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Glimpse of Murat history brings $9,000
By William Flood

INDIANAPOLIS — On Dec. 15 Ripley Auctions presented a two-part auction of the private collection of the late Indiana artist Claudine Kelsey-Paluzzi. She was a graduate of the John Herron School of Art and Indiana University, eventually working in Europe and the U.S. as a fine artist and educator, including serving as an instructor at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

The collection contained almost 500 lots that spanned five continents worth of cultural items, fine art, furniture, jewelry, and other items. The auction was handled by Dan Ripley.

Cultural objects included 29 pieces of Asian art, 22 pieces of African art, Middle-Eastern antiquities, and Latin American items. At the auction’s outset, a Chinese Tibetan gilt bronze seated figure of the three-face, eight-arm Guanyin sold for an impressive $3,480. The Avalokiteshvara is seated on double lotus throne pad; the eight hands are raised at different heights holding objects; two front hands are possibly missing ritual objects.

There were nearly five-dozen pieces of furniture, including four pieces of Stickley and 12 additional items of Arts and Crafts furniture, lighting, and decorative accessories. The Stickley pieces included a Gustav Stickley Arts & Crafts oak daybed Model 191 selling for $3,000. It featured original leather cushions, original rope foundation, three pillows, along with its original finish, manufacturer’s decal, and signature. Also selling well at $1,875, an L&JG Stickley Arts & Crafts mahogany slat-back rocking chair with six vertical slats and new red leather upholstery.

A circa 1915 Oscar Bach-attributed bronze and iron fountain with copper bowl, ornate Bacchanalian openwork, and iron scroll legs fetched $1,800.

There were more than 100 lots of fine art, including paintings, prints, pottery, and sculpture. The highest priced obtained across the auction was for five original 1922 scale renderings of Egyptian Room friezes for the Murat Shrine Temple in Indianapolis, selling for an impressive $9,000. Prebid estimates ranged from $1,500-$3,000. They were from the family of Helen Eaton Jacoby (Indiana, born 1888) the daughter of Elias J. Jacoby, under whose leadership the Murat Theater was built. Helen Eaton Jacoby conceived of the Egyptian theme for the theater which opened in 1922 near the height of Egyptian style popularity.

Two lithographs by Chinese-French painter Zao Wou-Ki also sold well. An abstract landscape, La Vieille Ville and a still life Hortensias, each from 1953, signed and numbered sold for $3,600 and $3,840 respectively.

An 11-inch lathe-turned sweetgum vessel signed and branded by Ed Moulthrop, sold for $3,840 despite prebid estimates of $2,000-$2,500. Moulthrop (1916-2003) was an American architect and wood-turner and father to three generations of wood artists. Ripley is particularly noted for their fine jewelry auctions; this one continued the tradition with 143 jewelry pieces and 50 vintage purses dating back as far as the 1920s. A rare MB Boucher enamel gryphon brooch once featured on the back cover of Brunialti’s American Costume Jewelry, sold for $1,375. A Trifari Alfred Philippe carnation brooch with invisibly set ruby and emerald colored baguettes and pavè leaves, in good condition sold for $1,750, well above pre-bid estimates.

Purses included a 1990s Chanel classic fabric, sold for $1,750 - over three times prebid estimates. The purse featured a double flap, a yellow, pink and purple paint splatter pattern, goldtone hardware, Chanel stamp, and holographic serial number.

Ripley’s auctions are fully cataloged, live auctions also listed on and reaching buyers locally and around the world.

For more information visit or call (317) 251-5635

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