L.A. collectors Sonny and Gloria Kamm are looking for a good musuem home for their massive collection of teapots. The new owner would not only get a collection of work valued between $17 to $18 million, but the Kamms will also provide an additional $2 million to cover the costs of taking on the collection.
Above image: “The Artful Teapot” installation at the Peabody Essex Museum; Salem, MA.
There have been a series of “dates”, even a few tentative “engagements” but as of yet no wedding bells for the collection. This is understandable given that the scale (more than 17,000 teapots and coffee pots and related works, paintings, prints, photography, advertising and ephemera) is daunting. But it is a sensational assembly; drawing from its collective works one can create multiple exhibitions of teapots by major artists, architects and famous designers, as well as by country of origin, time period and material. While the size of the collection may intimidate some, it is the quality and comprehensiveness that makes it absolutely unique.
One can put together a definitive survey of novelty teapots during the 1930’s depression, or of children’s tea services or any one of a score of other thematic or historical surveys. Included are rare gems such as the very first British silver teapots from the 18th century and their finest 21st century peers. The Kamm’s also have commissioned many known artists to make their first and often only teapot.
While ceramic may be the dominant medium, every material known to man is included—glass, metal, fiber, wood, paper, and even fish skin and fruit peels.
The teapot is also a proven crowd pleaser. An exhibition made entirely from the Kamm’s collection The Artful Teapot traveled to nine museums between 2002 and 2006. The exhibit broke attendance records at six of the nine venues. The press and the public loved it!
The collection has been conservatively valued at $17 – 18 million dollars and the Kamms will provide $2 million for the costs of taking on the collection, making this a $20 million dollar offer that in the right institution (one with guts and ambition) will be a major and timeless attraction, a collection without peer.
This could also be a unique opportunity not only for a museum, but also for a corporate entity (such as the “XYZ Tea and Coffee Company”) to sponsor the creation of the museum building and to have the sponsor’s name on the museum building.
Garth Clark is the Editor-in-Chief of cfile.daily.
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