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The Sperisen Collection of California Art -- Plus Fine Works by Noted American & International Artists

  • Live Online Auction: Sunday, October 2, at 11:30 PST
  • Online Preview: Through October 2

Turner Auctions + Appraisals is pleased to present an online sale of over 180 fine artworks, mostly paintings, by noted American and European artists.  Featured is the Sperisen Collection of California Art:  its 100+ lots offer paintings and other works of art from three generations of collectors – spanning over 100 years – in the Sperisen family of Northern California.  The Sperisen Collection includes works by Percy Gray, Thomas Moran, Frederick Schafer, Ira Yeager and others.  In addition, the sale offers a large number of fine artworks from various estates by well-known wildlife artists and listed American and international artists. 

According to third-generation family member Matt Sperisen, the Sperisen collecting began with two brothers, Matt Sperisen’s grandfather Francis and great-uncle Albert, both San Francisco Bay Area residents.  Francis Sperisen was a lapidarist for 48 years, designing jewelry such as rings, brooches and watches, and providing stones for fine jewelers such as Tiffany and Gump’s.  His brother Albert was a vice president of a San Francisco publishing firm, in charge of magazines and books on marketing, including advertising sales.  

Francis’s son – and Matt’s parents – Richard and his wife Diane continued collecting, expanding in additional directions during their 53-year marriage.  After fulfilling his military obligation in the Korean War, Richard Sperisen worked for the San Mateo County Office of Education.  Perhaps with an appreciation for art passed down from his father and uncle, he became Art Curriculum Director, responsible for art studies of 300 schools, from kindergarten through 12th grade.  Diane Sperisen began as a first-grade schoolteacher, but became an entrepreneur:  working first in retail sales in Woodside, California, she later acquired the ladies clothing store, Quail & Thistle, expanding it to Carmel, Pebble Beach and Burlingame, owning her shops for 31 years.

Richard and Diane Sperisen were avid and frequent travelers in Northern California – particularly Carmel, the Monterey Peninsula and Yosemite.  They had a genuine love of the area and of art, and would “look for a fond memory piece from each of their travels,” said their son, who has continued the tradition with his own wife.  As a result, about 80% of their acquisitions – oils, etchings and pencil drawings – feature Northern California landscapes, which were showcased “everywhere” in their Atherton home. 

After many years in Atherton, the couple decided to move closer to Matt’s family and their grandchildren.  As they retired and downsized to a new residence, most of their treasured artworks could not be accommodated in their new home.  Now, with Richard Sperisen’s passing several years ago and most artworks in storage, Matt Sperisen decided it was time to let others enjoy some of the lovingly acquired and long-enjoyed art.  

Now the family’s collecting torch has been passed to Matt Sperisen, who is Director of Operations for Men’s Basketball at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.  Reflecting his family’s long collecting heritage, Matt has kept some of his favorites for his family to enjoy, including his two pre-teen children, the fourth generation of art enthusiasts.

The collection began with two brothers involved in creation – one with jewels and stones, the other with visual design.  It continued with Matt’s parents, who had a good eye and knew what they liked.  They purchased quality, then added new works when an artist’s reputation grew, enhancing both their enjoyment and the value of their acquisitions.  Now the collecting continues with Matt, his wife and their children.  Reflecting on his family’s legacy through art, Matt said, “Life is about memories – and collecting is a great way to use art as memory markers.”

The September sale also includes a diverse selection of fine artworks, mostly paintings, primarily by American and European artists, which come from various estates and other sources. Most are oil or watercolor paintings, plus some etchings, sculptures, engravings, lithographs and earthenware.  American artists include Percy Gray, Emile Gruppé, Millard Sheets, Percival De Luce, Mary DeNeale Morgan, Jade Fon, Hudson Mindell Kitchell, Robert Wood, Ray Ellis and Red Skelton.  American wildlife painters include David Maass, Peter Markham Scott, and Richard Bishop.  Among the European artists are Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Mary Cassatt, Zygmunt Ajdukiewicz, Klaus Fussmann and Lucas Van Leyden.  Other noted international artists include Rufino Tamayo, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Graciela Rodo Boulanger.

See press release >>

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