Estate of Broadway Producer Arthur Laurents at Roland Auctions New York

  • NEW YORK, New York
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  • May 22, 2012

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Laurents townhouse interior

The estate of legendary Broadway playwright and director Arthur Laurents, will be at auction on Saturday, June 2 at 11 a.m. at Roland Auctions in New York City.

Tony Award winning Laurents wrote such enduring musicals as “West Side Story,” “Gypsy,” and “Hallelujah, Baby!” He created “The Bird Cage,” in 1950  and wrote the novel “The Turning Point,” in 1997.  In 1962, he directed “I Can Get It For You Wholesale,” the play that launched the career of Barbra Streisand.

Streisand has said publically of Laurents’ work that “he created people you care about because he cared about people.”  Much of that sentiment is evident in the many types of items he collected.

Highlights of the auction include a collection of nine 18th and 19th Century samplers. One by Hannah Merrill, states her birthdate as May 8, 1789. Another says “This wrought in the year 1790.” Still another has the name Sarah Webster stitched into it along with the child’s age, 6 years, and the year, 1835. 

This samplers may have inspired a collection of eleven 20th Century miniature needlepoints commemorating Arthur Laurents’ work. Approximately four inches square, the needlepoints bear a single symbol reference to “Hallelujah, Baby!,” “West Side Story,” “A Clearing in the Woods,” “Home of the Brave,” “Gypsy,” “Invitation to March,” “The Enclave,” “Do I Hear a Waltz?” “The Time of the Cuckoo,” “Anyone Can Whistle,” and “The Bird Cage.”

Costume and set design sketches from Laurents estate

For those hoping to buy a small keepsake, there are dozens of engraved silver and crystal gifts from cast members and celebrities, as well as awards. Additionally, there are ink and paper costume design sketches by Tony award winners Theoni Aldredge and Irene Sharaff.  Also on the podium are Arthur’s leather bag and an early royal typewriter presumed to have been used in early writings

Among the fine art offerings are a zoomorphic drawing by Yves Tanguey, paintings by Jess “Don” Bachardy and Ellen Adler (an accomplished artist and daughter of Stella Adler), Claude Venard, Ben Shahn, Bernard Perlin, Ernest Fiene, Saul Steinberg,  and Xiang Zhang.

A collection of books, including a copy of “Gypsy,” inscribed by Bernadette Peters, as well as a first edition of Joseph Heller’s “Catch 22,” without the dust jacket and a rare Japanese “Gypsy” script book.

American sampler from Laurents estate

Furnishings from the Laurents estate include traditional American and English tables and chests.Two cock fight chairs and a fine butlers secretary. There is also a group of 20th Century lighting and furniture, a large painted break front, an antique English  mahogany center table and server from Asprey. Other Asprey items include two aubergine velvet benches on turned wood legs and a large decorative tufted ottoman. There is also a collection of art glass, Venitian furniture and vintage jewelry

The auction comes on the heels of the premier of the Discovery Channel’s new reality TV series “Final Offer” on Thursday, May 31 at 10 p.m. EST.  Billy Roland, co-founder of Roland Auctions, has a starring role in the show, along with  dealers Jordan Tabach-Bank, Jacob Chait and Patrick Painter.

Roland Auctions
80 East 11 Street
New York, New York

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