Palm Beach Modern Auctions
Live Auction

Modern Art & Design, Urban Culture, Jewelry

Sat, Mar 3, 2018 12:00PM EST - Sun, Mar 4, 2018 12:00PM EST
Lot 333

James Dean REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE Red Jacket, 1955

Estimate: $400,000 - $600,000

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$30,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000
$200,000 $25,000
The red jacket worn by James Dean is one of a few purchased from Mattsons' Sportswear for Men in Hollywood, California for use in the 1955 film REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. Darts were hastily sewn into the back to accommodate Dean's smaller frame. Upon completion of filming, the jackets were given as gifts. The following provenance information makes reference to several documents, which are depicted in the listing photos. All are available for inspection in person during the preview period. Provenance: Leon Roberts, Wardrobe Supervisor for Rebel Without A Cause (*1) |1955: Mr. Dambres, California (*2) | Ernest H. Dambres, Florida and New York (*3) |Michael Scott, Hobe Sound, Florida (*4). Notations: *1 - The Making of Rebel Without A Cause, Douglas L. Rathgeb, pg. 102: Leon Roberts and Henry Field would supervise wardrobe selection for Rebel: largely T-shirts, blue jeans and whatever else costume designer Moss Mabry deemed appropriate. / Rebel Without a Cause Staff & Cast, 3/26/55: Mens WDBE. Leon Roberts-7570 _ DeLongpre Ave., Ho. HO50011. (according to consignors notes, their notes, copy from Warner Brothers archives, came from Juliens Auctions when they wanted to auction it and visited my house in the 90s.) | *2 - Mr. Dambres was a friend and associate of Leon Roberts, having provided laundry/linen services to Warner Brothers. The jacket was given to Mr. Dambres at the end of filming in 1955. | *3 - Ernest H. Dambres was given the coat by his uncle Mr. Dambres. Ernest wore the coat for years when he was younger. See 9/6/1962 letter to Ernest from Leon Roberts, in which Roberts writes on behalf of the nonprofit Hollywood Museum of Motion Pictures, requesting that Mr. Dambres donate the jacket to the museum to assist in generating public funds for the benefit of aging motion picture industry workers. Additionally, Mr. Roberts says, I respectively [sic] request that you would consider donating the red jacket worn by the late actor James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause that I gave to your uncle at the end of shooting back in 1955. / Palm Beach Modern Auctions spoke with a representative at the Hollywood Museum who stated that the Museum of Motion Pictures was planned but never came to fruition, although the Academy is still considering the project. | *4 - Refer to: copy of handwritten, notarized document 4/1/1989 / Michael Scott was a longtime friend and colleague of Ernest H. Dambres in the field of drafting and design. The two shared a common interest in 1950s automobile culture. Mr. Scott did benefit auto shows for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County and Ernest Dambres offered the use of his jacket for display at the shows. When Mr. Dambres moved up north, he left the jacket with Mr. Scott so that he could continue using it for this purpose. When Ernest Dambres passed away, Michael Scott was notified that the jacket was bequeathed to him in the will. | *5 - Michael Scott also noted that he had shown the jacket to Marcus Winslow, Curator and Executor of the James Dean Estate in Fairmont Indiana. Mr. Winslow requested that Mr. Scott donate it to the museum there. Mr. Scott declined at the time, and received a response thanking him for sharing the jacket. In his handwritten notations, Mr. Scott noted that Mr. Winslow believed it to be the real deal.
Designer & Manufacturer: Bud Berma Originals
Markings: Bud Berma Originals label
Country of Origin & Materials: USA; nylon, metal
Dimensions(H,W,D): 21"l, 19"w (at waist, measured flat); no marked size
 
3.1.2018 update to potential bidders and interested parties:
 
1) Response in reference to “grayish lining in movie” versus Lot 333: It is our understanding that once the wardrobe department recognized an issue during production with the light-colored lining, they used lamp black - the soot created by the lights on set - to treat the interior of the jacket. It is reasonable that this would have been removed after, as the consignor advised us that the jacket had been worn by Ernest H. Dambres, as described in the provenance section of the listing.
 
2) Response in reference to the possible death of Leon Roberts on January, 1957: We have received an unverified report that Leon Roberts died in 1957 and, therefore, could not have been the author of the 1962 letter regarding the Hollywood Museum of Motion Pictures. Palm Beach Modern Auctions could not verify the claim or the possible confusion with Chester L. Roberts (b.1900, also noted on this website), another person connected with the movie industry who would have been 58 years old at the suggested date of death. The site further notes that Leon Roberts is credited with work on the movie Lafayette Escadrille in 1958 after the suggested date of death for Leon Roberts.

very good, some staining and cigarette burns, probably laundered, wear consistent with age and use