Treasures at the Ebell

Ebell members and their guests gathered for their own version of “Antiques Roadshow,” featuring experts from Bonhams offering verbal valuations.

Ebell of Los Angeles members and guests brought their treasured possessions to the storied Ebell clubhouse recently, where experts from Bonhams Auction House gave their expert advice on valuation and provenance. It was like a local version of PBS’s popular “Antiques Roadshow,” but without the lines and with elegant afternoon libations,.  Proceeds from ticket sales supported the Ebell’s 125th Anniversary Legacy Campaign.

The idea for the program came from Ebell member and artist Janice Johnson, who co-chaired the event along with Kathy Wong, an Ebell member and Specialist in Fine Arts at Bonhams’ California and Western Paintings and Sculpture department.

While Wong was busy helping guests, Johnson showed us some of the paintings she’d brought along, carefully wrapped in a stunning black trash bag.  Johnson told the Buzz that she started collecting art years ago. She said she was very involved in the Los Angeles art scene in the 1950s and 1960s, and began collecting the work of friends and artists she liked who were then unknown but who have since gained much prominence.  They include Betye Saar, an African American artist known for her work in the medium of assemblage. Saar has been called “a legend” in the world of contemporary art. Johnson was also best friends for many years with artist and feminist Judy Chicago, known for her large collaborative art installation pieces involving birth and creation images, which examine the role of women in history and culture.

Janice Johnson holding a collage painting by Betye Saar, which she’s had for more than 65 years.
Janice Johnson holds a small box made by artist Judy Chicago’s brother, a master potter.  The piece was inspired by Chicago’s “Dinner Party” installation, considered by some to be the nucleus of second-wave feminist art, and which found its permanent home, in 2002, at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum (where it was first shown in 1980).

Lorraine Spector, an Ebell member and driving force behind the Ebell’s 125th Anniversary Legacy Campaign, brought several family heirlooms…including a large metal alloy platter made in Europe in 1851, which her husband’s father purchased years ago.

Lorraine Spector with her family’s heirloom.

Ebell member Anne Luke learned that a small painting she purchased years ago from a gallery in Berkeley had appreciated quite nicely. The painting, titled “A Pear,” was done by artist Robert Moore Kulicke, an American artist, frame maker, and teacher. Kulicke was most influential for modernizing the design of picture frames, but was also a noted painter of small and delicate still lifes like the one Luke brought. Kulicke also made the frame for this piece.

Anne Luke and her small still life painting by artist Robert Moore Kulicke, who also made the frame.

Rosalind Goddard brought a jade cup her parents collected during the time they lived in Japan. Goddard explained that her father served as an officer in the army and was stationed in Japan after World War II, as part of the occupying force. They lived off-base in the Japanese city of Kobe, where she and her younger sister became immersed in Japanese culture and learned to speak fluent Japanese during their three years there.

Rosalind Goffard displays her family’s Jade cup.
Rosalind Goddard (center) and her family with a family friend. The photo was taken during their three-year stint in Japan.

Patricia Judice, a guest of an Ebell member, brought some jewelry from the 1940s that she was hoping to learn more about. Judice loves to shop jewelry shows and auction houses for unusual antique pieces.

Patrice Judice showed us her jewelry items.
A working watch is cleverly disguised in this bracelet from the 1930s

And finally among those we spoke with, Ebell member Toby Horn brought along some beautiful plates she’s collected over years.

Ebell member Toby Horn shows off one of her china plates.

 

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About Patricia Lombard

Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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