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NYTimes: Jewish Collection Moves – 07.09.2010

NYTimes: Jewish Collection Moves – 07.09.2010

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Eve Kahn's Antiques NYTimes column profiles the creation of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at UC Berkeley.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/09/arts/design/09antiques.html
Eve Kahn's Antiques NYTimes column profiles the creation of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at UC Berkeley.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/09/arts/design/09antiques.html

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Published by: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life on Jul 09, 2010
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7/8/10 11:00 PMAntiques - Happy Sales - Christie’s Auctions Roy Rogers Items - NYTimes.comPage 1 of 4http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/09/arts/design/09antiques.html?pagewanted=all
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Christie's
A Western-motif chandelier is fromChristie's Roy Rogers-Dale EvansMuseum sale.
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ANTIQUES
Meeting Again, at the Auction House
By EVE M. KAHNPublished: July 8, 2010
  Wild West kitsch will takeover Christie’splush quarters at Rockefeller Center at noon on Friday. A preview opens for the last of this  year’s five major auctions dispersingthecontents of the Roy Rogers-DaleEvans Museumin Branson, Mo.That money-losing attraction closedin December, and descendants of thesinging cowboy and cowgirl actorshave scattered the displays for salesin Arizona, Colorado and New York.On Wednesda y and Thursday, Christie’s will auction morethan 1,000 pieces from the museum, including shooting-gallery statues of bad guys with five o’clock shadows and aspring-mounted toy version of Rogers’s horse Trigger,labeled “the Smartest Horse in the Movies.” The actors’leather boots and outfits dripping fringe and rhinestones, when lined up at the auction house’s warehouse in Queenslast month, stretched half a block long.Estimates are mostly a few hundred dollars, except forsome star possessions. Guns, bullets and silver dollars aremounted on the leather and chrome surfaces of Rogers’s 1964 Pontiac Bonnevilleconvertible ($100,000 to $150,000). Three taxidermied horses are estimated at $30,000to $200,000. The saddles they wore at the museum are being sold separately: leathertrimmed in gold and silver for Rogers ($100,000 to $150,000 a saddle) and red-and- white plastic for Evans ($20,000 to $30,000). At previous sales this spring top lots included Rogers’s 1940s pearl-handled guns($102,000 at Brian Lebel’s Old West Show and Auction in Denver) and his collection of  American Indian arrowheads and stone knives ($4,270 at Bonhams in New York). Lastmonth Christie’s sold Rogers’s 1950s Rolex for $50,000; despite Rogers’s ruggedlifestle his watch was described as a “lovel and unmolested examle” of such ieces b
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7/8/10 11:00 PMAntiques - Happy Sales - Christie’s Auctions Roy Rogers Items - NYTimes.comPage 2 of 4http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/09/arts/design/09antiques.html?pagewanted=all
 the catalog. At the preview a taxidermied Trigger will rear up in the atrium. Metal tepees andcactuses will hang from the chandeliers. “Chow Wagon” lunch pails will gleam in display cases. A doorman, Gil Perez, will wear Rogers’s gabardine regalia on auction days.The catalog, in a break from auction houses’ current stinting on printing costs, is morethan a foot tall. “We wanted it to be a collectible in its own way,” said Catherine Elkies,the director of iconic collections at Christie’s.
JEWISH COLLECTION MOVES
During a transition last month, theJudah L. Magnes Museumin Berkeley, Calif., carriednew signs on its office and gallery doorways, including “Bedroom 1” and “Guest Suite.”Black upholstered armchairs with colorful throw pillows have now been clustered aroundtables set with modernist monochrome vases. The building is becoming a private houseagain.This museum of Jewish culture, named for a California-born founder of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is selling its 1908 brick house in a palm grove for $2.75 million. After four decades of occupancy, and exhibitions including photos of California Jews incivil rights protests and ritual objects saved from abandoned North African synagogues,the museum is marketing its building for residential conversion.Instead of closing, the Magnes has handed over its collections to theUniversity of California, Berkeley . Some staff members will organize exhibitions next year in university galleries and a former printing plant downtown.“I think we created a rather elegant solution,” said Alla Efimova, director of theuniversity’s newly created Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life.The Magnes has shed some of its inventory to prepare for the move. At Clars AuctionGallery in Oakland, Calif., it has sold dozens of antiques and artworks, including 20th-century paintings of Jewish life that brought a few hundred dollars each. But someforgotten paperwork turned up when the attic and library were packed. A dusty boxlabeled “Ephemera” contained a singed passport and travel tickets for a San Franciscofood broker who died on the Hindenburg. A roll of drawings turned out to be the house’soriginal blueprints.The Magnes, in itsUniversity of Californiaincarnation, will post photos and drawings of the brick house online. “We’ll do all we can not to forget it,” said Francesco Spagnolo,curator of the Magnes Collection. Staff members, he added, have saved office signs andthe museum’s front gates as artifacts.
JAPANESE EXCHANGE
 American tastes in product design seeped into Japan, and vice versa, after 1860, whenJapanese diplomats first traveled to cities in the United States. In honor of thedelegation trip’s 150th anniversary, museum and gallery exhibitions this summer areexploring how the countries’ artisans influenced one another. At theMuseum of the City of New York ,“Samurai in New York: The First Japanese Delegation, 1860”(through Oct. 11) displays vintage prints and photos of theambassadors admiring American soldiers, passenger balloons, ball gowns and cameras.Soon after the trip, Tiffany silversmiths based pepper shakers and jewelry on Japanesegrasshopper and fish motifs, and one of the ambassadors founded a navy yard back in
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7/8/10 11:00 PMAntiques - Happy Sales - Christie’s Auctions Roy Rogers Items - NYTimes.comPage 3 of 4http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/09/arts/design/09antiques.html?pagewanted=all
A version of this article appeared in print on July 9, 2010, on pageC26 of the New York edition.
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Japan. His souvenir slot-headed screw is on view at the museum: Japanese engineerseventually incorporated versions of that ingenious American product into warships. American fashions even affected the most traditional forms of Japanese chests anddressers, called tansu; a survey of 200 years of these storage pieces will open on Tuesday at the Nippon Club, at 145 West 57th Street in Manhattan. The objects in“Tansu: TheCabinetry Heritage of Japan,”organized by the Brooklyngallery Shibui, range from peddlers’ plain boxes to ornately carved works for sea captains and Art Deco furniture with rounded corners and factory-made loop handles.Shibui has brought out about two dozen examples priced from a few hundred dollars to$27,000, many with secret compartments where the original owners stored erotica or American-inspired financial innovations like stock certificates. (The show will be on view at the club through Aug. 4 and then moves to Shibui, at 306 Water Street in Dumbo,from Aug. 10 to Sept. 30.)In San Francisco the Asian Art Museum has borrowed miniature 1920s tansu forJapan’s Early Ambassadors to San Francisco, 1860-1927”(through Nov. 21). Theexhibition explains how the 1860 delegates’ descriptions of American wonders likerailroads and steamships set off a wave of immigration. Japanese artisans were hired totend bonsai gardens in San Francisco and design store showrooms for Asian imports.But by the 1920s, as anti-immigrant protests swelled, the Japanese government tried to build good will by donating dolls and toy trousseaus to United States museums.The Asian Art Museum has borrowed two dolls with their tansu for storing teaimplements and kimonos and Art Deco containers for face-whitening powder andtoothpaste. One doll came to America with a beseeching letter of introduction. She was warned before she was exported, the letter says, that “she must be on her best behavior.”
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