Mary Callery, New York, gift of the artist
Estate of Mary Callery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Property from the Estate of Baroness Marcella Korff
Mary Callery was born in New York City in 1903. As the daughter of James and Julia Callery she had a conventional upbringing in an upper middle class household. She was raised in Pittsburgh, where her father was President of the Diamond National Bank and Chairman of the Pittsburgh Railways Company. Mary was educated at New York's Miss Spences School and later studied at the Art Students League of New York with Edward McCarten and then with Jacques Loutchansky in Paris.
At the age of twenty, Mary married Frederick Coudert, a future congressman. The couple had a daughter when Callery was twenty seven, but shortly thereafter she bucked convention and moved to Paris to live and work as an artist.
Her early sculptures in bronze and steel were produced under the influence of Loutachansky and evoke the signature style of Aristide Maillol. Callery's own mature style gradually emerged as she gained experience. As a part of the Parisian artistic and Bohemian society much frequented by upper class Americans such as Gerald and Sara Murphy, she met and befriended a number of artists with whom she formed lasting relationships, namely Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, Marcel Duchamp, and Alexander Calder. There is at least one known Calder in Paris with the dedication from Sandy to Mary. A woman of independent means, Callery began to form what is now regarded as a legendary collection. After an unsuccessful second marriage to Carlo Frua de Angeli, she returned from war torn Europe to New York with her beloved works of art.
Callery inspired many young collectors of her time and was the first owner of Picasso's 1932 masterpiece La Rêve, which she sold in August 1941 for $7,000 to Victor and Sally Ganz, a young New York couple who were starting to build a collection of their own. In 1997, Christie's had the honor of selling this painting from The Collection of Victor and Sally Ganz for $48,402,500.
Throughout her life, Mary Callery continued to sculpt and her works can still be seen at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and at the Aluminum Company of America in Pittsburgh.
Dividing her time between New York, Paris and a small house in Villiers-sur-Gres, Mary Callery passed away in 1977. The remaining collection was inherited by her niece Marcella Korff from whose estate this lot comes.