On May 17 this year, one of the greatest American pianists, Van Cliburn will have his collected memorabilia auctioned off at the event by Christie’s. The event will see some 160 rare works of English furniture, Russian works of art, and also silver and jewelry which the pianist had collected over the years, go under the hammer at the event, which will be held on May 17, 2012 in New York. The sale shall perhaps bring to light, the tastes Mr. Cliburn had developed over the years in various different segments of art forms, which he would collect mostly after his concerts, and had naturally turned a connoisseur of such works. The price estimates of the art works range from $1,000 to $250,000.
Back in 1958, Van Cliburn won the International Tchaikovsky Competition which earned him a reputation of being ‘The Texan who conquered Russia’. His fabulous showing at the event earned him an iconic status in the mind of music lovers, who took to his mastery of the piano in a big way. His beginning of tryst with the instrument began when he was just 3 years old, and by the time he was 12, he had made his on stage debut with the Houston Symphony Orchestra .Over the years, he had won numerous awards, awarded scholarships, received honorary doctorate degrees, and performed for many of the visiting heads of state. Recently, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts by the current U.S. president Barack Obama.
The most iconic instrument associated with Mr. Cliburn, is the grand Steinway piano, which also happened to be center of attention in his household ever since his mother, Rildia Bee took to playing it. He himself practiced a lot of his works on this piano, and hence played a crucial role in the development of him into a star. Estimated to fetch between $40,000 and$60,000, this instrument happens to be a Steinway Model D Ebonized Concert Grand Piano, and also had the adjustable bench for the musician.
Though Mr. Alistair Stair from the famous Stair & Company gets the credit for the effective guidance he lent to Mr. Cliburn, the rather sizeable collection of furniture is indeed remarkable. It included vintage Georgian and gothic pieces of furniture, apart from some elements from the Chinese as well. Amongst the total collection, was this George I walnut with marquetry side chairs, known to have been made by James Moore, the royal cabinet maker. The estimates for this pair are in the range of $70,000-$100,000.
Ever since his victory in 1958, the Russians took a very strong liking for the pianist, which eventually became a mutual relationship. Over the years, during his many concerts and visits to the European country, Mr. Clubirn collected many works of Russian art, including those from Faberge, Nicholls & Plincke who were suppliers to the Russian Imperial Court. Among the many pieces was this Silver gilt presentation charger plate created by Mark Cyrillic in Moscow in 1826. The estimates for this one ranges between $120,000 and $180,000.
Since his mother was credited with developing his skills as a pianist, it seems he collected a whole range of jewelry for her as well. In what was to become a whole collection, included pieces of jewelry from the likes of Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier and Buccelati. One such piece is this antique brooch made in 1880, with use of emeralds, diamonds, silver and gold. Experts believe that this auction shall bring in $6,000-$9,000 for this piece of jewelry. However, for other such historic auctions, do check out our listing of most expensive jewelry sold at auction, which included famous names like Elizabeth Taylor and Wallis Simpson.