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BOBBY SHORT POSSESSIONS ON AUCTION AT CHRISTIE'S

Bobby Short
Photo courtesy of Bobby Short Enterprises

 

 

Staff Report

NEW YORK, 11 FEBRUARY 2006—On 16 February, Christie's New York will auction the personal property of Bobby Short. This 250-lot sale will offer the contents of Mr. Short’s three bedroom apartment on Sutton Place on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, featuring everything from his cufflinks to his grand piano. A self-proclaimed "saloon singer," the late Bobby Short was a living legend and quickly became a New York institution, performing in one of the most distinctive jazz venues, the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan, for over 35 years.


Bechstein Black Lacquered Grand Piano with Bench, 1971
Photo courtesy of Christie's New York

Born in Danville, Illinois, Mr. Short trained himself by ear to play the piano and sing and began performing and touring in vaudeville at the age of 12. His career achievements include album releases and nightclub performances in major cities around the world, earning him status as the nation’s most celebrated cabaret performer. He was praised by many and was a favorite among the international jet set, yet he remained humble and true to his audience. An active member of the music and arts community, he was a Trustee at the Studio Museum in Harlem and a Board Member at the Third Street Music School Settlement, as well as the founder and President of the Duke Ellington Memorial Fund. Mr. Short may have joined these institutions in an effort to keep the arts alive, but many will agree that his greatest contribution to ‘the cause’ was his music.


Bill Traylor (American, 1854-1947)
Black Cow, c. 1939-42
Crayon and gouache on paper
13 3/4 in. X 11 in. (35 X 27.9 cm.)
Photo courtesy of Christie's New York

Bobby Short led an elegant life, which manifested itself in the property of his ‘cocktail chic’ apartment. Leading the sale is his Bechstein black lacquer grand piano with bench (estimate: $30,000 - 40,000). Other highlights include his art deco mahogany and parchment-veneered writing desk (estimate: $3,000 – 5,000) and monogrammed Cartier silver ice bucket and cover (estimate: $2,000 – 3,000), items he used on a regular basis.


A Cartier Silver Ice Bucket and Cover
Marked Cartier, Modern
Cylindrical with Two Swing Handles, Momogramed RWS on Front, Glass Lining, Knopped Cover, Fully Marked; Together with Three Pairs of Silver Plated Ice Tongs
9 1/4 in. (23.5 cm.) High
Photo courtesy of Christie's New York

In addition to his personal effects, aficionados will be drawn to his collection of African tribal art, works by African Americans, and historical African American memorabilia. Mr. Short was proud of his heritage and collected in these categories as a means to remember the past and support the achievements of African Americans. The highlight of his collection is Bill Traylor’s Black Cow, circa 1939-1942, which is expected to realize between $25,000 – 35,000.

Click here for a Culturekiosque 2003 interview with Bobby Short at the Hotel Ritz in Paris.  

Christie's New York



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