Under our former partnership, we were pleased to offer items from the Estate of Candice B. Groot. This important single-owner collection spanned the 18th through 21st centuries. It included paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, timepieces, erotica, taxidermy, automata, decorative arts, and one of the most important and comprehensive collections of modern and contemporary ceramics to ever come to auction. The collection was offered in four auctions throughout 2016 with proceeds benefiting the Virginia A. Groot Foundation, a nonprofit arts organization. The total of all sales was over $5.3M. (View results and lots below.)
The Groot collection was divided into two categories with two sales each: A Passion for Collecting: Fine Timepieces, Erotica & Decorative Arts (Part I: February 6, 2016 and Part II: August 13, 2016) and Fire & Form: Fine Art & Ceramics (Part I: April 16, 2016 and Part II: November 12, 2016). The collection included the most significant group of works by American sculptor Robert Arneson, with examples spanning the artist’s career. Other highlights from the sale included works by Ken Price, Beth Cavener Stichter, Vija Celmins, Ruth Duckworth, Jun Kaneko, Jan Fabre, Katsura Funakoshi, Diane Arbus, Ron Nagle, Deborah Butterfield, Peter Voulkos, and Donald Roller Wilson.
Biography of Candice B. Groot
Candice B. Groot grew up in Western Springs (a Chicago suburb) and she was the youngest of five daughters raised by a widowed mother. She was brought up in a strict Dutch Calvinist home where dancing was frowned upon, but art was encouraged. All five of the Groot girls were either artists or involved with the arts from a very young age. Candice’s love of art took her to Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota where she completed her undergraduate studies. She then relocated to Lubbock, Texas where she studied art at Texas Tech University and received her M.F.A.
Candice was an artist, teacher, philanthropist, and passionate collector. She established the Virginia A. Groot Foundation in 1988, named in honor of her mother. The Foundation awards annual international grants to contemporary artists who work in three dimensions to help allow for the development of their work. Candice was known by artists and dealers alike for her generosity and keen eye. In 2014, she received the Award for Regional Excellence from the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts for her significant contributions to the field. Candice was also recognized for her contributions to the arts by the Smithsonian Institute with a recorded oral history of her collection that is a part of the museum’s permanent archives.
Virginia A. Groot Foundation
The Virginia A. Groot Foundation was established in 1988 so that artists working in three dimensions could have the opportunity to devote additional time and resources to the development of their work. The Foundation established the Virginia A. Groot Foundation Grant in 1988 so that a ceramic artist or sculpture artist may have the opportunity to devote a substantial period of time to the development of his or her work.
Each year the Virginia A. Groot Foundation offers three grants (up to $35,000, $10,000, and $5,000) to artists who have exceptional talent and demonstrate ability in ceramic sculpture or sculpture. Both Fire & Form — Part I on April 16, 2016 and Fire & Form —Part II on November 12, 2016 included a number of works by artists who were Virginia A. Groot Foundation grant recipients.
Handling the Collection
Statement from Joe Stanfield, Vice President and Senior Specialist, Fine Art, Toomey & Co. Auctioneers
Candice B. Groot was a voracious collector. She amassed ceramics, paintings, timepieces, taxidermy, erotica, and decorative arts that were spread across her homes in three different cities and two states. A collection of this magnitude required an incredible team effort and there are many people to thank.
My most sincere thanks goes to Candice’s sister Penny West and her husband Peter. For nearly a year, Penny and Peter were incredibly gracious dealing with such a difficult task and went above and beyond while handling Candice’s estate. I am particularly thankful that they took time to answer all of my questions about who Candice was as a person and as a collector, located and provided literally thousands of pieces of provenance, and patiently met with me and many members of our staff at Candice’s homes in Evanston, Chicago, and Holland, Michigan. Without their constant assistance, we would never have been able to accomplish the goal of providing our finest effort in recognition of what Candice put together over the course of 30 years.
The packing, transporting, and photographing of this collection was a monumental task as many of the items were extremely small and fragile while numerous others were oversized works that required incredible effort just to move. Our entire team worked tirelessly to insure the safe travel of the collection to our gallery in Oak Park and spent countless hours cataloging, photographing, and documenting the items.
I also want to acknowledge the many individuals outside of the gallery that we spoke with about Candice and the works of art she collected. We heard wonderful stories about Candice from dealers, curators, other private collectors, friends, and family. This helped flesh out the story of a genuinely unique person.
It was truly a privilege to handle such an important collection and we were very grateful to Peter and Penny West for entrusting us with the sale of Candice’s entire estate.
Auction Results and Lots