Sneak Preview of Fowler Art Treasures

Some of this city's most avid collectors and savvy appraisers will congregate Sunday evening at the Fowler Museum for a sneak preview of more than 1,000 treasures from the collection of the late Francis E. Fowler Jr. Sotheby's, which will auction off these pieces of ancient arms and armor, carved Japanese ivory figures, early 18th-Century silver tankards and Ming and Tang figures in its New York gallery Feb. 14-16, hosts the preview reception here and will open the exhibition to the public at the museum Jan. 14-18.

Fowler's collection, the Sotheby experts tell us, reflects his "impeccable eye for quality and eclectic interests." The collection was housed for many years in the Fowler Museum on Wilshire Boulevard. Fowler died in 1975 and in 1983 the Fowler Foundation closed the museum and moved the collection to UCLA. The auction will raise money for construction of a new home for the Museum of Cultural History, which was established on the UCLA campus in 1963. What remains of the Fowler collection (plenty) will be housed in the new museum, which will then be known as the Fowler Museum of Cultural History.

Sunday evening's group will include Harold Williams, chairman of the Getty Trust; MCA's Lew Wasserman and his wife Edie; Mr. and Mrs. Ed Janss of the real estate clan; television tycoon Aaron Spelling and his wife Candy; the Getty Museum's Lorie and Peter Fusco; the County Museum of Art's Earl A. Powell III and his wife Nancy; and such collectors as Alan Shayne, Sy Weintraub, Nathan Smooke, Jose Tasende and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Borlenghi.

What they'll be zeroing in on will be such treasures as a North German amber cannon dated 1660, a pair of Victorian six-light candelabra from the London workshops of Stephen Smith (estimated sale price $25,000-$30,000), a set of 12 Russian Imperial porcelain dessert plates from the service of Nicholas I, a selection of whimsical cast-iron mechanical and still banks, baccarat millefiori weights (at bargain price estimates), and other dazzlers.

Here's more news about the desert's big social do--George Burns in Concert, a benefit for the improvement project at Eisenhower Medical Center on Feb. 8. Among the sponsors who are paying $25,000 per couple to listen to George Burns sing (can you believe it?) are Bob and Dolores Hope, the Gene Autrys, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hamilton (she heads the fund-raising drive), Lorena Mayer Nidorf, Mr., and Mrs. Ernest Hahn, Allen Paulson (he's a very special sponsor), Mr. and Mrs. Alex Spanos, Col. and Mrs. William McCain, Saul Kamin, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Marguleas and Mrs. K.S. Adams. To add a little extra thanks for the sponsors' generosity, former Ambassador and Mrs. Walter Annenberg, the fund-raiser's honorary chairmen, will host a pre-concert reception at their Sunnylands estate.

The New Social Scramble: Darren Ramirez of the Gianni Versace boutique in the Rodeo Collection and the late Rachel Roberts' best friend, and heiress/designer Gloria Vanderbilt have discovered they have more in common than the fashion business. They met about six years ago shortly after Gloria's husband, Wyatt Cooper, the writer, died. They kept in touch, but hadn't seen each other until last year when Gloria invited Darren to New York for some parties. Then she came to Los Angeles to visit him. And Darren spent the holidays with Gloria and her two sons in New York. Now friends (Bobby Short and Jacques Camus among them) say that wedding bells are in the air. At the moment Darren's in Europe (Paris then Milan) on Versace business.

Owner Peter Morton, wearing a blue sweater, was checking out the action Tuesday night in his sizzling Morton's where among the diners were Ambassador to the Vatican and Mrs. William A. Wilson with Audrey and Bob Six; Marcia and Neil Diamond; designer James Galanos, Paul Bruggemans and Gus Tassell waiting at the bar for a table; Freddie and Corinna Fields with George Hamilton and Jim Randall; Timothy Leary; Putnam's Ellis Amburn with literary agent Andy Ettinger (Ellis was in town to work with a first-time celebrity tell-it-all author); Connie Wald with her brother Barron Pollon; Tom and Pam Korman; Tina Turner with Richard Perry.

Tom and Annabella Wisniewski, both graduates of Cornell University's Restaurant and Hotel Management School, have opened a new hotel for yuppies. If you qualify, it's in San Francisco and it's called The Orchard.

Lunching at the Bistro--Peter and Judy Joyce with Jill Cartter; Janet de Cordova (who says, "I never lunch") with Audrey Wilder and author Nick Dunne.

Talking beauty business over lunch at Le St. Germain--Estee Lauder veep Philip Greibe and Rafaela (Van) Venneri who spent the holidays in Palm Springs.

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