From the Estate of Vanna & N. Lee Lacy
Palm Springs, CA

  • Estate Spotlight
  • Stories & News

Clars is delighted to be offering the Collection of Vanna and N. Lee Lacy on Friday, July 14th in our Tribal Arts, Interiors, Art & Jewelry Auction.

In the 1960s, the wunderkind Hollywood producer, N. Lee Lacy, fell in love with the African, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian, and other Tribal Arts that he was seeing in galleries and auction houses in Paris, Brussels, and London (he had a home in London as a base). His uncommon creativity, writing for and producing TV series and iconic TV ads (winning Best Of The Film Festival awards in Cannes, Venice, London, and NYC), led to him have international offices with 40 writers working for his production company, which he headquartered in Hollywood.


A Bakota reliquary, Gabon, raised on stand, 22.5″h (overall); 20.5″h.
A Bakota reliquary, Gabon, raised on stand, 22.5″h (overall); 20.5″h (figure).
Sold: $8,820
An Olmec figure of a baby, 9″h.
An Olmec figure of a baby, 9″h.
Sold: $6,930

Lacy always collected tribal art, with Hollywood presenting buying opportunities in Pre-Columbian works in the 1960s and African works in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In the 1960s and 1970s, Lacy also bought from auctions in London, NY, and Paris and at galleries in those cities and Brussels, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.


Chinese Han Dynasty Cast Bronze Covered Ding Vessel.
Chinese Han Dynasty Cast Bronze Covered Ding Vessel.
Sold: $1,890

Lee married Vanna Warmack Lacy 35 years ago. Together they fell in love with Oceanic Art, spurred by several voyages to the South Seas accompanying their friend, Caroline Yacoe. Yacoe is an Oceanic scholar, lecturer, author, art collector/dealer, and documentary filmmaker specializing in recording traditional ceremonies and cultures on remote Pacific Islands. This was also a prime period for acquiring authentic, old Indonesian pieces being brought to California by prescient dealers.


An exceptionally dynamic figural door, Toradja, Indonesia Sulawesi Island.
An exceptionally dynamic figural door, Toradja, Indonesia Sulawesi Island.
Sold: $20,160

Lastly, while producing and creating films in Hollywood and investing in property and living in Beverly Hills, the Lacy’s opened a gallery on the famed Melrose Place (which became the name of a hugely popular TV series) showing paintings and sculptures of modern and contemporary artists. Vanna was the Lacy Gallery’s Director. After a successful run of more than a decade, the Lacy’s retired their gallery. The paintings and sculptures they had most loved personally, plus their mostly decades-old tribal collections, resided with them in their Beverly Hills and then their Palm Springs home until June when it was time to move themselves and their art collections along.

By Dave DeRoche, Guest Curator.

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