• Among the fine art to be offered from the Fromer estate will be this Gordon Coutts’ (Californian, 1868-1937) oil on canvas, Musician at a Red Doorway which carries an estimate of $3,000-$5,000.

    Among the fine art to be offered from the Fromer estate will be this Gordon Coutts’ (Californian, 1868-1937) oil on canvas, Musician at a Red Doorway which carries an estimate of $3,000-$5,000.


  • This untitled bronze sculpture by Peter Kraslow (Russian/Californian) comes to the block from the Fromer Estate.

    This untitled bronze sculpture by Peter Kraslow (Russian/Californian) comes to the block from the Fromer Estate.


Clars Auction Gallery is very honored to be offering many items from the estate of Rebecca and Seymour Fromer at the April 14 and 15, 2012 Antiques and Fine Art Auction. Seymour Fromer founded the Judah L. Magnes Museum in Berkeley, CA in 1960. The Museum has grown to hold one of the largest collections of Judaica and is the third largest Jewish museum in North America. It is dedicated to preserving the contributions of Jewish Americans and their contributions to the development of the West. The Judah Magnes Museum was originally located in a turn-of-the-century mansion on the University of California-Berkeley campus and has recently moved to a new location in Berkeley. It and holds more that 10,000 artifacts and historical documents from around the world. In addition, the Museum is home of the Western Jewish History Center also founded by Fromer, which houses letters, diaries, business documents and photographs dating back to the California Gold Rush in the 1840s and 1850s.



To be offered at Clars in April from this important estate will be fine art, decorative objects and Judaica. The Fromers collected throughout their lifetime and their worldwide travels. Some special items were donated to the Museum.


Among the fine art to be offered from their collection is a Mary DeNeale Morgan (California, 1868-1948) tempera on paper depicting a serene Carmel Coast (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000); a Gordon Coutts’ (Californian, 1868-1937) oil on canvas, Musician at a Red Doorway (PHOTO 2) (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000); and a luminescent 1902 watercolor, Sunset Over the Oaks, by Lorenzo Latimer (Californian, 1857-1941) (Estimate: $2,000-$4,000). Additional Californian and Israeli paintings, prints, and sculptures will also be offered including an untitled bronze sculpture (PHOTO 3) by Peter Kraslow (Russian/Californian).


A particular highlight in the Judaica to be offered is a Middle-Eastern Sephardic Torah wood case (PHOTO 4), circa 1840, which measures 35 inches high. (Estimate: $2,000 to $4,000). One of Fromer’s most famous acquisitions was made during a trip to Cochin, India in 1967 where he found, in an abandoned synagogue, a 13 foot-high and 8 foot-wide Torah ark. This piece is one of the most valued in the Magnes Museum collection where it remains today.




In addition to the number of pieces from the Fromer estate, Clars April auction will feature fine offerings in art, furnishings, jewely, decoratives and Asian lots.


Among the highlights in the decoratives category will be a large collection of American and European Art Pottery, Iridescent art glass including Tiffany Studios, Quezal, and Steuben, lighting including Tiffany Studios, Steuben, and Arts and Crafts table lamps.  Highlighting the furniture offerings will be a wonderful collection of 1950s era furniture and appliances which are very popular today.



In special collections, a large assortment of acetate publicity negatives from MGM will be offered in several lots.  They include negatives from London After Midnight aka “The Hypnotist” staring Lon Chaney.  London after Midnight is a lost film, perhaps the most famous of all missing films, and it has become the Holy Grail of archivists and film collectors throughout the world, the last known record of the film existing was in the mid-1950's.


Rounding out the fine art category, highlights will include Thomas Blackwell’s photorealistic oil Issue (Estimate: $7,000-$9,000) and Dan Bodelson’s bronze The Epic Battle (Estimate: $5,000-$7,000).


Paul Cezanne’s 1914 color lithograph Le Dejeuner sur l’Herbe (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000), derived from Manet’s masterwork, represents a significant European and Latin American print selection which also includes work by Joan Miro and Rufino Tamayo.


Turning to the Asian category, the offerings in Japanese art for April are especially strong, including good examples of Meiji era cloisonné enamel and other metalwork. An Edo period twenty-five leaf album of the Tosa school, originally attributed to Tosa Mitsuoki, will be one of the highlights of the section. Works by modern Japanese artists include an oversize folio of lithographs and calligraphy, in a limited edition of ten,  by the famous Buddhist abbot  Shimizu Kosho (1911-1999) and three decorated ceramic plaques by  Morino Hiroaki Taimei (1934-), a renowned  Kyoto artist.  As for Chinese works of art, Clars will feature an interesting group of jade, hardstone and steatite carvings, together with snuff bottles of various mediums.  This category will finish with an assortment of various ceramics, furnishings and impressive multi-panel screens.


The highlights of the jewelry category will be a three stone ring, featuring a cushion cut natural blue sapphire weighing 10.54 cts and two trapeze cut diamonds weighing 1.48 cts. There will be a diamond solitaire Tiffany ring with a 1.32 ct round cut diamond with certificate. A collection of 18k yellow gold pocket watches, including a Tiffany & Co. open faced minute repeater, an enameled erotic automaton repeater, a triple function Captain’s pocket watch and several other repeaters.


Clars April 14th  and 15th , 2012 Antiques and Fine Art sale brings to auction investment level opportunities in all categories.  The Saturday session will begin @ 9:30am and the Sunday session start promptly at @ 10am. Previews for this sale will be Friday, April 13th   from 1pm to 6pm and 9am Saturday and Sunday or by special appointment. A full catalog will be available online at prior to the sale.


For more information on this sale, and the Seymour and Rebecca Fromer Estate, please call (510) 428-0100, email: or visit their website at Clars Auction Gallery is located at 5644 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609.



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