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Art Deco, "Lee Plaza Hotel" Detroit Lion No 2240

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Seller: urbansculptures (831) 100%, Location: Iowa, Ships to: US, Item: 252545367867 Inspired by lion spandrel panels Once on the landmark... Lee Plaza Hotel Detroit ~ I present ~ Art Deco lion Nr 2240 Modelled by Randall Inspired by an original 1928-1929 design by Corrado Parducci. Randall is an art scholarship recipient of Iowa Central Community College. Model 2240 My original sculpture is shown below in this clay model: You may hit the "buy now" to purchase your cast- a low numbered, signed edition. Below are some studio photos of my orginal clay model during it's various creation stages. These clay models are NOT molded copies taken off antiques, but were hand sculpted by Randall in the same style and configurations as 19th century and Art Deco architectural sculptures. Molds made of my clay models enable clients to purchase cast-stone or concrete casts of my models for wall decoration, garden or incorporating into a brick wall in new construction in a variety of finishes. Beginning with a wood box form larger than the finished size I want, some 100 pounds ofclay was pressed into it:Original clay model roughing-out stage started: The first cast was made today May 5th, 2013 Please read the entire auction page, it contains details on finishes, shipping and many answers to the more common questions people have Hand cast replicas of my sculpture are available in interior cast-stone in your choice of several finishes. HISTORY of the Lee Plaza Hotel The ornate 15 story high Lee Plaza Hotel was built in 1928 by architect Charles Noble for land owner Ralph T. Lee. Lee started out as a $1.50 a day furniture store employee to building up a fortune worth over $6 million prior to the crash of 1929. In 1919, Lee left his $50 per week engraving job with the J.B. VanAlstyne Engraving Company to begin investing in the real estate business. Lee began by building apartment houses in Detroit and quickly became one of the most well known builders in that city. By 1935, he had more than 30 buildings to his credit, including his Lee Plaza Hotel. The Lee Plaza's ground breaking started n May 1st, 1927 on the corner of West Grand Boulevard and Lawton Avenue. He chose the architect Charles Noble to design this hotel, and her sister on East Jefferson Avenuea few years later named "The Kean." Both the Lee and the Kean feature interesting Mediterranean and Art Deco elements, warm rusty/orange glazed brick facades, mottled glazed terracotta ornamentation, arcaded ground floor entrances, and capped by a copper gabled roof. The Lee was ornamented by sculptor Corrado Parducci. The ground floor was decorated with marble, expensive woods, bronze elevator tors, wrought-iron fixtures and elaborate plasterwork. “Like a great entrance hall in an old country chateau, the lobby of Lee Plaza bids you an appealing welcome and makes you glow with its warmth of beauty as you pause for exchange of greetings,” a 1931 brochure for the Lee states firmly. With the onset of the Great Depression, the Lee Plaza was plagued by problems from the start because of Ralph T. Leeʼs extravagant spending. Lee sold the hotel shortly after it opened to the Detroit Investment Co., but by December 1930, the company was delinquent on its payments on a $1.1 million bond issue from 1927. The Metropolitan Trust Co. was appointed the receiver, but quickly went into receivership itself. In 1931, the Equitable Trust Co. took over, and appointed Ralph Lee an adviser. Equitable had Ralph Lee running the hotel as the manager. For about 4 years and paid him $450 per month. They also granted him considerable perks in the form of rent-free apartments in the hotel, food, room and maid services. The court however did not approve of this lavish compensation, so the bondholders asked the court to make Lee repay the compensation he had received without court approval. In July 1935, Ralph Lee admitted in court that he, his wife and a third person operated a hardware company for practically the sole purpose of selling supplies to the Lee Plaza and his other buildings at full retail prices instead of at wholesale prices. The following month, Circuit Judge Harry R. Keidan found Equitable and Ralph Lee in contempt of court and ordered them to pay the bondholders $30,000 cash. The judge also evicted Lee and his family out of the building. Two weeks later, bondholders went after Lee in court over some of his other properties. The Public Trust Commission accused him of “milking” another building named "The Lee Crest" for which he was a co-receiver. The mortgage was in default, but Lee was taking money coming in for his own salary, instead of paying off the debts on the property. Lee also admitted that when he moved into the Lee Plaza in 1931, he sold the carpets in his Chicago boulevard home to the hotel so he could keep them. In the Fall of 1935, the Lee Plaza Hotel was bankrupt — and so was Ralph Lee. In September 1935, Lee appeared in federal bankruptcy court, trying to explain why he transferred his hardware business and interests in his buildings to his wife. “I donʼt recall now” why he made the transactions and, “I have forgotten that, too,” when asked why the transfers werenʼt recorded. Around 1937, he moved to Florida and attempted a comeback by re-entering the real estate business. But in March of 1940, he became ill and returned to Detroit for surgery. Lee died at age 49 on March 28, 1940. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on Nov. 5, 1981. It was stated that “the structure is notable for its excellent state of preservation and it has never been redecorated or remodeled, unlike the majority of the cityʼs luxury hotels.” William Worden, retired director of historic designation for the City of Detroit, had led the effort to get the Lee on the historic register. Decline, vandalism, and theft of the lions The Lee continued to lose residents and head down hill. At the same time, the cityʼs finances was running dry and budget cutbacks would hit hard. The Lee would close it's doors permanently in 1997. Its entrances and ground-floor windows were sealed up with concrete blocks, but they couldnʼt keep the vandals and scrappers out. Once the chain link barbwired fence was cut, and the concrete blocks in one of the doors were broken out, the vandals and scrappers destroyed the interior, the ornate ballroom and marble, ripped out the wrought-iron fixtures, plumbing, aluminum window frames, and tore the entire copper sheeted roof off. But the destruction didn't stop there, around 2000, or 2001 approximately 50 large terracotta lion spandrel panels installed below the windowsills on the top floor were stolen one by one over time. Eventually, the theft of the lions was discovered, and a brochure promoting a new condo building in Chicago touted that the 4 lions on the new building came from the Lee Plaza Hotel in Detroit. Shortly afterwards due to complaints- the police and the FBI became involved as the theft of the terracotta lions took place over state lines. Approximately 24 of the lions and 3 terracotta gargoyles were recovered by the police from Architectural Artifacts- a Chicago salvage dealer who claimed they bought them from some other dealer in yet another state, whom they couldn't remember the name of. (yeah right!) Some of the recovered stolen lions in the police evidence storeroom circa 2003, followed by images of before and after views of where the lions were: Lee Plaza by Andred Jameson 2008 Today, 16 years after the Lee was shut down and boarded up, the building still sits with all it's windows and the copper roof gone, here's a picture showing the once elaborate and ornate entrance riddled with holes where terracotta ornaments were ripped out: HISTORY of the sculptor whose artwork appears on the building Corrado Giuseppe Parducci (March 10, 1900 - November 22, 1981) was an Italian-American architectural sculptor who was a celebrated artist for his numerous early 20th Century works. In 1924 Parducci traveled to Detroit to work for Kahn, only planning to stay for a few months. However, with the automotive industry booming in the 1920s, Parducci moved his family to Michigan and ended up spending the rest of his career working from Detroit. One of Parducci's known Detroit studios was located at Cass Ave. and Sibley St., but it has been demolished. Parducci's studio had tall windows which illuminated his work. Parducci’s work can be found on many of the Detroit area’s finest buildings including from churches, schools, banks, hospitals and residences. Parducci was born in Buti, Italy, a small village near Pisa, and immigrated to New York City in the United States in 1904. At a young age, he was sponsored by heiress/sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and sent to art school. He attended the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design and Art Students League. His teachers included anatomist George Bridgman and sculptor Albin Polasek. The sculpture is a wall hanging piece and comes with a bar hook embedded in the back. It really is a charming and very interesting work. SIZE: Nominal 21-1/2" high by 15-1/2" wide, 4" deep. WEIGHT: Panel weighs approx #40 and ships in a wood crate at approx #70 A recent comment below from a client who purchased another one of my works: thank you so much! Subject: Re: Art Deco panel No D8Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:45:14 -0500 (EST) Dear Randall, I received my panel today. First off, I can't believe how quickly you were able to complete the job and get the panel to me. It arrived perfectly packed and intact. Secondly ( and more importantly), I am stunned at how beautiful it is. It is truly breathtaking and I am so thrilled. My concerns, as you knew, about the color were unfounded and solely based on the photograph which really didn't capture the magnificence of the piece. I am going to call my carpenter and we'll figure out where and how to hang it. You have been wonderful. I offer you profound thanks and look forward to working with you again. (John) General information etc applicable to all of my sculptures NOTE: My standard cast-stone is for INTERIOR OR UNDER A COVERED PORCH/SUN ROOM ONLY! Out in the garden they might last 4 or 5 years, maybe longer before showing weathering damage. If you are looking for something to place in the garden or build into a wall, I offer concrete as a special order item which takes approx 3 weeks. Not all pieces are available in concrete, inquire before ordering. All of these sculptures have a heavy wire embedded on the back to hang them on the wall. I own the originals, copyrights in most cases, and the molds, I can produce any quantity and custom configurations as well. All of my sculptures are personally hand-cast in my home studio, they are signed, numbered and dated. These are finished to order at the time of purchase. Randall featured in the New York Times Sunday May 20th, 2007 City section Pg CY9 Article on my work in the Blanden Memorial Fine Art Museum's quarterly magazine in Ft Dodge, where a dozen of my works are being exhibited for three months, and a quick photo of part of the display there; Portion of a full page article by a local newspaper on my work, for an artist reception at a local museum. FINISHES AVAILABLE I offer at least 5 different finishes, on certain pieces- 2 metallics are standard. Finishes are YOUR CHOICE which you want on your sculpture. They vary from piece to piece, and actual colors displayed on your monitor will vary as well. From left to right in the photo below, they are; Old Dirty Bronze (metallic) Old Dirty Nickel (metallic) Dirty limestone grey- varies from near black to very light grey. Buff yellow. Red terra cotta. SHIPPING NOTICE I use FedEx ground service for all shipments in the lower 48 states. I no longer ship outside the US. I ship these larger panels in plywood CRATES instead of cardboard boxes. Maximum protection is a plus for my clients and myself, but please understand that it DOES take time- about a half hour to cut material and build each crate, this is only done on weekends- for shipping Monday or Tuesday. You will need a large Phillp's driver bit in an electric drill, or a hand driver, or a #2 square drive will also work with the screws I use. Shipping charges if displayed here, are for my standard INTERIOR cast-stone versions only! NOTICE:Designs in the Urban Sculptures Collection are copyrighted with all rights reserved, this includes reproductions of antique pieces upon which I made certain modifications, alterations or changes- the changes are copyright and reproduction of same would constitute copyright infringement. I do not sell molds, nor casts for others to replicate and will enforce my proprietary rights. I reserve the right to decline sales to anyone. Original clay models by Randall all carry my impressed model numbers and dog paw-print logo, date of creation and signature on one of the sides, the casting number and casting date are inscribed by hand on the back of every cast. My side of the story about the ONE neutral I rec'd after almost 18 years on Ebay and 818 POSITIVE feedbacks: I put up some brand new casters I wasn't going to use that came with new metal shelving I bought, I wasn't sure anyone would even buy them, so I put them up for $19 with free shipping, going by the $7 "small flat rate" box at the Post Office. As it turned out, one guy bought a set and it turned out the 4 casters wouldn't fit the small $7 box without jamming them in with no packing, as they were thin cardboard it was clear they would break through, so I wound up having to ship that first set in a "medium flat rate" box which cost $13.60. Keeping in mind I had a $19 price on them, after the Paypal fees, Ebay fees, printing the label out, driving to the Post Office to mail the box and my time I lost money of that.So I revised the listing to offer TWO sets for $38 and free shipping, they would fit that medium box and cost me $13.60 to mail- a more reasonable amount.Somehow, the FIRST listing for one $19 set was relisted and I didn't see that until this other guy bought it, realizing there was an error I messaged the buyer the below, and immediately refunded his money and cancelled the transaction.No response or anything from him, except for this "neutral" shown below a week later! Somehow I'm a "whiney" seller because of an error, and not wanting to mail something out that cost me more to ssell and ship than the purchase price!After this experience I decided to throw away the four sets of casters I had and not bother with this non sculptural junk I should have thrown away to begin with, but I figured someone could use them and it was a shame to throw away brand new casters because I didn't need them.I had TWO sellers cancel orders on ME recently, so what? I was immediately refunded, life goes on, I didn't waste my time leaving a silly neutral feedback and rude comments, I bought elsewhere! Since Feedback only allows a lousy 48 char reply to feedback, the only way to defend myself properly and back it up with proof is this way with full details! Questions? need more information, photos? help with your personal decorating project? talk to me! use the "contact seller link." Randall's Urban Sculptures Collection, web gallery, and sculpture studio. A historical photo essay of lost buildings from NYC's architectural history. All photos and accompanying text are (C) Randall's Urban Sculptures Collection, all rights reserved. Condition: Cast and finished to order

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