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Noted Auction House to Open L.A. Gallery

August 07, 1988|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

Art and antique lovers might say it's about time!

Butterfield & Butterfield, the 123-year-old San Francisco-headquartered auction house, plans to open its first gallery in Southern California this fall.

An auction Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. of furniture and decorative arts will kick off the new 25,000-square-foot gallery in a renovated Spanish colonial-style building at 7601 Sunset Blvd., and it will be the first auction gallery of an international art auction house in Los Angeles since Sotheby's closed in 1982, said Bernard Osher, Butterfield & Butterfield president.

Does this mean that Los Angeles--with its current expansion of the County Museum of Art and recent opening of the Museum of Contemporary Art--has finally arrived?

Maybe so. The Music Center Opera starts its third season Oct. 7. The Joffrey Ballet Co. appears regularly here. We've had the Philharmonic for years. Now maybe even those in the art world who called Sotheby's departure "a cultural smear against L.A." and "a black mark" on its cultural scene may cheer. Osher pointed to "the extraordinary growth of the art market in the L.A. area" as a reason for the gallery plans.

Sotheby's and Christy's still maintain offices in L.A., by the way, but they hold their auctions, often for cars and jewelry, in hotels and other places. Butterfield & Butterfield also has had an office in Los Angeles for some time, but auctions have been held in its San Francisco gallery, with bids beamed there by satellite.

In the fall, local bidders will be able to see the items in a 10,000-square-foot display area, make offers on them from the 400-seat auction room and park in a 75-car lot. The two-story building, redesigned by San Francisco architect Harry Turko, also will house the auction house's Los Angeles administrative offices and decorative, fine arts and jewelry departments.

A tasty assortment is planned on the auction menu the first week. Among items to be auctioned: "the largest residential triptych window executed by Tiffany Glass & Decorating Co.," a 2.01-carat gray-blue, round brilliant diamond, estimated to be worth $40,000 to $50,000, and a painting by Thomas Moran, worth $140,000 to $160,000.

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More on art . . . "Art in Architecture" sounds snappy, and that's how the L.A. Convention Center expansion will, hopefully, look under a city program by that name and the help of three artists:

Matt Mullican (known for his charts, posters, banners, stained-glass pieces and etched-granite slabs), Alexis Smith (collage), and Larry Bell (sculptures).

The three were selected from a list of 200 artists to work with the architectural firms Gruen Associates and I.M. Pei & Partners.

James Ingo Freed, I.M. Pei's principal for design, said, "The expansion project will be a very specific reflection of Los Angeles." How? One way will be through what he termed: "very special L.A. colors."

Special L.A. colors? Sure, explained Mike Enomoto, Gruen's project manager, "Every city has its own feel--like Washington, D.C. feels like whites and grays, New York feels like browns and blacks. And when I think of L.A., I think of sunshiny, bright, upbeat colors."

Specifically what colors the new 350,000-square-foot exhibit hall will be when it opens in early 1992 hasn't been determined yet. But who knows? They might be a combination never before seen on a building even in L.A., judging from what Enomoto says: "L.A. is a leader in color--even in what people wear!"

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Heartthrob-actor Lorenzo Lamas's former house in the Nichols Canyon area of Hollywood has been purchased as a tear-down for about $600,000 by Debra Ziven and Tim Enright, both of the new West Hollywood realty firm--the Enright Co. "And we plan to build a 6,000-square-foot Connecticut farmhouse there to sell," Enright said.

During the past five years, the two have bought, razed and rebuilt several houses, including comedian Jay Leno's, which was stripped to the foundation and the roof. The rebuilt house, also in Nichols Canyon, sold a month ago for about $800,000.

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A Pasadena architectural firm, which is designing a production studio for the popular ABC-TV soap "General Hospital," has changed its name to AP&T. Reason? In its 13 years, the architects designed lots of hot projects, such as the TV studio, but because their company's name--Abrahamian Pagliassotti & Tanaka--was tough to spell and pronounce, they figured it might be easy to forget.

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Ritz Cove is an appropriate name for this project, which officially opens Aug. 13. It's on the oceanfront adjacent to the ritzy Ritz-Carlton hotel and 18-hole golf course in Laguna Niguel, and the prices go as high as $2.2 million--for land only! (That's on a par with Beverly Hills land prices.) The 101 home sites are an $80-million development of the Stein-Brief Group.

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