The Leicester Galleries (Ernest, Brown & Phillips, Ltd.), London.
Private collection, United States; sale, Christie's, London, 21 May 1965, lot 187.
Felix Landau Gallery, Los Angeles (by 1966).
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owners.
Property From The Ducommun Family Collection
Charles and Palmer Ducommun are remembered as two of Los Angeles’s most prominent civic and cultural leaders, and as icons of twentieth-century California style. Boldly creative in business and philanthropy, the Ducommuns’ legacy is embodied in an exemplary collection of masterworks by some of the great names of the historical art canon.
A lifelong resident of Los Angeles, Charles Ducommun was the grandson of Charles Louis Ducommun, a Swiss émigré and watchmaker whose Gold Rush-era general store evolved from its 1849 beginnings to become a global provider of manufacturing and engineering services within the aerospace industry, recognized today as California’s oldest ongoing business. Charles Ducommun found a spirited partner in the fiercely intelligent and creative Palmer Gross, a woman of great charm, elegance, and extraordinary flair who was known for her keen eye and penetrating instinct, and for her love of the visual arts.
After marrying in 1949, the Ducommuns established a reputation as arbiters of Los Angeles style and fine taste. The interiors of their Bel Air home, orchestrated by her great friend, the wildly creative Tony Duquette, are counted amongst the designer’s greatest achievements, and served as a vibrant backdrop for works by Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Henri Matisse, Henry Moore, Paul Klee, Gustave Courbet, and lesser known artists who had caught her eye.
The Ducommuns were unwavering supporters of cultural institutions, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in particular where Charles Ducommun was a founding trustee, serving in leadership positions during much of his professional life. The couple’s guidance and financial support helped the museum grow to become one of the nation’s foremost repositories for fine art, honoring their longstanding commitment with the installation of the Charles and Palmer Ducommun Gallery. The Ducommuns’ unflagging support of the arts extended to other prominent Los Angeles’ institutions as well as to the fine art programs at Stanford University and Sarah Lawrence College, where Mrs. Ducommun had been a trustee.
From the indelibly daring interiors of their California residences to the inspiring collection of fine art that bears their name, Charles and Palmer Ducommun were enthralled with creativity and distinctive elegance. Their prodigious generosity in support of Los Angeles’ expanding artistic landscape indeed cast them in a national light as paragons of twentieth-century philanthropy and sponsors of the arts.
A. Garrould, ed., Henry Moore, Complete Drawings, 1940-1949, Aldershot, 2001, vol. 3, p. 270, no. AG 47-49.53 (illustrated, p. 271).
London, The Leicester Galleries (Ernest, Brown & Phillips, Ltd.), Catalogue of the Exhibitions of Living Irish Art, New Sculpture and Drawings by Henry Moore, May 1951, no. 24.