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Monumental Rookwood Tile Mural from A Historic Theater will Headline Bruneau & Co.'s May 20 Auction

A monumental Rookwood tile mural salvaged from a historic theater in Washington, D.C. and a nude figural drawing by the Indian artist Jehangir Sabavala (1922-2011) are expected top lots in Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers’ online-only Estate Fine Art & Antique auction planned for Thursday, May 20th, at 6 pm Eastern time. Over 400 lots will be offered.

“Hopefully soon, as society begins to open up, we’ll be able to bring a live audience back to the gallery,” said Kevin Bruneau, the president and owner of Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers. “Until then, we offer our in-house buyer’s premium with check discount through our website, so there is no disadvantage or extra cost.”

Travis Landry, a Bruneau & Co. auctioneer and Director of Pop Culture, added, “Another month, another estate auction, offering a good mix of antiques, paintings, jewelry and Asian objects. It’s going to be interesting to see what the Rookwood mural brings in today’s market. It’s not every day one of those becomes available.”

The 20th century mural has a pre-sale estimate of $10,000-$15,000. It’s a whimsical forest scene comprised of 225 tiles, each one 8 inches by 8 inches, depicting a seated woman with a peacock watching men, ladies, and jesters dance around in a forest. The overall size is 3 feet 4 inches by 30 inches. Each one of the tiles is marked “Rookwood Faience” on verso.

The mural came out of the Chase's Theater and Rigg's Building, also known as the Keith-Albee Theater, a historic theater built by Jules Henri de Sibour for Plimpton B. Chase. Chase sold the theater to B. F. Keith and it was later added to the vaudeville circuit where William Howard Taft attended the 1912 opening. Woodrow Wilson was a frequent guest.

The drawing by Jehangir Sabavala depicts a nude woman with one arm resting behind her back and the other holding the legs of a lamb draped across her shoulders. The graphite on paper work has a sheet size of 27 ½ inches by 16 ¼ inches and a framed size of 39 ½ inches by 27 ½ inches. It’s signed, annotated and dated and should bring $6,000-$9,000.

Internet bidding will be facilitated by,,, and the mobile app “Bruneau & Co.” on iTunes or GooglePlay.

Previews of all individual items will be available by appointment only, the week of auction. To schedule an appointment, call 401-533-9980; or, send an email to [email protected] The gallery is located at 63 Fourth Avenue in Cranston. All COVID-19 protocols will be enforced.

To learn more about Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers and the Estate Fine Art & Antique auction planned for Thursday, May 20th, please visit Updates posted often.

Dinesh Kumar


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