Important Work by Italian Sculptor Edgardo Simone to be Sold at Auction

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Antique Helper Auctions is proud to present a once in a lifetime collecting opportunity this December 11th with the personal collection of famed Italian Sculptor Edgardo Simone (b. Brindisi Italy 1890, d. 1948 Hollywood California).

Indianapolis, Indiana (PRWEB) November 16, 2005. Antique Helper Auctions is proud to present a once in a lifetime collecting opportunity this December 11th with the personal collection of famed Italian Sculptor Edgardo Simone (b. Brindisi Italy 1890, d. 1948 Hollywood California).

Classically trained, Simone worked in New York, Chicago and California after immigrating from his native country; an overview of his work reads like a Who’s Who of American society from the 1920s-1940s, as many of the greatest celebrities of the time sat in his studio. His work demonstrates a rare confidence of form when addressing human anatomy, coupled with Twentieth Century influences ranging from Art Nouveau to Art Deco, resulting in rare and wonderful works of art that are expertly crafted and full of passion. As works by Simone have rarely appeared on the secondary market, this represents an exciting opportunity for museums and collectors to gather pieces by this important Twentieth Century artist. Coming directly from the artist’s estate, the collection has been in the possession of his stepdaughter since the death of his wife, American Composer Dr. Radie Britain (1897-1994). To further whet the appetite of collectors and romantics alike, the sale will also include fine art and furnishings from the couple’s Hollywood home.

The son of a Brindisi doctor, Simone studied at the Beaux Arts Academy in Rome from 1906-1913, receiving a Doctorate of Design and Sculpture. Decorated with the Croix de Guerre three times and decorated by King Victor Emmanuel III and Queen Margherita, Simone was widely recognized as a celebrated sculptor in his own country before immigrating to the United States in the late 1920s. Simone created war, funeral and city monuments in 26 Italian cities; it should come as no surprise that American newspapers celebrated his arrival in New York, proclaiming “Italy’s Greatest Sculptor Arrives in New York!”

Upon arriving in New York, Simone quickly established himself in society, executing busts of the likes of Thomas Edison, General J. Pershing, Justice Frankfurter, Henry Ford, Oliver Wendell Holmes as well as Brandeis and Mussolini himself. In addition, such diverse personalities as socialite Mrs. Howard Chandler Christy (Nancy Palmer Christy) and Sally Rand, who made her mark as the famous Fan Dancer at the Chicago Century of Progress World’s Fair in 1933-1934, sat as models in his studio. Other well-known American celebrities and personalities portrayed by Simone include two busts of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as a bust of Jane Storrs and author Theodore Dreiser, whose bronze bust is part of the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

In 1940, Simone married internationally known American pioneer classical composer Radie Britain in Arizona. A native of Amarillo, Texas, Britain was a gold medal organist whose compositions have been performed nationally as well as internationally. Britain graduated with honors from the American Conservatory in Chicago, where she also taught after debuting as a composer in Munich, Germany. She created “Southern Symphony” and “Light” during two seasons at the McDowell Colony in Peterboro, New Hampshire, and débuted her composition “Lament” at the White House. Britain gave major performances with the Chicago, Los Angeles and Detroit Philharmonic Orchestras, and, in 1945, she became the first woman to receive the Julliard Publication Award for “Heroic Poem,” a work dedicated to Charles Lindberg’s historic flight. Dr. Britain collaborated on a Grand Opera with Rupert Hughes, uncle of Howard Hughes, published “From Riding Herd to Writing Symphonies,” an autobiography, and “Composer’s Corner,” a detailed book on musical composition. Most of Britain’s compositions are in the William and Gayle Cook Music Library at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

After their marriage, Simone and Britain moved to Coronado, California, where Simone crafted works for the Franciscan Missions and a life sized depiction of Lola Spreckles on water-skis. In the 1940s, the Simones moved to Los Angeles, where Edgardo became actively involved in Arts, Painters and Sculptors clubs, winning many awards and recognition for his work. Employed at MGM Studios, Simone executed busts of many of Hollywood’s most well-know celebrities, including Marlene Dietrich and David Niven. Additionally, Simone created a full-sized depiction of Christ on the alter cross used in the film “The Song of Bernadette” and a ceramic center piece in the style of Della Robbia for make up artist Jack Dawn.

Theirs was a lively household, as plastic surgeons studied Simone’s expertly sculpted examples for anatomy and actors and actresses like Cyd Cherise studied piano with Doctor Britain. The Hollywood home was filled with musical evenings that included Essio Pinza, Renata Tebaldi and Salvatore Baccaloni.

Antique helper is pleased to present the works of Edgardo Simone and furniture and antiques from the Hollywood home of Radie Britain and her husband at public auction on December 11th, 2005. Included in this action will be the bust of Jane Storrs and two busts of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, including a small caricature of the late President. Also offered will be a ceramic piece entitled “Dream,” modeled by Mrs. Howard Chandler Christy and a signed bust of Marlene Dietrich; larger works include several bronze fountains, including an exuberant girl on water-skis, dated 1929, and the two piece ceramic centerpiece created for MGM makeup artist Jack Dawn. In addition, there will be a wide selection of ceramic works, including figural vases and plaques, as well as studies in plaster and terracotta. Most of the sculptures are signed and dated by the artist. To view our online catalog, visit our website at, or for more information, please call Antique Helper at 317-251-5635.


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Joni Bubenzer