Thursday, May 15, 2014

Jazz art from Richard McDonnell collection available for purchase on Saturday, June 14

A variety of jazz-related artwork collected by Richard "Rich" McDonnell, the late founder and owner of MAXJAZZ records, will be available for viewing and purchase in a special event from noon to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, June 14 at the MAXJAZZ offices, 115 Lockwood Ave in Webster Groves.

Jeff Appel, a photography dealer and friend of the McDonnell family who's managing the sale, says the collection encompasses more than 175 pieces, including photos, lithographs, etchings, sculpture, posters, and prints. McDonnell, who started MAXJAZZ in 1998 after retiring from a career as an investment banker, died from complications of a stroke in February of this year.

Before preparing for the sale, "I knew he had great quality, but I didn't realize the quantity," said Appel. The atmosphere of the event will be casual, he said, with drinks, music, and "no gallery stuffiness (no offense intended)."

The photo collection includes work by Jimmy Katz, who photographed many musicians for MAXJAZZ album covers; as well as pictures by William Gottlieb, William Claxton and Chuck Stewart, who's been in the news recently, as previously unseen photos he took of legendary saxophonist John Coltrane were rediscovered and donated to the Smithsonian. (Another of Stewart's famous photos of the saxophonist and his wife Alice Coltrane illustrates this post.)

There's also a 30-piece portfolio of images by Herman Leonard, which has been displayed for more than 10 years at Jazz at the Bistro and features iconic photos of Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday and many more.

And speaking of Davis, McDonnell's collection of prints includes work by the trumpeter, who enjoyed drawing and painting when he wasn't making music, as well as William Tolliver and Joseph Holston, whose image of Coltrane was used for the poster for Jazz Appreciation Month this year.

"This is a great chance for new or experienced collectors to pick up a piece from the MAXJAZZ collection, and to see what a true lover of all things jazz that Richard was," said Appel. Prices will range from $50 for some modern reprints of historical posters, on up to $35,000 for a "huge" Holston painting, with much of the work in the $500 to $3,000 range.

"I know (that) isn't cheap," said Appel, "but a lot of it is museum-collected work that is rarely on the market, and for what it's worth, almost everything is nicely framed, and that is generally at least a $200 to $400 expense for a smaller piece that makes this work ready to hang and enjoy."

Appel said he's pleased that a number of the pieces already sold seem likely to stay in St. Louis collections, and will be available for loan to the Sheldon and the International Photography Hall of Fame for future exhibitions, "once again confirming the great taste that Richard had, as well as keeping his memory alive."

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