America's beloved "Singing Cowboy," Gene Autry, will be in the spotlight once again on Sunday, May 22, at Abell Auction Company's Los Angeles gallery. In addition to fine art, antiques, fine jewelry and silver, Abell's 500-lot Spring Fine Art and Antique Sale includes property from the Estate of Gene Autry to benefit the Autry National Center.
Gene Autry was in the public eye as a singer and actor for more than three decades. He began his career on the radio during the 1930s, later making the transition into movies and television. An astute businessman, Autry was owned the Los Angeles/California Angels Major League Baseball team, a television station and several radio stations in Southern California.
Although Autry's signature song was Back in the Saddle Again, he is best remembered today for his Christmas songs: Here Comes Santa Claus (which he wrote), Frosty the Snowman, and his biggest hit, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Abell will be auctioning many fine custom furniture pieces from Autry's Studio City estate, as well at the 1949 Steinway & Sons Model L grand piano on which Autry wrote Here Comes Santa Claus, estimate $10,000-$15,000. Other highlights from the Autry estate include a Watling Big-Six five-cent oak slot machine (est. $7,000-$10,000), a collection of contemporary Western paintings and bronzes; and personal memorabilia.
The May 22 auction also includes important French furniture from Santa Barbara and Dana Point estates, as well as a collection of 24K gold candlesticks, figures and reproduction coins sold on behalf of an educational institution.
From the Santa Barbara estate, Abell will be selling a Louis XV chinoiserie commode stamped L. Boudin (est. $20,000-$30,000) and an exquisite Regence provincial carved fruitwood commode (est. $6,000-$8,000), plus wonderful hall mirrors and a collection of occasional tables and chairs.
From the Dana Point estate, Abell secured a pair of 19th-century ormolu-mounted figural pedestals (est. $8,000-$12,000), an elaborately carved American walnut dining suite in the Renaissance style (est. $4,000-$6,000), and a collection of 19th-century Old Master-style paintings.
From other Southern California estates, Abell will be offering a pair of life-size Venetian carved and polychrome blackamoors (est. $10,000-$15,000); a French dore bronze and malachite salon table (est. $15,000-$20,000); and a collection of 19th-century clocks, bibliotheques, commodes and other impressive furnishings.
Abell will also be presenting a collection of gold items including two gold candlesticks with gold fineness testing at or above 22 karats and weighing approximately 6,160 grams (est. $200,000-250,000), a set of six 24K Southeast Asian-style heads of Buddha with a total weight of approximately 1,400 grams (est. $45,000-$60,000) and a lot of 24K gold casting grains weighing approximately 2,430 grams (est. $78,000-$85,000).
In addition, Abell is offering an early 20th-century silver and enameled Russian kovsh with the mark of the 11th Artel, Moscow, circa 1908-17 (est. $15,000-20,000), a chased and cast Gorham sterling tea and coffee service with applied cherub heads ($15,000-20,000), and other Regency and Victorian silver coffee and tea services. Sterling flatware sets including Jensen Pyramid, International Royal Danish, Wallace Sir Christopher, and Reed & Barton Florentine Lace round out the selection.
Five bronzes by Harriet Frishmuth are entered in the sale, including Crest of the Waves ($15,000-$20,000) and Reflections ($10,000-$15,000), as are paintings and works on paper signed or attributed to Edouard Cortes, Camille Bombois, Hans Zatska, Theo Tobiasse, Karl Benjamin, Andy Warhol, Milford Zornes and many others.