Disco Inferno at Fire-Sale Prices as Studio 54 Items Go On the Block
While some aspiring clubgoers would have paid almost any price to get their names into the guest book of Studio 54 during its disco-era heyday, acquiring that guest book in 2013 would have set them back $7,200, based on the results of an auction of items that once belonged to the Studio 54 co-founder Steve Rubell. The collection, which was sold on Saturday by Palm Beach Modern Auctions in West Palm Beach, Fla., consisted of art and memorabilia that Rubell had assembled before his death in 1989, and which he had left to his former companion, Bill Hamilton.
The auction house said on Tuesday that the Rubell collection accounted for total sales of $316,680, with the highest single price being paid for a metal sculpture made by Andy Warhol, of a metal band stenciled with dollar signs. (That item sold for $52,800 to James Elkind, the owner of Lost City Arts in Manhattan.) A Polaroid photograph taken by Warhol of Mr. Rubell with Tina Turner, Cher and Rod Stewart sold for $11,400, and a painting made by Michael Vollbracht depicting Mr. Rubell surrounded by the names of his famous friends and club guests was sold for $18,000. (The buyers of those items were not disclosed.) Other sale items included photos of Truman Capote dancing at a birthday party for Elizabeth Taylor ($1,320) and of Salvador Dali with the rock singer Apollonia ($2,520).
Palm Beach Modern Auctions said it drew 400 in-person attendees and 700 online auction participants for a sale that also offered a cocktail bar, valet parking and a drag queen on roller skates.
By Dave Itzkoff