Buried Treasure – Important Art Collection Discovered in Detroit

. February 13, 2008 . 0 Comments

DETROIT, MI – 02/13/08 — Standing in the middle of the 2nd floor auction showroom surrounded by a kaleidoscope of sparkling treasures, one wishes that Paul Harvey was here to tell you the rest of the story. Certainly, DuMouchelle Art Galleries’ February 15th-17th auction catalog reveals the tale in its inventory: a 500-piece roster chock-full of important artists and craftsman painstakingly amassed by the late Dr. John and Rose M. Shuey. But, the Shuey family’s amazing chronicle really began to unfold in 2001, when Rose Shuey rocked the art world with a multi-million dollar donation to The Cranbrook Art Museum of 46 pieces of contemporary paintings and sculptures. As the Detroit Institute of Arts Director Graham Beal then noted, “Quite frankly, Dr. and Mrs. Shuey were flying below our radar screen.”

Indeed. The couple’s unassuming, 1,400-square-foot home in a rough neighborhood of Detroit was a virtual museum, but ultimately served as a warehouse for the majority of their well-researched and much sought-after collection — items that remained stacked in their original crates and packing, most for as long as 30-40 years since their original purchases. That hadn’t been the plan, though. In the 1960s, the Shuey’s had commissioned famed architect Paul Rudolph to build a very contemporary, sprawling home in the posh suburb of Bloomfield Hills. According to Cranbrook’s Shuey Collection Catalog “Three Decades of Contemporary Art,” “the 5,500-square-foot residence would have been one of the most radical houses of the 20th century.” But with its dramatic intersecting vaulted spaces, horizontal glass spans and sloping floors, there was little room to hang paintings and so the home was never built. The Shueys eventually sold off the property in the 90s. Quoted in a 2001 Detroit Free Press article, longtime friend and art collector Dr. Stanley Grandon noted, “John loved possessing his art and loved that his art was appreciating in price …He never felt like he needed to see it. Knowing he had it was enough for him.” Now the preserved collection will go to auction at DuMouchelles on February 16th and 17th.

A “Who’s Who” of renowned artists including de Kooning, Motherwell, Hockney, Stella, Rouault, Nevelson, Oldenburg, Bonevardi, Sepeshy, Culver, Soyer, Picasso and Henry Moore comprise the list of fine arts. The outstanding collection of over 250 pieces of art glass features L.C. Tiffany, Tiffany Studios, Steuben and Galle, including a pair of Morning Glory compotes, a Tiffany Studios Lily desk lamp and a Steuben Swan bowl — every piece with its own lush colors, distinct designs and texture. Jewelry highlights include exquisite pieces by David Webb, Cartier, Schlumberger and Paloma Picasso.

With a sharp eye for only the best, Mrs. Shuey (the original surname of Czuj changed for phonetics) and her husband began their ongoing quest over fifty years ago, hunting for the crème-de-la-crème of both Contemporary Art and Art Glass. Mrs. Shuey started by educating herself at the library, researching and collecting books on artists, then developed friendships with many of the artists whose works they collected. The Shueys would keep in constant contact with the galleries in New York. Although very busy as cardiologist and Chief of Staff at several Detroit-area hospitals, Dr. Shuey and Rose still stole away afternoons and weekends frequenting New York auctions and gallery openings, as well as local Detroit auction houses. And there they found them — one by one — hundreds of rare and pristine examples of artistry now emerging from their modest Detroit home.

The collection continues on view at DuMouchelle Art Galleries’ 409 East Jefferson Avenue location in Detroit. DuMouchelle’s auction is Friday through Sunday, February 15th, 16th and 17th with The Shuey Collection being featured in both the Saturday and Sunday sessions. For more information, refer to www.auctiondetroit.com or call (313) 963-6255.

About DuMouchelle Art Galleries, Inc.:

Detroit-based DuMouchelle, founded in 1927, is among the top auction galleries in the United States. DuMouchelle appraises and auctions, monthly, over 2,000 lots of fine arts and collectibles — paintings, furniture, oriental rugs, silver, crystal, and jewelry — to bidders in person, by phone and on the internet. The company has grown from a local entity to national and international renown in the fine arts community. The DuMouchelle Galleries guiding principles start with the client — focus on personal service and long-term relationships. For further information, please call (313) 963-6255 or visit our website at www.auctiondetroit.com.

Category: Fine Art News

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