It's always exciting when Carole Lombard rarities are put up for auction, and on June 26, Profiles in History, based in Calabasas, Calif., is putting up items that amaze even me. A total of 18 lots include Lombard-related material; we'll examine them in three groups of six, with information from invaluable.com.
Let's lead with Lot 63. Many Carole fans know she signed the back of the following George Hurrell portrait, "Pa, I love you. Ma," and gave it to Clark Gable:
But chances are you haven't seen the autographed photo at the top of this entry. It's from Paramount's Eugene Robert Richee, and it's not addressed to "Pa," but to...
"For my Paps, with a great deal of love always, from Carole."
Lombard expert Carole Sampeck believes it was sent not to Gable, but her previous husband, William Powell, with whom she remained on good terms following their 1933 divorce. Says Sampeck of the pic, "It's gorgeous"; I agree.
It's 10.25" x 13" double-weight semi-gloss, with bids starting at $1,000 and expected to rise to $2,000. Check it out at http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/-1-c-6104764A93?utm_source=inv_kwalert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=keywordalertlive&utm_term=2.
Now for Lot 61, an oversized signed portrait of the 1929 Lombard from Pathe's William E. Thomas:
It's signed to her manager "Guy," with "To 'Guy,' my favorite manager. From your famous actress -- 'Carole Lombard'" (That she uses an "e" to spell her first name may indicate that Lombard was forced to drop the letter during her time at Pathe -- we know she used it as early as 1925 -- and that she chose to restore it soon after joining Paramount in 1930.)
Profiles calls this "Arguably the greatest photo ever taken of Lombard, and one of the most famous Art Deco glamour portraits of the era." We can dispute the first half of that sentence, but as for the second half...well, Louise Brooks, you've got competition.
It's in fine condition, and bidding begins at $400, with $600 the expected upper limit. More info is at http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/-1-c-5A745C0AF8?utm_source=inv_kwalert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=keywordalertlive&utm_term=2.
The pic in Lot 64 connects Carole to a noted MGM director:
The "Jack"? Jack Conway, whose directorial triumphs included the screwball classic "Libeled Lady." He also directed Lombard in her lone film at Metro, the less successful "The Gay Bride." But that movie, which Carole later called her worst (those who have seen "Fools For Scandal" may disagree), was in the future when she inscribed, "Will be looking forward to working with you as my director."
It's an oversized double-weight taken by Paramount's Otto Dyar (not "Dyer" as the copy indicates). It too is in vintage fine condition, valued at $400-600. Find out more at http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/-1-c-BB54CDE849?utm_source=inv_kwalert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=keywordalertlive&utm_term=2.
Lot 65 has a Lombard portrait inscribed to "Ida." Lupino? Don't know (although she and Carole briefly were Paramount stablemates).
This 11" x 14" double-weight pic is from RKO's John Miehle, shot in 1940, and reads: "To Ida dear. Thank you for your sweetness to us." Also in the $400-600 range, you can take a look at http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/-1-c-B1B4E81B6B?utm_source=inv_kwalert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=keywordalertlive&utm_term=2.
Four down, two to go. In Lot 42, you get Clark and Carole in a pair of pics:
The Lombard photo is signed to Elizabeth Kiesling, whose husband Barrett Kiesling was an MGM publicist. (In the late 1920s, he headed publicity at Pathe, which is where he probably met Carole.) I'm not certain whom the "William" in the Gable autograph refers to.
One bid has already been made, for $200. To bid or find out more, visit http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/-1-c-8424018970?utm_source=inv_kwalert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=keywordalertlive&utm_term=2.
Finally, Lot 165, which Carole shares with three other classic actresses in autographed portraits. Here's the Lombard photo:
Some of you may recognize this pic from the front cover of the original printing of Larry Swindell's 1975 biography "Screwball." Others in the lot are Vivien Leigh (as Scarlett O'Hara), Judy Garland and Ingrid Bergman. These four icons command a minimum bid of $1,000, which Profiles estimates could reach $2,000. See it at http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/-1-c-74E462D997?utm_source=inv_kwalert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=keywordalertlive&utm_term=2.
As I noted recently (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/862298.html), New York's Film Forum opens an Ernst Lubitsch retrospective tomorrow. My friend Farran Smith Nehme wrote this wonderful examination of the "Lubitsch touch" for the Village Voice: https://www.villagevoice.com/2017/05/31/what-makes-lubitsch-lubitsch/