sculptor whose mother was born in New Orleans.

Other artworks will include an abstract nude painting by the French artist Corneille (circa 1980), a signed lithograph titled Waves by Alexander (Sandy) Calder (Am., 1898-1976), a colored litho (signed and numbered) by Karel Appel (Am./Fr., 1921-2006), a huge oil on board by Memphis artist Brandon Herbers (b. 1971), and an original John J. Audubon engraving, Carolina Parrots.

Also sold will be a rare watercolor collage by Leonor Fini (It./Fr., 1907-1996), a piece signed by Robert Motherwell (Am., 1915-1991) titled Homage to Russia, a French art festival poster by Joan Miro (Fr./Sp., 1893-1983) titled Grand Palais, and bronzes by Michel Henry (Fr., b. 1928): Coming Forth of Man and Woman, Perception of Woman, Fallen Spirit and Rapture of Woman.

Pablo Picasso (Sp./Fr., 1881-1973) will be represented in the auction by a pair of etchings, both signed, matted and framed. Three sets of three-in-a-series oil panels by Roy Lichtenstein (Am., 1923-1997), all from 1964, will also come up for bid, as will a 1909 scene painted in the Alps by H. Higgins (Swiss), and a depiction of an Olympic sphere by Victor Vasarely (Fr., 1906-1997).

Other notable artworks will include a lithograph and collage by Theo Tobiasse (Am./Fr./Isr., Astral-lamps1927-2012) titled The Jews of Russia Emigrate to New York, a bronze statue of a chariot with a green marble base (signed “Domenech et Pfeiffer,” with the founder’s mark, made in France), and a figural oil painting with stone collage and straw for hair by Enrico Baj (It., 1924-2003).

Other artists will include Robert Hooper (Am., b. 1952), Yaacov Agam (Isr., b. 1928), Raphael Soyer (Am., 1899-1987), Georges Benda (Fr., 1873-1961), Georges Roualt (Fr., 1904-2002), Helen Beal (Am., 1891-1965), Andre Masson (Am./Fr./Sp., 1896-1987), Maurice Utrillo (Fr., 1883-1955), Salvador Dali (Fr./Sp., 1904-1989), and Marc Chagall (Am./Fr./Russ., 1887-1985).

Ms. Littlejohn is the president and owner of RRL Fine Art in New York City, where she resides most of the time. For over 40 years she has been a pioneer in the conservation and restoration of fine art. She also buys and sells fine art. From this enviable vantage point, she has been able to amass such an incredible fine art collection. Now, she is selling many of her Memphis treasures.

Her decision was difficult but practical. Her work keeps her in Manhattan so much of the time, she is rarely able to enjoy her art collection in Memphis. Most of what will be sold is in pristine condition, a testament to her professional expertise. The mansion home is also for sale, but not in this auction. Interested parties may call Dick Leike of Crye-Leike Real Estate, at 901-486-2070.

The objects contained in the home are nearly as impressive as the artwork. They include a truly monumental Thomas Brooks étagère (not unlike one Stevens Auction sold for $63,250 in an April sale), an Empire secretary standing 10 feet 6 inches tall, a fine Herter Brothers cabinet, a Prudence Mallard display cabinet and a matched pair of large early astral lamps (28 inches tall).

Also offered will be a mahogany period English case clock made by R. Thomson of Glasgow, Ireland

Degas bronze sculpture

The auction will feature two bronze sculptures by Edgar Degas (Fr., 1834-1917), including this one (#41), titled Dancer at Rest Hand Behind Her Back Right Leg Forward, 18 inches tall.

(84 inches tall), a burl walnut (or possibly rosewood) parlor grand piano made by John Breadwood & Sons of London, a black Yamaha baby grand piano only played once (by famous Asian pianist Lang Lang, at Carnegie Hall in New York), and a circa 1860 ox horn-type lamp.

Additional items will feature a French round marble-top side table with bronze trim, a matched pair of Italian communion cabinets with gothic trim and carved oak figures, a fine French inlaid parlor cabinet with marble top and bronze trim, a 19th century gilt wood marble-top center table, a Victorian solid bronze planter with raised images of birds and wildlife, a circa 1880 over-the-mantle gold Eastlake-style mirror, and an Egyptian Revival mantle mirror with an ornate crown.

For those unable to attend in person, internet bidding will be provided by LiveAuctioneers.com. Individuals interested in bidding online must register at least 12 hours prior to the start of auction in order for their bid request to be approved. An open house preview will be held on Friday, June 12th, from 10-6, and on auction day, June 13th, from 8-9 a.m. Start time on auction day is 9 a.m.

Photos of many of the items may be viewed on the website www.stevensauction.com. To request a full color brochure, call (662) 369-2200; or e-mail a request to stevensauction@bellsouth.net.

Terms of payment are all major credit cards or pre-approved business or personal checks (with proper ID), or wire transfer. A 15 percent buyer’s premium will be applied to all purchases, with an extra 2 percent processing fee for credit cards. An 11% sales tax will be charged, except for bidders with a valid state resale number. Phone bids are welcome, with advanced arrangements.

Stevens Auction Company is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign a single item, an estate or a collection, call 662-369-2200; or e-mail stevensauction@bellsouth.net. To learn more about Stevens Auction Company and the upcoming June 13th on-site auction, visit www.stevensauction.com.

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