“I hope the people who win my pieces see what I saw through my eyes when I bought them,” says William Rolland. Photograph by Bejan Foroozan.

The William Rolland Collection

SCULPTURES FORM FOUNDATION OF CALIFORNIAN’S QUEST FOR THE ‘BEST OF THE BEST’

William Rolland readily admits to humble beginnings. “I was born in Los Angeles, raised during the Great Depression,” he says. “My bedroom was the kitchen. I lived in that kitchen for 13 years of my life.”

EVENT

►FINE & DECORATIVE ARTS FEATURING THE GENTLEMAN COLLECTOR SIGNATURE® AUCTION 5325
Featuring the William Rolland Collection
Sept. 22-24, 2017
Live: Dallas
Online: HA.com/5325a
►ESTATES SIGNATURE® AUCTION 5337
Featuring the William Rolland Collection
Dec. 9-10, 2017
Live: Dallas
Online: HA.com/5337a
INQUIRIES
Carolyn Mani
214.409.1677
CarolynM@HA.com
Nicholas Dawes
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It was those times, he says, that inspired him to achieve success in business, and to value life’s beauty. “I’ve always had an appreciation,” he says, “for what my life did not provide me.”

As his real estate development firm thrived in Southern California in the mid-1950s, Rolland began collecting art. His first significant purchase was a 500-pound bronze sculpture by German artist Hugo Kaufmann. “I started with every penny I could put together to go out and look for art objects that appealed to my eyes.”

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Jean-Baptiste Auguste Clésinger (1814-1883) Dancer with Tambourine
Jean-Baptiste Auguste Clésinger (1814-1883)
Dancer with Tambourine
Incised F. Barbedienne mark
Height: 40 in.
Estimate: $8,000-$12,000
The Gentleman Collector Signature® Auction 5325

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Today, Rolland’s collection includes sculptures, Murano glass, oil and watercolor paintings, winning Indianapolis racing cars, and even a letter penned by Mark Twain. “It’s an eclectic collection,” says Rolland, “but it’s always been the best of the best I could afford beginning at that time… 50, 60 years ago.”

Pieces from the William Rolland collection are being offered in two upcoming Heritage auctions.

“We are honored to work with Mr. Rolland,” says Heritage Auctions consignment director Carolyn Mani. “Rolland has always had a passion for items that are rare or one of a kind. On top of that, his love of the arts and support of various organizations puts him in a class by himself.”

Rolland says much of his passion for the arts “stems from my No. 1 love, architecture.” That love, and a commitment to giving back to the community, led Rolland and wife Kay to build a $10 million football stadium at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. Built alongside the stadium, the William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art houses pieces from Rolland’s collection.

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After Auguste Moreau (1834-1917) Continental Carved Marble
After Auguste Moreau (1834-1917)
Continental Carved Marble
Figural Group, Woman and Cupid
Height: 29 in.
Estimate: $3,000-$5,000
Estates Signature® Auction 5337

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 “We love our community,” says Kay Rolland. “I give to music scholarships. He gives to sports, the football stadium. We give back because we’ve been so fortunate.”

Now it’s time to share his collection, says William Rolland, 84.

“I hope the people who win my pieces see what I saw through my eyes when I bought them. They were all exceptional, they weren’t ordinary. They had details and detail in bronze is what I always looked for. The face, eyes, fingers, toes … they are all delineated instead of just blending together.”

In the end, Rolland advises collectors to acquire pieces the way he’s always acquired items.

“Don’t just buy to buy,” he says. “Buy for a purpose. And let that purpose be the experiences you’ve had in your life, where your education has taken you, and stick to it.”

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Silvered Bronze and Malachite Mounted Spirit of Ecstasy
After Charles Sykes (1875-1950)
Silvered Bronze and Malachite
Mounted Spirit of Ecstasy
Height: 20 in.
Estimate: $4,000-$6,000
The Gentleman Collector Signature® Auction 5325

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Patinated Bronze Figural Group of Man with Rooster,
Alexandre Falguière (1831-1900)
Le Jeune homme a coq, circa 1870
Patinated Bronze Figural Group
of Man with Rooster,
foundry mark Thiébaut Freres
Height: 42 in.
Estimate: $3,000-$5,000
The Gentleman Collector Signature® Auction 5325

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