Auction of the Week: Sotheby's 'Creating a Stage' - the Collection of Marsha and Robin Williams



2018-09-12 10:50:19

Our featured sale this week is 'Creating a Stage' - the Collection of Marsha and Robin Williams, which takes place at Sotheby's in New York on October 4. Spanning memorabilia from Williams' remarkable career, to highlights from his personal art collection, here are 10 of our favorite lots.

Three first editions of Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

Estimate: $1,500 - $2,500

This trio of books comprises the French, U.S and English first editions of Samuel Beckett's play 'Waiting for Godot', published between 1952 and 1956.

In 1988 Williams made his theatrical debut in a production of the play alongside fellow comedian Steve Martin, playing the iconic tramps Vladimir and Estragon.

The production was directed by the legendary Mike Nichols and brought Williams' abilities as an actor to the fore, which he used as a springboard to play more serious roles throughout his career.

"Blame Canada" Light-Up Shirt, Worn By Williams at the 2000 Academy Awards

Estimate: $1,500 - $2,000

In 1999 the song 'Blame Canada' from the animated comedy film 'South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut' was nominated for 'Best Song' at the Academy Awards.

Robin Williams agreed to perform the humorous song, including digs at almost every famous Canadian, at the Oscar ceremony backed by a chorus line of Mounties.

At the song's finale he revealed this T-shirt beneath his blazer, complete with an illuminated anti-Canada maple leaf emblem.

"Robin on Stage of the Metropolitan Opera House During Publicity Shoot, New York, 1986" by Arthur Grace

Estimate: $1,000 - $2,000

This photograph by Arthur Grace, with whom Williams worked closely for many years, was taken during a publicity shoot for his 1986 standup show at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.

Williams became the first solo comedian to perform at the legendary venue, which was broadcast on HBO to much acclaim, and the subsequent recording of the show won the 1988 Grammy Award for Best Comedy Performance.

Marx Brothers A Day At The Races (1937) Movie Poster

Estimate: 5,000 - $7,000

Williams received this original poster for the Marx Brothers' classic movie 'A Day at the Races' in 2004 as a birthday gift from his close friend, director Steven Spielberg.

The pair had worked together on the film Hook (1991), and when Spielberg was working on his Holocaust film Schindler's List in 1993 he received regular calls from Williams, who would perform stand-up comedy routines to alleviate Spielberg's mood.

"Alligator" Bench by Judy Kensley McKie

Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000

This patinated bronze Alligator bench is the work of Judy Kensley McKie, the acclaimed U.S furniture maker renowned for her sculptural pieces based on animals and birds.

Blue Cowboy No. 1 (Gunslinger) by Yoram Wolberger

Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000

This larger-than-life sculpture of a plastic toy cowboy was one of several sculptures by Yoram Wolberger found in Williams' garden.

"I adore the Cowboy because it was the kind of toy Robin played with growing up," said Marsha Williams. "There were these little plastic badly-molded toys that you could get a bag of cowboys, or army men, or whatever. This was the large sculptural version of that. I loved that for him."

Madrone (Cody) by Deborah Butterfield

Estimate: $220,000 - $280,000

Williams and his wife Marsha were fans of the American artist Deborah Butterfield, known for her sculptures of horses created using found materials.

The couple invited Butterfield to their Napa ranch in 2000, and commissioned her to produce three sculptures for their children Zak, Zelda and Cody.

Butterfield then collected scattered fallen branches from oak, madrone, and manzanita trees on the property, and used them to create sculptures which were then cast in bronze. This horse, originally made from madrone branches, was dedicated to Williams' youngest son Cody.

Happy Choppers by Banksy

Estimate: $400,000 - $600,000

Williams was a fan of the elusive street artist Banksy and owned several of his artworks. He acquired this iconic canvas from the Lazarides Gallery in London in 2006, and it hung for several years in a room dedicated to his collection of military models and memorabilia.

Robin Williams Golden Globe Award, Best Television Actor In A Comedy Or Musical Series For Mork And Mindy (1978)

Estimate: $15,000 - $20,000

Williams' breakthrough role as Mork the alien in the classic sitcom Mork and Mindy saw him catapulted to international stardom in 1978.

The show's first season was a huge success, ranking as the third-highest show on U.S television with viewing figures of almost 26 million.

The show also brought Williams the first accolade of his career, as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association gave him the Best Television Actor In A Comedy Or Musical Series award at the 36th Golden Globe Awards in January 1979.

Le Poète Et Sa Muse by Niki de Saint-Phalle

Estimate: $350,000 - $450,000

This colourful sculpture is entitled 'La Poete et sa Muse' (The Poet and his Muse), and was created by the French-American artist Niki de Saint-Phalle in 1973.

Williams acquired the sculpture at auction in 1996 and gave it as a gift to his wife Marsha, who notes that it was one of her husband's favourite pieces from their art collection.

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