Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Gray’s Art & Furniture Auction to Benefit Cleveland Play House

Gray’s Auctioneers’ sale on Wednesday, May 25, will feature fine works of art, decorative arts and furniture – and many of the lots have been donated to benefit the Cleveland Play House, America’s first regional theater, founded in 1915.

Highlights of the 341-lot auction include a magnificent Tree of Life Persian rug, a Clement Meadmore artist’s proof bronze, a Dominick Labino glass sculpture and a Marc Chagall limited-edition signed lithograph.

“The Cleveland Play House is like many cultural institutions facing reduced funding,” said Gray’s Auctioneers CEO Serena Harragin, who is also a director of the theater. “Deba Gray and I came up with the idea to have board members, subscribers and enthusiasts donate items instead of cash.”

Deba Jean Gray is president and auctioneer at Gray’s Auctioneers.

Gray’s Auctioneers is contributing their services to the fundraising effort, including free written and illustrated appraisals.

“More often than not, people donated something,” said Harragin, noting that donated items are tax deductible. “We’re making it an open-ended offer. We conduct an auction every month, so anyone can donate at any time.”

This month’s auction will feature a large antique Kirman Shah rug in the Tree of Life pattern. In Islam, Tree of Life rugs remain an important metaphor for the pathway between Heaven and Earth. Harragin said the rug at Gray’s is a beautiful example of its type, with depictions of animals around a bountiful tree. The rug, which shows normal fading and wear, measures 18 feet 3 inches by 12 feet. It is estimated at $3,000-$5,000.

A hand-signed and numbered Marc Chagall color lithograph titled The Tribe of Dan is another highlight. The lithograph on Arches Vellum is from the artist’s designs for stained-glass windows he created for the synagogue of the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem. Printed by Charles Sorlier and published by Fernand Mourlot, the lithograph comes with sound provenance and is included in Chagall: The Lithographs: Catalogue Raisonne. It has an $8,000-$9,000 estimate.

An artist’s proof of a Clement Meadmore (Australian, 1929-2005) bronze sculpture on a marble base is attracting attention. “The great thing about this work is it seems to defy the material it’s made of. It’s elegant and dynamic, but it’s a piece of bronze. Unlike the artist’s large outdoor installments, this 1984 work titled Open End measures only 12 inches wide and 5 inches high and 8 inches deep. It has a $10,000-$15,000 estimate.

“Meadmore’s work is nicely in demand now and this is one of his early works when he was designing outdoor installations (of this type),” said Harragin.

Another sculpture – this one of glass – came directly from the studio of Dominick Labino (1910-1987), the Toledo, Ohio-based inventor and designer. Labino developed the technique that produced the internal veiling in this 7 1/2-inch-high work from his Emergence Series. It will be sold with an autographed and dated studio catalog dated Dec. 16, 1982.

“Pieces from his Emergence Series have come up for auction before, but not this particular design. It’s absolutely beautiful, and I think it will do very well,” said Harragin. It has a $3,000-$5,000 estimate.

A choice example of the furniture available is an Osvaldo Borsani (Italian 1911-1985) mid-century modern T69 dining table, circa 1964. The 54-inch circular tabletop of solid walnut rests on elegantly shaped chrome-steel legs. It carries an $800-$1,200 estimate.

Another mid-century modern Italian design is an Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni Flos Arco floor lamp that stands 98 1/2 inches high.

“It throws a wide arc of light while providing direct light for the person seated beneath it,” said Harragin. “Reproductions of this iconic lamp are currently selling for $3,000.” This is an original from the early ‘60’s and is estimated at $800-$1,200.

An 18th-century French provincial long bench is so choice that Harragin suspects it might end up being shipped back to its country of origin.

“It has lovely wormholes and all the things you look for in something like that,” said Harragin. The 92-inch-long bench is estimated at $500-$700.

More than three dozen lots of jewelry will be sold including a stunning 18K white gold, sapphire and diamond cocktail ring. “It’s from the 1960s, that era of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. It’s so beautifully done and it looks fabulous when you wear it,” said Harragin. The size 5 1/2 ring has a $400-$600 estimate.

The May 25 auction will be conducted at Gray’s showrooms at 10717 Detroit Ave. in Cleveland and begins at 11 a.m. Eastern time. Previews are on May 19-21 by appointment and May 23-24 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Internet live bidding will be available through Gray’s Live Bidding, and telephone bidding will be accepted with pre-registration. Absentee bidding is available through Gray’s website,, or by contacting the auction house directly at 216-458-7695. E-mail: [email protected]

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *