VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.
Property from the collection of MAX PALEVSKY
Like the protagonists of many "great American success" stories of the 20th century, Max Palevsky grew from humble beginnings into one of the foremost visionaries of his generation. Born in 1924 to Jewish parents who had recently emigrated from Eastern Europe, Palevsky was raised the youngest of three children in a gritty working-class neighborhood of Chicago. After graduating from public high school with a strong interest in science and mathematics, he enlisted as an electronics officer and meteorologist in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II, which afforded him both the opportunity to travel the world and finish his education.
While in the Army, Palevsky visited the Museum of Modern Art during a stop in New York, where he saw an influential exhibition "What is Modern Architecture?", that would broaden his understanding of the relationship between art, architecture, design and science. Palevsky was profoundly moved by this exhibition.
Armed with a graduate education and a strong understanding of symbolic logic, Palevsky accepted a teaching position at UCLA. In an event Palevsky described as a "happenstance," he attended a lecture at the California Institute of Technology about the future possibility of "self-correcting" computers by the prescient mathematician John von Neumann. 1 Palevsky was so inspired that he promptly looked up "Computers" in a local telephone directory, quit his teaching job and joined what would become Bendix Corporation as one of the world's first computer designers. Later, Palevsky and a group of associates founded Scientific Data Systems (SDS), which introduced a variety of computers, among them a groundbreaking machine capable of processing data for both business and science. SDS was eventually sold to Xerox; the media at the time described Palevsky as a "founding genius." He retired as a director of Xerox in May 1972.
In the following years, Palevsky turned his attention to his other passions: venture capitalism, politics, philanthropy and the arts. In 1970, he became a director and board chairman of Rolling Stone magazine, which he rescued from financial ruin. Palevsky also supported a number of political candidates and became a strong supporter of campaign finance reform.
In 1952 Palevsky had married his first wife Mary Joan Yates, who became known as Joan Palevsky. She became actively interested in Islamic Art and, working together with the renowned New York collector and dealer Nasli Heeramaneck, in 1973 enabled this collection of 650 pieces to be donated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The collection was published by Pratapaditya Pal, (Islamic Art, the Nasli M Heeramaneck Collection, Gift of Joan Palevsky, Los Angeles, 1973). Although they had divorced in 1968, it was probably Joan Palevsky who introduced her husband to Islamic Art.
Palevsky spent much of his time and energy creating three remarkable houses in California: a "stark yet grand" Palm Springs retreat designed by Craig Ellwood in 1968; a Spanish-Mediterranean villa on the bluffs of Malibu, configured by architect Joe Wieser in 1972 and renovated by renowned Italian designer Ettore Sotsass in 1984; and the 1985 remodel by architectural designer Coy Howard of a 1928 Spanish-Italian style residence in Beverly Hills.2
Eventually, Palevsky amassed one of the world's foremost collections of the Arts and Crafts movement, and between 1990-1993, Palevsky gave 74 Arts and Crafts pieces to LACMA. He supplied about a third of the 300 objects displayed in a 2004-05 LACMA exhibit, "The Arts and Crafts Movement in Europe and America: 1880-1920." In 2009, the museum presented The Arts and Crafts Movement: Masterworks From the Max Palevsky and Jodie Evans Collection.
Overall, Palevsky exercised great restraint in his collecting, preferring to use or see what he owned, and sell or donate works that did not have a proper place in one of his homes or offices. He explained, "When you buy art, as opposed to looking at it, there's a discipline. You have to really look [at] a bunch of things to decide, 'Is this worth that much money to me?' People who collect seriously look seriously."3
When asked in recent years how he would like to be remembered, Palevsky simply answered: "Just as somebody who contributed to the community. We all have a responsibility."4
1. Suzanne Muchnic, "Max Palevsky meticulously assembles a design trove to be given to LACMA," The Los Angeles Times, 14 December 2008.
2. Aaron Betsky, Three California Houses: The Homes of Max Palevsky, p. 6.
3. Susan Freudenheim, "Former computer tycoon Max Palevsky brings a steely eye to his diverse collection," The Los Angeles Times, 28 June 2001.
4. Suzanne Muchnic op. cit.