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Estate of eccentric artist Clayton Bailey up for auction at Witherell's in Sacramento
Joseph Fafard (1942-2019) ceramic, "Roy DeForest in Chair." Signed and dated (1973) on underside. Dimensions: 15.5"h x 6.5"w x 11.5"d. Estimate: $5,000 - $10,000.

SACRAMENTO, CALIF.- Witherell’s Auction House presents The Estate of Clayton and Betty Bailey, an online auction event spanning April 29th through May 12th that will feature 25 works by the eccentric ceramic and metal artist known for the “Nut Art Movement.” Clayton Bailey (1939-2020) created humorous and quirky sculptures, ceramic heads, robots and unusual sci-fi beings featured in the permanent collections of major art museums around the world and part of a current exhibition at the Crocker Art Museum, The Candy Store: Funk, Nut, and Other Art with a Kick.

“Clayton Bailey had one of the most amusing and unusual personalities that is reflected in his unique art, which he created every single day of his life,” said Brian Witherell, cofounder of Witherell’s and guest appraisal expert on PBS’s popular series, “Antiques Roadshow.” “He lived and created art for 50 years right here in Northern California, but his art is collected around the world and we are honored that his children turned to us to handle the estate.”

Bailey married his high school sweetheart, Betty Graveen, a self-taught ceramic and pencil artist. For 50 years they lived along the Carquinez Strait in Port Costa on property that served as their art workshop and a museum for a period of time, where they charged 25-cent admission.

Bailey initially joined the renowned art department at UC Davis and later became the art department chair at Cal State East Bay. He developed a mad scientist alter ego, “Dr. George Gladstone,” wearing a lab coat for his performance art and pranks. A notable ongoing project was the mustache he grew for more than 25 years until he cut and stored it in a wooden box.

The Estate of Clayton and Betty Bailey showcases his expansive work as well as his personal collection of his colleague’s work. Many of the pieces were exhibited in the Crocker Art Museum’s 2011 exhibition, “Clayton Bailey’s World of Wonders.” Auction highlights include:

• David Gilhooly (1943-2013) Ceramic, "Big Stuff" Frog Oreo
• Robert Arneson (1930-1992) Ceramic, "Art Works"
• S. Clay Wilson (1941-2021) Large Vinyl Drawing
• Clayton Bailey (1939-2020) Stoneware Face Jug
• Roy Deforest (1931-2007) Framed Mixed Media Artwork
• Joseph Fafard (1942-2019) Ceramic, "Roy DeForest in Chair"
• Mel Ramos (1935-2018) Lithograph, "AC Annie"
• Richard Notkin (b. 1948) Ceramic "Garbage Can Lamp"
• Harvey Littleton (1922-2013) Art Glass Loop

Please see below for a link to auction images or view the lots at The Estate of Clayton and Betty Bailey - Lots | Witherell's Auction House (

Online bids can be placed through May 12th. Witherell’s will also host an auction preview on May 10th from 1 to 4pm at Witherell’s Auction House.

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