Douglas S. Cramer
Sculpture from the Douglas S. Cramer Collection at La Quinta Norte
A visitor to La Quinta Norte was almost certain to witness a sculpture being installed on the grounds, a painting being hung in the gallery, a museum director swimming in the pool, and collectors, both American and European, lunching in the informal setting of the ranch house. At this sprawling ranch and vineyard, deep in the Santa Ynez mountains near Santa Barbara, Doug Cramer, the noted television and film producer, was host to artists, collectors, museum directors, curators and art dealers. His annual barn dances brought together the stars of both his worlds: artists such as Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein and Jim Dine and equally famous dealers like Leo Castelli, Mary Boone and actors such as Michael and Kirk Douglas and Steve Martin, director Ray Stark, and studio tycoons Sherry Lansing, Marvin Davis and Michael Eisner. Each summer his guests were treated to a tour of the complex and a visit to the galleries and sculpture pavilion where the newest works by today's leading artists were installed. The collection emerged over a decade and a half to become one of the best and largest groups of late 20th century American art in the world.
With a focused commitment to a core group of distinguished artists such as Kelly, Lichtenstein, Johns, Stella, Shapiro and Therrien, to name a few, Cramer amassed their works in depth and achieved an impressive collection of each. The results of his dedication are no more apparent than in the beautiful group of sculptures he chose to install at La Quinta Norte. Working closely with the artists, he selected and installed their works, showing great sensitivity to both the works of art and their settings. Joel Shapiro's three-piece bronze of "diving," "crouching" and "reclining" figures were set in a lush, rocky promontory near the grotto swimming pool; Dine's "heart" dominated the rugged landscape; "flying arch," hung on an outside wall, welcoming the visitor into the galleries. Inside the master bedroom, the crisp, stainless steel boxes of Judd's climbing stack offered a beautiful counterpoint to the white, floating shapes of the Calder mobile.
The Douglas S. Cramer Foundation was formed in the mid-eighties and opened the galleries and sculpture pavilion to the public twice a week with visitors numbering in the thousands annually. The Foundation continues to underwrite museum exhibitions and gives significant grants to museums and foundations. A founding trustee of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Mr. Cramer served as its President of the Board. In recent years, as his business commitments place him mostly in New York, he has become more active as a trustee of The Museum of Modern Art. Still maintaining a residence in Bel Air, California, Mr. Cramer has decided to sell La Quinta Norte. This has provided Christie's with the opportunity to offer for sale an outstanding group of twenty-two contemporary sculptures from a world-renowned collection.
May 7, 1997
The Douglas S. Cramer Collection