The Berkeley home in which the film critic Pauline Kael lived from 1955 until 1964 is being put up for sale by Sotheby’s. It is an attractive, well-preserved two-story brown shingle on Oregon Street, about a mile south of the U.C. Berkeley campus. Notable for being Kael’s home during some of her formative years, the house is also special for containing a set of stunning murals by the renowned painter and collagist Jess (1923–2004), which he created in 1956 for Pauline and her young daughter. The murals, which are in the styles of Bonnard, Braque, Klee, and others, fill the upstairs hallway, the back porch, part of the living room and one of the bedrooms. Significantly, these jewel-like tableaux are the only surviving murals by Jess, the other five he did in the 1950s having been abandoned or painted over by their owners. The house also includes murals and kitchen floor designed by the painter Harry Jacobus.

The Jess Collins Trust and several interested lovers of Jess’s work are seeking how these Oregon St. murals can be preserved for future generations to see and enjoy. Toward this end, the Trust hopes that the house will be bought by an individual or a family aware of its history and who will continue to appreciate and care for Jess’s art works: or, alternatively, that the house might be purchased by an institution or by art collectors and/or investors who would own it jointly as a non-profit foundation, maintaining it as a small museum and study center honoring Robert Duncan and Jess, as well as Pauline Kael.

Time is of the essence.

For more detailed information, please contact the Jess Collins Trust at (510) 848-4609 or; or Ortrun Niesar (Sotheby’s) at (510) 326-2161,

Contributed by Christopher Wagstaff, 6/14