Prince ‘Cloud’ guitar, ‘Purple Rain’ shirt among music memorabilia up for auction

Art Daily
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A Cloud guitar custom-made for Prince.

BOSTON, MASS.-RR Auction‘s March Fine Autographs and Artifacts sale boasts a substantial music section featuring Prince with online bidding until March 10.

Among these extraordinary artifacts is a Cloud guitar custom-made for Prince. The breathtaking bright yellow custom Cloud guitar created for, owned and played by Prince. The guitar was custom-made by Minneapolis luthier Kurt Nelson in the early 1990’s. The neck-through guitar features a bright yellow finish, golden hardware, and cloud-inspired design to body, horn, and headstock, with a unique series of 18 black Prince symbols to fretboard and top of the neck.

Included material related to its construction: Nelson’s original clear plastic guitar pattern sheet, with matching Cloud outline in black felt tip; a Plexiglas cut-out of the upper body with telltale upper horn; and a yellow handkerchief given to Nelson by Paisley Park to color match with the guitar.

“It’s an iconic and simply gorgeous Prince-played Cloud guitar that perfectly embodies the flash and flamboyance of its legendary owner,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.

Prince’s iconic screen-worn ruffled shirt from Purple Rain. The custom-made white ruffled shirt worn by Prince in the iconic 1984 film Purple Rain, lavishly crafted from soft silk and featuring a gathered high-neck collar, three layers of ruffles down the front, gathered ‘puffy’ long sleeves, ruffled faux-French cuffs, faux pearl buttons down the front placket, and light shoulder pads. Sewn inside the neck is a purple-on-white “Prince” label.

Accompanied by a letter of provenance from Juanita Escovedo, the mother of Prince protege Sheila E., stating that the shirt was made for Prince during the making of Purple Rain, and was given by Prince to Sheila E. It was later sold as part of a fundraising effort. As an iconic, screen-worn shirt from the classic movie, this is a remarkable museum-quality piece.

Remarkable handmade Lords jacket from Prince’s wardrobe, worn in a photoshoot with Randee St. Nicholas. Prince’s handmade couture jacket worn in a photoshoot, crafted from cream-colored fabric with three pairs of ornate black corded rope clasps on the front, and matching rope links on the cuffs. Concealed in the placket are three white buttons, behind each set of clasps. The jacket has two jetted diagonal pockets, handkerchief pocket on the left breast, and is lined in a fine paisley satin.

When Prince posed in this jacket in a shoot with photographer/filmmaker Randee St. Nicholas, he wore a high-collared black shirt and adorned the breast pocket with a black handkerchief—making for an edgy yet sophisticated look. Any piece from Prince’s personal wardrobe is tremendously desirable, and that he chose to wear this jacket in a photoshoot makes it especially significant. From the collection of singer-songwriter Susannah Melvoin.

And an incredibly rare first pressing of The Black Album sealed in its original shrinkwrap. The Black Album, also known as The Funk Bible, was originally intended to be released on December 8, 1987, with an entirely black sleeve and no printed title or song credits. A week before its release date, Prince had the album withdrawn after having a spiritual experience that convinced him the album was ‘evil.’ Warner Bros. worked extremely hard to destroy all of the 500,000 copies that had been pressed—very few survived, making extant examples among the rarest records in the world. The Black Album was later released as a limited edition CD and cassette by Warner Bros. in 1994, and then digitally via Tidal in 2016—however, no U.S. vinyl version of the album was ever commercially released.

Other music highlights come from the Beatles—highlighted by a Yellow Submarine jukebox, several vintage signature sets, and photographs—and Bob Dylan—including a suite of signed prints, a Highway 61 Revisited album signed in person, and documents associated with his mysterious Triumph motorcycle crash.

Top historical items include an important Martin Luther King, Jr. letter to Sammy Davis, Jr., an exceedingly rare military document signed by King Edward IV, and significant letters by Paul Gauguin, Franz Kafka, and Henry David Thoreau.

The Fine Autograph and Artifacts sale featuring Music and Prince from RR Auction began on February 19 and will conclude on March 10