This 6 ft [2 metre]-long oil painting of Cleopatra's Last Moments by the 'little known' French artist D. Pauvert (left) will be sold along with an array of treasures from Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch -- such as his antiques, arcade games and stage memorabilia -- at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills, California, on 21 - 25 April of this year.
The King of Pop: a Once in a Lifetime Auction Featuring The Personal Property of Michael Jackson.
Ranging from Jackson's iconic white-jewelled glove to the grandiose entry gates to the Neverland (named after Peter Pan's idyllic land where "you never grow up, never grow up, not me!"), Michael Jackson's belongings and inspirational junk are up for sale in an auction boasting more than 2,000 items described by the the auction house's website as "museum quality" .
You can view the Cleopatra painting as large as life -- and twice as ugly, as we used to say when we were not grown up -- in the page-flipping on-line catalogue of 'Antiques, Paintings and Fine Decorative Art' (page 111). Other highlights are currently on view at the Museum of Style Icons in Co Kildare, Ireland. Even if you can't get to Kildare or Beverly Hills in April (whyever not?), you can participate on-line. Just want to watch? Auction Network will broadcast the Michael Jackson auction live and stream the video through the internet.
Personally, I prefer watching Peter Pan.
Julien's Auctions has sold items from celebrities such as Sir Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Marilyn Monroe, and even former President Bill Clinton [the mind boggles: I will not think about a blue dress].
But they did sell, and undoubtedly with great success, Elizabeth Taylor's headdress (left)-- the one she wore when she portrayed the Egyptian queen in the Academy Award winning film Cleopatra!
The headdress was constructed of a fitted nylon cap, having a gold woven netted base, affixed synthetic white flowers, gold leaves and bunches small gold beads.*
I confess I don't know its hammer price. The estimate was $ 2,000-3,000.
Pauvert's Cleopatra carries an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000.
Whose Painting Is It Anyway?
There is an identical painting by Jean André Rixens (1846-1924) in the Musée des Augustins, Toulouse, France. It is entitled Mort de Cleopatre and dated 1874. Except for the artist, and the fact that it is hanging (as we speak) in a foreign museum, it is a twin in size, shape, colour, and image to the one up for grabs in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Now, how can that be?
This could well be your "Once In A Lifetime" chance to buy a museum-shop copy done by D. Pauvert in 1892.
Whatever will Liz Taylor say?
Updated 15 April 2009: Michael Jackson Auction Halted!
Yesterday's Los Angeles Times broke the bad news under the headline 'All the Rage'.
The auction of treasures collected from Michael Jackson's Neverland estate has been halted, according to representatives of the pop star and Julien's Auctions, the Beverly Hills house responsible for the sale. The Prez of Julien's said, "we reached a resolution and we're very happy about. It allows Michael to retain ownership of his possessions. He contracted us to conduct the auction and had a change of mind for whatever reason. And we honor and respect that. We're very happy with the outcome.“
So that's all right, then. Except maybe for the grammar.
Were you hoping to have that once in a lifetime's chance to own Cleopatra's Last Moments by D. Pauvert? Don't fret. Sooner or later, I'm sure you can find another copy on the market. Or, worst come to worst, you could visit Toulouse, France, and see the original.
Thanks to RogueClassicism for alerting me to Cleopatra on auction (and to a comment by Gi regarding Rixens).
According to the auction catalog (vol. 3 p. 109), Pauvert's painting is “believed to be Lot 96 in Sotheby’s New York Sale of 19th century European Paintings and Sculpture held on May 23, 1996″.
* The headdress was designed by Irene Sharaff (who won an Academy Award for the film for Best Costume Design). A label inside reads: "Made To Order/Rex/Beverly Hills/California." It was sold by The Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Motion Picture Collection.
Upper left: From Reuters Pictures via Daylife Publishers
Middle and lower right: from Julien's Auctions