Tag Archives: Los Angeles Modern Auctions

Five Facts About Richard Dorso

The preview + exhibition has officially opened!

Eager previewers have been asking questions about the collection, but they have also been curious about Richard Dorso. Here are five facts about Richard Dorso:

1. Richard Dorso was an agent at William Morris in the 30s and went on to be executive producer on shows such as, “The Fugitive”, “Outer Limits”, “Gilligan’s Island”, “The Patty Duke Show”, “Sea Hunt” and “The Doris Day Show”.

2. Richard Dorso lived in the Empire West apartment building (1100 Alta Loma, West Hollywood, CA) from 1966 until he passed away this year at the age of 101.

3.  In 1969, Richard, who was voted by Esquire one of the top ten best dressed men, more than once,  and his wife Betty Dorso, editor of Glamour Magazine and Model of the Year in 1936, opened a clothing store on Camden Drive – Dorso.  Their store, which looked like their apartment, was a source for exceptional clothing and objets, and allowed Richard to blend his love of fashion and art together. The store allowed Richard the ability to converse with everyone who came in – he loved talking to interesting people, some say he even made it a profession.  Hi friends still talk about the famous “Dorso jacket” –  a blazer made of a special kind of wooly material that had red grosgrain ribbons under the buttons of the sleeves on the jacket, a special Dorso touch.

4. In the late 1930s, when Richard was living in San Francisco, he became the agent to Duke Ellington.  During this time there was a potential for a music strike, and because of this Richard encouraged Duke Ellington to go to the studio and put down some sides, so they would have an income stream if everything fell apart. One night, after Duke Ellington played a gig with his band, they all, including Richard, went back to the studio to record more music.  It was this night in San Francisco, Duke Ellington recorded the famous jazz anthem, Take the “A” Train, and Richard was witness to it all.

5.   Richard Dorso was friends with Billy Wilder and Norman Lear, and would take them around to galleries to browse the art. According to Norman Lear, Richard was “friend to every Lew Wasserman, Jim Aubrey and Billy Wilder in town, sartorial tutor to Cary Grant and every Cary Grant wanna-be.”

All the lots that will be auctioned off on October 9, 2011 are now available online, click here for the online catalogue.  Check out The Collection of Richard Dorso on CURBED LA. 

To see all of the pieces from The Collection of Richard Dorso, come to the LAMA Showroom: 16145 Hart St. Van Nuys, CA 91406. Open everyday, free and open to the public: 10am – 6pm

John Baldessari, Top Pacific Standard Time Artist

Jori Finkel of the Los Angeles Times wrote a recent article outlining the top 20 artists that will be featured the most in Pacific Standard Time exhibitions.

Top of the list: John Baldessari

(whose work will be shown in 11 Pacific Standard Time exhibitions)

LAMA is offering two John Baldessari phototext paintings for sale in the October 9, 2011 Auction of The Collection of Richard Dorso.  Unlike at the museums, you can actually take one of these home. 


Lot 160
John Baldessari
8th and D, National City
Photographic emulsion and acrylic on canvas
Retains Molly Barnes Gallery label verso
14” x 14”
Provenance: Molly Barnes Gallery, Los Angeles
Literature: Forthcoming catalogue raisonne, #1968.5
John Baldessari: National City, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, 1996, pg. 105.
Exhibited: “John Baldessari: Pure Beauty”, Molly Barnes Gallery, Los Angeles, October 6 – 28, 1968
Estimate: $80,000-120,000


Lot 161
John Baldessari
Sleep While You Grow Rich
Ink on canvas
Signed and dated “Baldessari 67” recto; Molly Barnes Gallery label verso
12” x 12”
Provenance: Molly Barnes Gallery, Los Angeles
Literature: Forthcoming catalogue raisonne, #1967.5
Exhibited: “John Baldessari: Pure Beauty”, Molly Barnes Gallery, Los Angeles, October 6 – 28, 1968
Estimate: $80,000-120,000

In 1959 John Baldessari emerged from his post-graduate studies at the Otis Art Institute and Chouinard Institute a painter, though he was supremely frustrated and discouraged by his experiences in Los Angeles. While there, he lacked gallery space, was confused about what kind of artist he wanted to become, and he felt himself fading into irrelevance. He decided it was time to return to his hometown. Baldessari’s homecoming to National City, a working-class suburb between San Diego and the Mexican border, would be considered a poor decision by most. At the time, the town was known for little more than its “Mile of Cars”, a stretch of highway crowded with new and used car lots. He made his living teaching public school art courses, and with the help of his father, a real estate agent, he found a tiny studio space at the rear of a Laundromat. After searching for inspiration to paint, he abstained from traditional landscapes and overwrought contemporary variations in favor of photographs that document his hometown. He initially used his photos as “a sort of note-taking” and soon concluded, “‘Why do I have to translate this into a painting? What’s wrong with a photograph?’”

It was in 1966 that Baldessari created a new form that emerged from what art critic and historian Jan Avgikos calls “a void characterized by cultural isolation, boredom, and estrangement.” From 1966 to 1970, Baldessari created phototext paintings that blur the distinction between painting and photography, the result of his existence in National City sequestered from any major art scene. Although his images are more snapshots with distracting obstructions and newspaper-style graininess, they depict with stark realism an understanding of National City as it really is. For his phototexts, including 8th and D, National City (1966-68), Baldessari “hired a commercial sign painter who was instructed to use as straightforward a lettering style as possible.”

At the Molly Barnes Gallery on La Cienega in 1968, Baldessari, with assistance from artist David Antin, somehow convinced Barnes to host a one-week show between two already scheduled artists. She agreed, but Baldessari had to pay the cost of the U-Haul truck to carry his works from National City. Instead of cash, he gave Barnes A Painting That Is Its Own Documentation (1968). This show was his first in Los Angeles, the city he fled a decade earlier in response to dissatisfaction with his own incessant figure drawings and abstract expressionist recreations. Paintings from the show, including Wrong (1967), now housed in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, reveal an artist leading with a singular vision of art and nothing to lose. Sleep While You Grow Rich (1966-67) was also exhibited, which Richard Dorso bought on a quiet October afternoon.

– Paul DesMarais, Contributing Writer

Avgikos, Jan. “Stating the Obvious.” John Baldessari: National City. Ed. Hugh M. Davies and Andrea Hales. San Diego: Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, 1996. 18-21. Print.
Hales, Andrea. “National City Revisited.” John Baldessari: National City. Ed. Hugh M. Davies and Andrea Hales. San Diego: Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, 1996. 10-13. Print.
Plagens, Peter. “First Break: Peter Plagens on John Baldessari.” ArtForum Feb. 2002. Print.




12 days until

Collecting in Los Angeles 1945 – 1980

officially opens.

As part of Collecting in Los Angeles 1945 – 1980, LAMA has invited David John of the acclaimed art and interiors blog You Have Been Here Sometime (YHBHS) to create, design, and style a three-week interior showcase, the first of its kind, at the LAMA showroom that will exhibit a fresh and current perspective of Richard Dorso’s lifelong collection.

Utilizing David John’s skills as an  interior designer, LAMA has invited this local California designer to create an intimate space that brings together the past and present, shining a light on how Modern Art and Design is viewed in today’s  current art and interiors scene.

Stay tuned to YHBHS for David’s perspective on images, related interviews, and events regarding the interior space he has created for the October 9, 2011 Auction of The Collection of Richard Dorso.

Event Details

Pacific Standard Time Exhibit and Preview:
September 19 – October 8, 2011; 10am – 6pm open daily 
Exhibit concludes with an auction with no reserves of Mr. Dorso’s entire collection on October 9, 2011 (12pm Noon PST)
LAMA Showroom: 16145 Hart St. Van Nuys, CA 91406
Exhibit, preview and auction are open to the public and free to attend

Lot Information

Lot 291
Julio Le Parc Forme en Contorsion sur Trames Rouges
Boxed kinetic multiple with motorized aluminum motif
# 57 of 250
Editions Denise René, Paris
Editions Denise René label verso
39.5″ x 12″ x 6″
Estimate $4,000 – 6,000
To be sold in the October 9, 2011 Auction of The Collection of Richard Dorso

June 26, 2011 Auction Catalogues

The June 26, 2011 Modern Art & Design Auction catalogue is officially at the printers. We will be getting the fresh copies by June 1st.

Want to pre-order your very own catalogue?

Click HERE for the catalogue order form.

Lot Information:

Lot 117
Joan Miro
Day (Jour)

Color lithograph
#27 of 100
Signed lower right; edition lower left
Image 15” x 10.75”; Frame 22.5” x 17.75”
Estimate $2,000-3,000

Lot 256
Lighted Easel

designed circa 1955
Overall height 84”h
Estimate $4,000-6,000

Preview Now Open for the March 6th Auction

The preview officially opened yesterday and will be open every day through March 5th from 10am – 6pm. All of the 524 lots offered in the March 6th auction are displayed in the LAMA Showroom: 16145 Hart St. Van Nuys CA 91406.

To see photos of lots in the preview check out this article in Luxist.

A Modern Perspective

Today marks the third day of photography, which means chairs, tables, couches and lamps have all be shot for the upcoming October 2010 catalogue.  phew.

Just on set was this interesting paper-mache statue of Mies van der Rohe, which was created by students in the architecture department at Cal Poly Pomona. These students gave the statue as a gift to Craig Ellwood, who was a visiting professor at the school back in the 70s. Ellwood kept this statue in his office, and when he was clearing out his office, he gave it to our consignor. The consignor noted that he had the statue restored and put back in its original condition.

More to shoot, more to come!

Call to Consign for LAMA’s 50th Auction!

Yes, it is hard to believe that this October Los Angeles Modern Auctions will conduct its 50th auction since 1992. From Eames, Schindler, and Laszlo, to Bertoia, Giacometti and Picasso,  LAMA has represented Modern to its fullest. The landmark 50th auction will feature important modern works from the 20th century ranging from fine art and furniture to decorative arts and sculpture.

To submit material for this special event, please email Peter Loughrey, peter@lamodern.com, with images and descriptions of items you wish to consign. Deadline for all submissions is August 3, 2010.

Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen “Conversation” armchair prototype, Lot 187 in the May 1999 Auction, Estimate $45,000 - 50,000, Realized $129,000

Getting Ready for Preview

Preview officially opens this Saturday, May 15th and is open through Saturday, May 22nd, everyday from 10am – 6pm daily.

Peter has been working hard to get the showroom looking spectacular! It’s going to be really great to see all the pieces together in one giant room.

Pre-Order your May 23, 2010 Auction Catalogue!

The upcoming May 23, 2010 Modern Art & Design Auction Catalogue is being printed as I type.  If you know that you would like to receive our auction catalogue, please take the time to fill out the pre-order form.

This catalogue will feature important works by:

Fine Art by Andy Warhol, Victor Vasarely, Damien Hirst, Henri, Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Francois-Xavier Lalanne, Ed Ruscha, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.

Decorative Arts by Otto Natzler, Frank Lloyd Wright, Peter Voulkos, Paul Schreckengost, Architectural Pottery and Stan Bitters.

Furniture and Design by George Nakashima, Paul Evans, Phillip Lloyd Powell, Sam Maloof, Marcel Breuer, Van Keppel & Green, George Nelson.

Just in: Suite of Ten Electric Chairs by Andy Warhol, 1971

On the last day of photography some large crates came in for the auction. One particular crate housed a suite of ten Electric Chairs by Andy Warhol. This portfolio of ten screenprints on paper is from an edition of 250 signed and dated ’71 in ink and numbered with a rubber stamp on verso.  Peter is particularly excited about this suite because it is very fresh and clean. This suite is to be offered in the May 23, 2010 Modern Art & Design Auction and is estimated at $150,000 – 200,000.

11.81: Electric Chairs 1971 by Andy Warhol, From a portfolio of ten screenprints on paper

LAMA is offering additional works by Andy Warhol:  “Van Heusen ‘Ronald Reagan'” 1985, “Jane Fonda” 1982, “Edward Kennedy” 1980, and “Kimiko” 1981.