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Living the Impossible Dream

Living the Impossible Dream

Explore the Collection of Hellen and Joe Darion

27 March 2019

On Sunday, April 14, Rago will offer for sale a selection of property from the Estate of Hellen and Joe Darion, amassed over a shared lifetime spent traveling and collecting art from around the world.

Though best known as the lyricist behind the Tony Award winning musical “Man of La Mancha”, Joe Darion and his wife, professional dancer Hellen Darion, were also avid collectors of Indian and Persian manuscripts, Asian decorative objects, and fine art, much of which they gathered during their many adventures across South Asia. Notable examples in the Darions’ collection have been sourced by museums for exhibition and scholars for dissertations. Rago Auctions is pleased to offer bidders the opportunity to purchase art and antiquities from their personal collection, all fresh to market, in a 115 lot auction dedicated to the adventuring spirit of this inspiring couple.

Lot 1001 - Indian Manuscript Illustration

Portrait of a prince with falcon, Kishangargh, late 18th c.; Gouache and ink with gilt details on paper (framed); 9" x 5 3/4" (sight)

$3,000 – 4,000

One of dozens of fine Indo-Persian manuscript pages on offer in this sale, this late 18th century example hails from the region associated with the former Indian State of Kishangargh and references the practice of falconry, one of the greatest pastimes of Persian royalty.

Lot 1106 - Sculpture of a Minotaur

Patinated brass, enameled steel, carved signature "NATALIA"; Overall: 80" x 36" x 24"

$600 – 900

This dramatic brass and steel sculpture of the Minotaur exemplifies the Darions' attraction to cultural story-telling and world mythologies. It stands nearly 7' tall, presenting with no breaks or repairs and an even, warm patina.

Lot 1109 - Nino Caffé (Italian, 1908 – 1975)

Apocalisse, oil on canvas laid to board (framed); Signed; 27" x 53 1/4"

$4,000 – 6,000

This signed and framed oil on canvas by Italian artist Nino Caffé is one of his largest (27” tall and over 57” long). Its subject is one to which Caffé frequently returned: men and women of the cloth in unlikely situations.

Lot 1100 - T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

Lounge Chairs for Widdicomb. Walnut and upholstery, Grand Rapids, Michigan

$1,600 – 2,200

This pair of modern lounge chairs designed by T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings for the Widdicomb Furniture Company also belonged to the Darions. Inspired by classic design, they demonstrate a quintessentially mid-century aesthetic - a fine metaphor for the couple themselves.

Lot 1082 - Khmer Head of a Boddhisattva

Four-faced Boddhisattva, red sandstone, 12th c.; 15"

$10,000 – 15,000

This finely carved sandstone figure depicts a rare four-faced manifestation of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddhist deity of compassion. Despite being a later Khmer carving, the sculpture maintains many features of the earlier style in its distinctive visages and heavily jeweled crowns and earrings. The double ushnisha (top knot) with its multiple images of seated Buddha Shakyamuni, infrequently seen in such figures, greatly enhances its aesthetic value.

View more from the Estate of Hellen and Joe Darion headed to auction on April 14 in the sale’s online catalog, here.