NEW YORK, NY.- Sothebys
New York auction of Property from the Estate of Brooke Astor beloved philanthropist and legendary figure in New York society will be held on 24 & 25 September 2012. The sale will comprise fine and decorative art from Mrs. Astors Park Avenue apartment in New York City and her Westchester County estate, Holly Hill, as well as a selection of jewelry from her personal collection. The approximately 800 items in the sale will be on exhibition in Sothebys York Avenue galleries beginning 17 September.
In keeping with her unwavering commitment to numerous New York institutions and causes, Mrs. Astor selected a number of charitable organizations to benefit from her estate, including The New York Public Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Pierpont Morgan Library, The Animal Medical Center of New York, and New York City Schools, in addition to various charities in Maine.
Brooke Astor Collector
Brooke Astors enthusiasm for every detail pertaining to the furnishing and decorating of her rooms is charmingly effective. No one can equal her gaiety of spirit, her joyous laughter, and her keen wit. Albert Hadley, famed decorator who designed rooms for both Holly Hill and the Astors Park Avenue apartment
As Mrs. Astor surrounded herself with objects she loved, each of the works on offer this September reflects her life and passions: from Chinese lacquer furniture, clocks, mirror paintings and export porcelain that recall her early years in Asia while her father was stationed abroad, to the drawings and paintings of dogs many depicting her own that demonstrate her love for her animals, to the lion brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels that evokes the iconography of The New York Public Library, an institution she championed for decades (pictured page 3). The rooms and contents of both residences display a distinctive mix of comfort and refinement, and reveal a woman of elegance and grace who would come to embody New York society during her lifetime.
778 Park Avenue New York, New York
Now I feel Ive become a public monument Brooke Astor
Mrs. Astors duplex apartment in the Rosario Candeladesigned building at Park Avenue and 73rd street is one of New York Citys most famous residences, and housed the iconic library that is one of the most photographed rooms in the history of American interior design. Mrs. Astor hosted American presidents, foreign dignitaries, and influential cultural figures and members of society in the celebrated rooms, which she decorated to serve as an inviting space for raising funds for her numerous charitable causes.
The furniture and decorative arts from the residence represent a mix of styles and periods, evidence of the worldly eye of their collector. The furniture on offer in the September auction features English and French pieces from both the 18th and early-19th centuries, as well as Chinese lacquer furniture primarily dating to the Qing dynasty. Fine art from the apartment is highlighted by strong groups of both Old Master drawings including works by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Canaletto and Nicolas Lancret and Chinese export reverse-painted glass pieces.
Holly Hill Briarcliff Manor, New York
Its like backing up to the Esso and getting refueled. Brooke Astor, regarding her estate Holly Hill
Mrs. Astors stone manor set on more than 60 acres in Westchester County was designed in 1927 by architect Paul William Delano. With the same approach she took to her New York City duplex, she filled Holly Hill with furniture, decorations and personal effects that very much reflected her tastes and interests. For example, Mrs. Astors love for her gardens at the estate carries through to the many of the floral-themed pieces on offer.
In keeping with the natural setting, Mrs. Astor filled multiple walls with pictures of dogs, which will form a significant selection in the September auction. Additional highlights of the fine art from the Westchester estate include Henri Fantin-Latours The Red Rose and The White Rose (ests. $80/120,000 each), and Maurice Prendergasts Sitting on the Rocks (est. $300/400,000).
Jewelry from the Personal Collection of Brooke Astor
If I go up to Harlem or down to Sixth Street, and Im not dressed up or Im not wearing my jewelry, then the people feel Im talking down to them. People expect to see Mrs. Astor, not some dowdy old lady, and I dont intend to disappoint. Brooke Astor
Assembled primarily in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, Mrs. Astors personal collection of jewelry evokes her role as a renowned New York social figure, with pieces appropriate for every occasion both day and night. In addition to examples by each of the best designers of the 20th century including Van Cleef & Arpels, Verdura, Cartier, Buccellati, David Webb, Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., and Bulgari the September auction will also feature a strong group of stones. Highlights will include an Emerald and Diamond Ring set with a Colombian emerald weighing 22.84 carats (est. $100/150,000), an Emerald and Diamond Necklace, circa 1965 (pictured right, est. $250/350,000), and the wonderful articulated 18 Karat Gold, Fancy Colored Diamond, Coral and Ruby Lion Brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels, New York (est. $20/30,000).