Historians and collectors world-wide will face off May 14, 2005 when Hantman's Auctioneers and Appraisers sell the Personal Artifacts and Archives Collection of French Impressionist artist Pierre Auguste Renoir during a Live Gallery and Simulcast eBay Auction in Rockville, Maryland at 10:00 A.M.  Bidders can bid live in the gallery sales room or in real time over the internet through eBay Live Auctions via Live Auctioneers.

The historic property was consigned to Hantman's by Renoir's grandson, Paul Renoir, son of Renoir's youngest child, Claude, commonly known as "Coco".  After his death in 1919, Renoir's estate was divided equally between his three sons (Pierre, Jean and Claude) and each received art work and real property. (The estate partition document is in the sale.)  Claude's share included, Les Collettes, Renoir's sprawling home in the south of France in Cagnes-sur-Mer.  

Discovered in Les Collettes were photograph albums, personal documents, deeds, old bank books, expense ledgers, personal letters, estate and business documents.  To preserve the integrity of this historic discovery, the collection will be sold as an entirety.

Renoir's personal artifacts include his signature burgundy and white silk polka dot scarf, spectacles, pince-nez, cigarette holder and French Legion d'honneur medals.  Personal documents include his birth and marriage certificates, house deeds and leases, financial documents, even Renoir's funeral and burial receipts.

Renoir works include a small watercolor, Chateau des Brouillards, a pencil drawing, Portrait of a Woman, and two charcoals on paper, Heads of Women.

Saved were forty tender letters Renoir wrote to wife, Aline, and letters to his sons and unknown persons.  Voluminous handwritten correspondence to Renoir includes letters from contemporary artists and friends like Rodin, Monet, Manet, Georges d' Espagnat and Sacha Guitry which provides a glimpse into the life and concerns of one of the world's greatest painters.

In one letter to his wife, Aline, Renoir writes "get used to my oldness and start saving money because I am uncertain how much more I will be able to earn".  Stricken by crippling arthritis throughout his body, Renoir managed to paint into his later years and, with the aid of an assistant, experiment with sculpture towards the end of his life.  

Family photograph albums contain images of Renoir at home with his family, at work in his studio and garden, and boating and dining with artist friends. The rarest photograph, taken by his son the night before he died, shows Renoir in bed wearing a night cap.  

Hundreds of vintage original glass plate negatives depict Renoir in various daily pursuits with family and work.  Most rare are images of friends and models posed in landscape settings for paintings.  

Also in the collection are fifty-six lithographic copper plates of Renoir's paintings.

Other personal family items include Aline's silk embroidered shawl, kimono and jewelry box and documents pertaining to Renoir's wife, sons and family life.  Ceramics made by Jean Renoir with Renoir at Les Collettes while recuperating from World War I battle wounds and miniature tea services are part of the collection.  

Renoir's career was influenced greatly by prominent French art dealers and collectors, Bernheim-Jeune, Durand-Ruel and Vollard.  The massive archives assembled by Claude, and grandson, Paul, includes correspondence to Renoir from those dealers, account ledgers, exhibition photographs, inventories and critics' reviews (some annotated by Renoir with his reactions). Voluminous dossiers document Renoir's works by categories, international private and institutional collections, and painting authentication attestations.  Claude and Paul Renoir's reference library is part of the collection.

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Southeast Asian Ceramics Collection

John Allen Tabor, a Foreign Service Officer with the United States Agency for International Development, amassed an impressive collection of more than 900 Southeast Asian ceramics during his second career in Southeast Asia in the 1960Ős.

Mr. Tabor [1917-1991] was born in Menifee County, Kentucky, and raised on a farm in Winchester, Kentucky. TaborŐs first year as a scholarship student at Wesleyan College in 1934 was cut short when he had to withdraw to help support his family. In 1936 he joined the Navy and was assigned to the Naval Hospital in Washington D.C. as a corpsman. After his tour of service, he joined the Naval Reserve in 1939 and resumed undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland which were interrupted a second time with a call to active duty in 1940.

Mr. TaborŐs twenty-one year naval career included a variety of assignments in the South Pacific theater during World War II, including China and Japan. He was assigned to the invasion of the Japanese Home Islands in 1945 and as part of the Occupation Army in Japan.

When stateside, Tabor studied public health and sanitation at six universities before receiving his undergraduate degree in Microbacteriology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1957. He continued with graduate work there in the School of Public Health.

Mr. Tabor retired from the Navy in 1961. He joined the Foreign Service and returned to Southeast Asia with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to help eradicate malaria in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

Collector TaborŐs interest in Asian antiques began as a young man during World War II after acquiring temple relics from a Buddhist priest in China. He spoke many languages, including Chinese, Malay, Thai, Japanese and French. His collecting passion for Asian ceramics was fueled during these years of intense work and travel and Tabor accumulated ceramics from locals, dealers and pickers. Others were gifts.

Ceramics from Khmer, Vietnam, Thailand and Southern China are represented in TaborŐs vast collection. Forms include bowls, dishes, cups, kendis, figures, water droppers, jarlets, bottles and jugs in monochrome, celadon, overglaze enamels, and blue and white. The majority date from the 11th – 17th centuries. Tabor kept meticulous records annotating in a notebook and on a small piece of masking tape affixed to each object, the date of purchase and whatever information known at that time.

John Tabor had four children, Donna; John Jr.; Janis; and Karen, by his first wife, Lovena Wren, whom he divorced in 1960. He retired from USAID in 1971 and purchased a farm in Winchester, Kentucky, which he named Hungry Ridge. In 1973 he married Dolores Shimko with whom he lived on Hungry Ridge until his death at the age of 74 in 1991.

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