Sotheby’s is offering fine art and memorabilia from the personal collection of creative genius and television legend Samuel “Sam” Simon (1955-2015) across a series of auctions in New York through 2015. While widely known and celebrated as the co-creator of The Simpsons, showrunner on Taxi, and a writer/producer/director on countless pop culture icons of the small screen, Sam Simon’s passions extended beyond television to include a notable career as a boxing manager, as well as a lasting legacy as a champion of animal rights. To that end, full proceeds from the sale of his collection will benefit the multi-platform Sam Simon Charitable Giving Foundation, which supports both animal welfare programs and poverty alleviation and disaster relief organisations.
Sam Simon’s creative eye manifested itself in his extensive art collection, which spans an impressive range of styles, genres and mediums. As an accomplished illustrator himself, it is immediately apparent that the collection was assembled with care by someone who made their living as a storyteller. The strong figurative vein that runs throughout the group is evidenced in paintings such as Thomas Hart Benton’s T.P. and Jake, in which the artist communicates the emotional connection between a boy and his dog in beautiful detail (above, estimate $1.5/2.5 million). That work in particular held such personal significance to Simon that it is pictured in the logo for the Sam Simon Foundation.
Andrea Fiuczynski, Chairman of Sotheby’s West Coast, said: “Each piece in Sam Simon’s collection embodies a central theme: the ability of art to tell a story. It is a privilege to present a window into the life of such a prolific creative talent. His own story lives on through his extensive cultural and philanthropic contributions, and we are particularly honored to see his collection benefit his namesake foundation.”
Simon’s sense of humor also is evident throughout the collection, such as in the important group of American pin-up paintings – the subject of each work offering a wink and a smile to the viewer. The group is led by the ravishing painting Val Veeta by Mel Ramos (estimate $400/600,000), which will be offered in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Auction in New York on 12 November. A large selection of pin-up art by American artists including by Gil Elvgren, Alberto Vargas and Earl Moran will highlight the 2 October auction of American Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture.
Sotheby’s dedicated auction of Sam Simon’s wide-ranging memorabilia collection will offer a unique window to his colorful life and many passions: personal illustrations, drawings and comics, reaching as far back as his comic strip in the Beverly Hills High School newspaper; boxing-related material including a rare signed letter from Jack Johnson to Jim Jeffries (est. $3/5,000), a signed poster promoting the 1974 Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier Fight (estimate $1,500/2,000), heavyweight belts, and ticket stubs to historic fights such as John L. Sullivan vs. James Corbett(estimate $1,000/1,500, above); material related to the many television shows he worked on, such as a circa 1990 “The Simpsons” Data East Pinball Machine (estimate $1/2,000, page 1); and more personal effects including rejection letters from Esquire, Playboy and Time.
THE CREATIVE GENIUS OF SAM SIMON – A LIFETIME OF MEMORABILIA – Dedicated Auction 22 October 2015