Head of a Man in a Top Hat
numbered 4/8, stamped with conjoined initials of the Modern Art Foundry MA and stamped with the symbol of the Art Founders Guild, model by 1914, cast 1982-1983
Height: 18 inches.
L. Kirstein, Elie Nadelman, New York, 1973, p. 293, no. 67 (the plaster cast referenced)
The present lot is a posthumous cast produced by the present owner and Lincoln Kirstein, in 1982-83, at Modern Art Foundry, New York. This bronze is one among an edition of eight casts. No known editions of this model were produced in bronze during the artist's lifetime and the present cast was not authorized by the artist's estate.
The plaster from which this work was cast is in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. According to Lincoln Kirstein, this plaster model served as the prototype for the painted brass Man in a Top Hat, circa 1920-24, which is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. (L. Kirstein, Elie Nadelman, New York, 1973, p. 293)
By all accounts, Michael Hall, actor, collector and art dealer, was a memorable character who led a truly remarkable life. Michael delighted in being outrageous - frequently the life of the party, always with an entertaining repertory of anecdotes and jokes. Michael was also a very serious collector with an inquisitive nature, extremely passionate and opinionated concerning his chosen field of Renaissance and Baroque art, and was always willing to share his vast knowledge. Michael was mentored by Wilhelm Valentiner, a specialist in Italian Renaissance art and then a consultant to what would become the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Through Valentiner, Hall was introduced to Sir John Pope-Hennessy and Sir Kenneth Clark, and formed friendships with a number of authorities including Rudolf Wittkower, H.W. Janson and Francis Watson. In 1963, Hall moved to New York, and with William Mills, opened a gallery at 6 East 79th Street. His clients grew to include among others, Charles and Jayne Wrightsman, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Art, Boston, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Detroit Institute of Art. In later years, Michael and his husband, Thomas divided time between their Florida, New York and Connecticut residences, but never stopped enjoying and collecting decorative arts. Those who knew Michael would agree his passion for collecting knew no bounds.
Property from the Michael Hall Collection, Miami Beach, Florida
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