Art sale features works from producer Jake Eberts’ collection
Ryan Summerlin April 8, 2014
The late film producer Jake Eberts took his job seriously.
He was the executive producer of the Academy Award-winning films "Gandhi," "Dances with Wolves" and "Chariots of Fire."
He also produced the films "A River Runs Through It" and "The Legend of Bagger Vance," both directed by Robert Redford, with whom Eberts worked closely as a member of the Sundance Institute board of directors.
Although Eberts passed away on Sept. 6, 2012, his legacy will help the Kimball Art Center and Peace House, both nonprofit organizations, when his wife, Fiona Eberts, hosts an art estate sale on Friday, April 11, and Saturday, April 12.
The sale, which will be held both days from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at 628 Park Ave., in the building across the street from the Kimball Art Center, will feature art that the Eberts collected for a house they built near the Sundance Resort.
"That was sort of Jake’s baby, because I was busy with women’s project (Action on Moringa Nutrition in Ghana — AMONG) in Ghana, growing Moringa oleifera, a medicinal plant," Fiona Eberts said during a telephone call form Montreal, Canada. "He built the house and then built up a collection of art to fill it."
All the art that decorated the home will be on sale.
"We’ll have about 60 pieces," Eberts said. "These are all nice works and they all looked lovely in the home’s environment."
The sale will include art by Tom Mangelsen, Linda Tay’nahza, Alice McCallum, Sandra Cooney, September Vhay, David Schultz, Libby Blake, Olivia Pendergast and Sibylle Szaggers-Redford, who is Robert Redford’s wife.
"The biggest pieces are done by Linda, who lives near Sundance," Eberts said. "She used to teach art at the resort and does some wonderful art.
"These works are enormous and one of them is Mt. Timpanogos," Eberts said. "Another artist we really enjoyed was Robert’s wife, Sibylle and we’ll have about five or six pieces by her."
Eberts said her husband was fond of the Redfords and their causes.
"They had a lot of things in common, including the love of nature and conservation," she said.
Eberts was attracted to her husband because of his personality.
"He was such a charming person and so much fun," she said. "Life was so exciting withJake, even if it was just packing a picnic."
She also admired his strong ethical streak.
"He retained that throughout his career, and to do that in the film business, was just astounding," Eberts said. "People said he swam with sharks, but never lost any finger or toes. He was incredibly charismatic and was always that way from when we first married."
The Eberts were married for 44 years.
"He was my only husband and I was his only wife, which was rare in that business," Ebert said with a laugh. "I think one of the reasons was that we never lived in Los Angeles. We kept out of that madness. I actually told him he could live there if he had another wife."
Instead, the couple lived in Paris, London and Utah.
"He was a chemical engineer and investment banker, and morphed into executive film producer," Eberts said.
His first film was Martin Rosen’s 1978 animated feature, "Watership Down."
"The filmmaker was looking for an investor and Jake packaged it up like one of his packages and started things going," Eberts said.
The idea to host an art estate sale came from Eberts meeting with Robin Marrouche, the executive director for the Kimball Art Center during this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
"When I sold the house last September, I needed to do something with all the art," Eberts said. "Robin suggested that we do a sale and then the idea of giving the money to the Kimball Art Center and Peace House came to me."
Eberts said she was impressed with the Kimball Art Center and all it has to offer.
"I recently visited the ‘Art of the Timepiece’ exhibit and it was amazing," Eberts said.
"Also, Robin and I share many things in common, the first and foremost is that she’s from Canada and Jake was Canadian. I think she’s done a great job with the center and she is just a charming woman."
The reason Eberts decided to include the Peace House was because of its work to stop domestic violence in Summit and Wasatch counties.
"I’m very concerned about all the woman’s well being," said Eberts, the former chairwoman of the Campaign for Female Education, which serves five African countries. "I’ve been interested in women’s issues for for all my life and that’s the thread that runs through what I do.
"That’s why Peace House is part of this," she said. "This is way to help the money the people spend on buying these pieces of art go further."
The Estate Art Sale, which will benefit the Kimball Art Center and Peace House, will be held Friday, April 11, and Saturday, April 12, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at 628 Park Ave., across the street from the Kimball Art Center. All the proceeds will be donated equally to the two organizations. Admission is free. For more information visit www.kimballartcenter.org .