Deck the walls

It’s dueling art collector day on Soho the Dog!

Pablo Picasso’s Head of a Woman in Profile (Jacqueline), a 1970 canvas that’s part of the Lazarof collection, a major trove of modernist art that was given to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art this week.

The “fractional and partial” gift, in which title passes to the museum over a number of years, includes 20 paintings and drawings by Picasso, seven bronze sculptures and a painting by Alberto Giacometti, 11 drawings by Klee, two versions of “Bird in Space” by sculptor Constantin Brancusi, and late 19th-century works by Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro.

Not a bad haul for a composer. Yes, a composer—that’s Lazarof as in Henri Lazarof, longtime UCLA professor—though it would seem that the main wherewithal came from Lazarof’s wife Janice, daughter of noted LA philanthropist Mark Taper. LACMA has been very, very good this Christmas—the collection is one masterpiece after another.

Now, yesterday in Milan, Sotheby’s was auctioning off some other artwork, as part of a sale of letters, paintings, and various other tchotchkes formerly owned by Maria Callas. And what did La Divina grace her walls with? Sad clowns!

That’s a Clown by A. Morgante, which sold for 750 Euros—which, it should be noted, was well above the 350-500 estimate: the Callas mystique still holds. To be fair, there was quite a bit of worthy stuff—this Baldassare Carrari (free registration required) is rather nice—and maybe the clowns were Meneghini’s, anyway. (I see Maria walking through the house, passing the clown painting in the hallway, and, every time, giving it that dagger-sharp big-eyed Callas look.) But honestly, what is that tie made of? Lemon meringue? The eye of the beholder, indeed.

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