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Roland to sell Broadway legend Arthur Laurents' estate June 2

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Written by Auction House PR   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 13:34

Some of the costume and set designs from the Arthur Laurents sale. Image courtesy Roland Auctions.

NEW YORK – The estate of legendary Broadway playwright and director Arthur Laurents will be auctioned on Saturday, June 2, at Roland Auctions. The auction offers approximately 400 lots from the estate—and 700 lots in total—of fine art, Art glass and Americana, Broadway memorabilia, antique furniture and books that once filled the Arthur Laurents’ townhouse in Greenwich Village. will provide Internet live bidding. The sale will begin at 11 a.m. EDT.

Tony Award-winning Laurents wrote such enduring musicals as West Side Story, Gypsy, and Hallelujah, Baby! He created The Bird Cage in 1950 and wrote the novel The Turning Point, in 1997. In 1962, he directed I Can Get It For You Wholesale, the play that launched the career of Barbra Streisand.

Streisand has said of Laurents’ work that “he created people you care about because he cared about people.” Much of that sentiment is evident in the many types of items he collected.

Highlights of the auction include a collection of nine 18th and 19th century samplers. One by Hannah Merrill, states her birth date as May 8, 1789. Another says “This wrought in the year 1790.” Still another has the name Sarah Webster stitched into it along with the child’s age, 6 years, and the year, 1835.

This samplers may have inspired a collection of 11 20th century miniature needlepoints commemorating Arthur Laurents’ work. Approximately 4 inches square, the needlepoints bear a single symbol reference to Hallelujah, Baby!, West Side Story, A Clearing in the Woods, Home of the Brave, Gypsy, Invitation to March, The Enclave, Do I Hear a Waltz? The Time of the Cuckoo, Anyone Can Whistle and The Bird Cage.

For those hoping to buy a small keepsake, there are dozens of engraved silver and crystal gifts from cast members and celebrities, as well as awards. Additionally, there are ink and paper costume design sketches by Tony award winners Theoni Aldredge and Irene Sharaff. Also on the podium are Arthur’s leather bag and an early Royal typewriter presumed to be used in early writings.

Among the fine art offerings are a zoomorphic drawing by Yves Tanguey, paintings by Jess “Don” Bachardy and Ellen Adler (an accomplished artist and daughter of Stella Adler), Claude Venard, Ben Shahn, Bernard Perlin, Ernest Fiene, Saul Steinberg and Xiang Zhang.

A collection of books, including a copy of Gypsy, inscribed by Bernadette Peters, as well as other books like The Show Makers by Lawrence Thelen, The Gay Metropolis by Charles Kaiser, King of Broadway by Burton Stevenson and Meryle Secrest’s Shoot the Widow.

There is a first edition of Joseph Heller’s Catch 22, without the dust jacket and a rare Japanese Gypsy script book.

Furnishings from the Laurents estate include traditional American and English tables and chests. Two cock fight chairs and a fine butlers secretary. There is also a group of 20th century lighting and furniture, a large painted break front, an antique English mahogany center table and server from Asprey. Other Asprey items include two aubergine velvet benches on turned wood legs and a large decorative tufted ottoman. There is also a collection of art glass, Venetian furniture and vintage jewelry.

The auction comes on the heels of the premier of the Discovery Channel’s new reality TV series Final Offer on Thursday, May 31 at 10 p.m. EST. Billy Roland, co-founder of Roland Auctions, has a starring role in the show, along with dealers Jordan Tabach-Bank, Jacob Chait and Patrick Painter.

Hosted by Michael Kalish, the show is said to be “an intense and dramatic high-stakes face off.”

For more information on the June 2 “The Way He Was” auction featuring the estate of Arthur Laurents and centenarian Lydia Hawthorne, among others, visit

Roland Auctions is located at 80 E. 11th St., between University Place and Broadway. Previews begin on Wednesday, May 30, and continue through Friday, June 1, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to


Some of the costume and set designs from the Arthur Laurents sale. Image courtesy Roland Auctions.

Items from the home of Arthur Laurents highlight Roland Auctions June 2 sale. The parlor of Laurents' St. Luke’s townhouse, as it was. Image courtesy Roland Auctions.

One of the nine 18th and 19th samplers from the Arthur Laurents estate. Image courtesy Roland Auctions.

Two samplers from the Arthur Laurents estate collection. Image courtesy Roland Auctions.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 17:36

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