The late Garry Shandling’s trademark irreverence disguised a love for art, specifically from Santa Fe.
Beginning Thursday, the Seventh Annual Objects of Art Santa Fe Show will sell more than 40 works from the comedian’s Los Angeles home. The collection features Navajo rugs, Southwestern furniture and paintings, including a 1943 modernist depiction of rows of nuns on newsprint by the Mexican artist Alfredo Ramos Martinez valued at $43,000. Martinez is considered the “father of Mexican modernism.” The show runs through Sunday. Located at El Museo de Cultural de Santa Fe in the Santa Fe Railyard, the gala opening is a benefit for New Mexico PBS.
Shandling regularly vacationed in Santa Fe and collected art. Prices will range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands for the important paintings, co-producer Kim Martindale said. The show snagged the collection through a connection with Los Angeles-based dealer Philip Gateway, a specialist in Native American and western painting. Gateway was chosen in part because of his long relationship with the late comedian George Carlin, Shandling’s close friend and mentor.
The collection reveals Shandling’s taste as decidedly Southwestern and Latin. Many of the Santa Fe works came from Canyon Road’s Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery.
“I knew Garry for 25 years,” Sublette said. “He was one of my closest friends. A lot of that stuff, I sold.”
The gallery owner met Shandling through his Tucson store.
“Garry’s been coming to New Mexico for at least 15 years,” Sublette said. The comic loved “the sky, the air, the architecture. And he came out to visit me,” he added.
“Garry’s eclectic,” Sublette continued. “He always knew what he wanted. It wasn’t a money thing; it was whether it spoke to him or not.
“He really did love Santa Fe,” he added. “He felt very relaxed here.”
That Shandling once owned the works bore no impact on the pricing, Martindale said
The Navajo rugs are vintage textiles from the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s priced around $200. “Two Women,” a 1929 Francisco Zuniga pencil and watercolor, is being offered at $15,000. A painting of the iconic Ranchos de Taos Church has been valued at less than $5,000, Martindale said.
“I’m thinking of buying a piece because it’s great provenance,” Martindale continued. “Here’s somebody who could buy anything, but he chose these paintings to live with and enjoy.”
Shandling bought some pieces from the LA Art Show, as well as from an Arizona dealer.
Objects of Art also features seminal works by Mexican sculptor Betsabee Romero and Cuban artist Jose Bedia, as well as a 2,000-year-old stone Olmec mask from Central America.
Born and raised in Tucson, Shandling shifted from advertising to comedy writing and stand-up when he moved to Los Angeles as an adult. He was nominated for 18 Emmy Awards for “The Larry Sanders Show,” winning the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series in 1998 for the series finale.
Shandling died in Los Angeles of a heart attack in March at 66. A devout Buddhist, he left much of his estate to a Buddhist monastery, Sublette said.