Sometimes described as a storyteller or jazz improvisationist, James Martin (born 1928), has been creating art for decades that is an integral part of the Pacific Northwest scene. Reminiscent of the work of Red Grooms with a similar humorous bent, Martin’s colorful constructions often depict larger-than-life characters and people from the gritty underbelly of a city.
Early in his career in the late 1950s-early 60s, his work caught the attention of serious collectors and he participated in museum exhibitions, including at the Seattle Art Museum. In his 90th year, a striking collection of his paintings, long off the market, will likely stir up much interest. The Benefit Shop Foundation, Inc. will offer 17 gouaches by Martin collected over several decades with works covering the major periods in the artist’s career, circa 1950s-70s, at its monthly Red Carpet auction on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 10 am. All lots open with a $1 bid and there are no reserves.
The collection comes from the estate of the late Arthur and Teddy Edelman, formerly of Ridgefield, Conn. Arthur, who died in January and was predeceased by his wife two years earlier, co-founded Edelman Leather (which the Edelmans sold to Knoll in 2008) and had a passion for midcentury artworks and furniture, often befriending artists like Andy Warhol and James Martin. Arthur was an innovative designer in the fashion and home furnishings industry, In Benefit Shop’s August auction, a collection of Midcentury Modern furniture and glass, with Edelman provenance, brought robust prices and sparked much interest worldwide.
The latest offering from the Edelman estate is likely to create just as much, if not more, interest. “These artworks are quirky, whimsical, well-executed and have been out of public view — and the marketplace — for decades, thanks to the trained eye of the Edelmans, who appreciated these gems,” said owner and founder Pam Stone. “I’m excited to offer them to a new generation of collectors who will revel in these paintings that seem as fresh as the day they were created.”
In works like Dancing Monk, Rembrandt Driving Jim’s Truck, Trying on Gran’s Shoes, Edgar Allen Poe and the Raven with Party Hat, and Potato On the Road, Martin demonstrates a gift for the narrative with a sly nod to pop culture and as always, pairing unlikely objects as motifs in his work. His imagination runs freely in his paintings. Also on offer are his portraits of George Washington, Mona Lisa and Vincent Van Gogh.
In life and in his art, Martin has a sense of humor. His work created from his studio in Edmonds, Wash., is sometimes signed DDR (for Donald Duck Ranch, the named for his house/studio he built by himself).
Much more than just art will cross the block from jewelry such as pair of William Spratling earrings, circa 1930-40s, in sterling silver to fashion, including a Georgeou Furs coat and designer handbags. Glass ranges from a pair of signed Lalique crystal bird trinket dishes to a pair of 9-inch tall Moser Bohemian glass gilt bud vases in a pleasing green hue while Asian ceramics features a pair of carved marble foo dogs on stands, 10 inches tall.
“We have a great grouping of estate contents across the board from horse country to Manhattan chic with more art, more jewelry, more ceramics, more Midcentury Modern and more fashion,” Stone said.
Rounding out the sale are a Japanese porcelain tea set, early 1900s and an AP B. Karfiol ‘Maternity’ framed lithograph, circa 1930s-40s, of a mother holding a child.
The monthly Red Carpet sales feature choice collections of antique, Midcentury Modern, brand furnishings, sterling, china, crystal, jewelry and fine art. With a mission of “to donate, to discover and to do good,” the foundation is a non-profit and all auction proceeds support community organizations. Consignors get a tax deduction, the buyer gets a great deal and local non-profits get much needed funds.
The auction takes place at 185 Kisco Avenue, Suite 201, and online. For more information, https://www.thebenefitshop.org or 914-864-0707.
185 Kisco Ave Suite 201
Mount Kisco, New York
About Benefit Shop Foundation, Inc.
The Benefit Shop receives donations from the finest estates in Bedford and beyond and showcases them in one convenient and beautifully-staged location. The estates get a tax deduction, the buyer gets a great deal and non-profits in the community get the money. This elegantly-conceived, eco-friendly concept is the brainchild of Pam Stone and she is thrilled at the response from the community. It’s no secret that non-profits, from hospitals to homeless shelters, are having a tough time in this economy. Responding to the call for funding to fill the gaps , local resident Stone imagined a new possibility, an auction gallery with donated merchandise from the grand estates that surround the area. For 10 years, Stone has been busy visiting estate sales in the area, encouraging people to make high quality, tax-deductible donations for the satisfaction of helping a host of community organizations, including Neighbors’ Link and the Boys and Girls Club, as well as the continued support of Northern Westchester Hospital. According to Pam, “Often these kinds of shops benefit a big national charity, but I really wanted the beneficiary to be my community, for the people who live and work here.” Mission statement: To donate, to discover, to do good.