NEW YORK, NY.- Sothebys
will present an auction of fine and decorative arts from the contents of Albemarle House, the magnificent home of vintner and philanthropist Patricia Kluge. The two-day auction, which will take place on June 8 and 9, will be held on the premises, located outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. Albemarle House, a 45-room English country manor, was conceived by Mrs. Kluge and renowned designer David Easton and is regarded as one of the most important residences created in America since the Golden Age. Among its neighbors are Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and James Monroe's Ash Lawn-Highland. Mrs. Kluges collection of several hundred items of outstanding Georgian furniture, decorative objects and paintings is estimated in excess of $13.5 million.
Prior to the two-day auction, Mrs. Kluges collection will be exhibited on-site at Albemarle House, beginning 31 May. Access to the exhibition will be available to the public with the purchase of an auction catalogue. Available in May, the catalogue will offer collectors a room-by-room walkthrough of Albemarle House with hundreds of photographs of the interior and surrounding gardens and outbuildings.
For the past three decades, building and maintaining this collection have been among my greatest joys, commented Patricia Kluge. Now, I look forward to sharing this very extraordinary collection with fellow collectors as I focus my energy on my new home, travel and expanding the business of Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard. I am eager to share with the world the top quality wine that can be made from this unique terroir.
Alistair Clarke, Worldwide Head of French, Continental and English Furniture, commented, Sothebys is delighted to offer the Collection of Mrs. Kluge and to celebrate her style. Albemarle House, her collaboration with designer David Easton, rejuvenated high-style country living in the United States in the English tradition, which had declined since the early 20th century. The home and the magnificent grounds surrounding it lend themselves beautifully to an auction on-site. Collectors will witness the result of Mrs. Kluges search for the very best, each piece representative of her vision and sourced from leading dealers in the United Kingdom as well as private collections around the world. For all those who visit, it will be a wonderful opportunity to see first-hand the genius of Patricia Kluge and David Easton, and to view the collection and setting they have crafted together.
Highlights of the Collection
The sale will offer a wide range of material, appealing to many different types of collectors. English furniture collectors will find exemplary works purchased from many of the fields top London dealers. The sale will comprise the entire contents of the house, including Chinese paintings and works of art, Books, Sporting Guns, Jewels, Lighting and Decorative Objects. It will also include Mrs. Kluges collection of designer gowns by Givenchy, Christian LaCroix and Arnold Scaasi.
Patricia Kluge commented, I have lived in different parts of the world and developed elements of my style from those experiences. Each piece in this collection has a unique story and memory for me, and assembled together they represent a warm and loving home where I have spent 25 years.
Among the top lots of the auction is a Magnificent Imperial Tribute Gilt-Brass, Enamel and Paste-Set Quarter Striking Automaton Table Clock, Guangzhou Workshops, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Period, the movement later (est. $600,000/1 million). Clocks were a luxury in 18th century Europe, and in China at the time they were of even greater rarity. The Qianlong Emperor (1736-1795) in particular was an avid collector of all types of timepieces; more than 4,000 timepieces were known to have been in his collection, and could be heard chiming throughout the day. By the late 18th century, the Chinese had developed their own native clock making industry; the port of Guangzhou in particular developed as a manufacturing center for clocks as Western clocks passed through the hands of skilled craftsmen who studied and began to copy the pieces, combining European and Chinese elements. The present example is remarkable in that it retains its original fire gilding and lavish paste jewels. The eye-catching performance of revolving waterfall rods and figures passing in a tranquil landscape setting to the accompaniment of musical tunes still serves to astonish and amuse the present-day connoisseur just as it entertained and impressed an audience over two hundred years ago when it was made. The design of this magnificent clock combines the creativity, opulence and novelty that characterize many of the finest works of art destined for Imperial use of the Chinese emperors in the 18th century.
Mrs. Kluges collection of English furniture represents the pantheon of English craftsmen and includes such names as Thomas Chippendale, Henry Hill, John Linnell and John McLean. Leading the furniture on offer is an Important George III Satinwood-Crossbanded Mahogany Serpentine Brass-Mounted Dressing Commode attributed to Thomas Chippendale, circa 1770 (est. $400/600,000). Representing the zenith of English craftsmanship, the commode incorporates richly patterned mahogany veneers, detailed carving and distinctive brass handles.
A Fine and Rare George III Inlaid Mahogany and Brass-mounted Serpentine Fronted Dressing Commode attributed to Henry Hill, circa 1770-1775 is featured in the bedroom (est. $200/300,000). A Pair of George III Carved and Giltwood Marble-Top Pier Tables after a design by Robert Adam, circa 1770 will also be offered (est. $300/500,000). John McLean, one of the leading Regency cabinet makers is represented by a Fine Gilt-Brass-Mounted Rosewood and Rosewood Grained Drum Table, circa 1810 (est. $200/300,000).
A Fine and Rare George II Mahogany and Walnut Collectors Cabinet on Chest incorporating 17th / 18th century Florentine pietre dure, pietra albarese and pietra paesina panels to the drawer fronts, circa 1750, will also be included (est. $200/300,000).
Two Pairs of George III Gilt Carton-Pierre Two-Light Girandoles, 1760, (est. $80/120,000 each) from Mrs. Kluges dining room are a rare example of a medium which, owing to its fragile nature, has rarely survived, particularly in objects of this size.
A Set of Nine Chinese Wallpaper Panels within 18th Century Painted and Parcel-Gilt Papier-Mâché Frames from Stoneleigh Abbey, Berwickshire, circa 1765, will also be included (est. $80/120,000).
The sale will also include several works previously in the collection of Nancy Lancaster, Virginian tastemaker and owner of Sibyl Colefax & John
Fowler. Lancaster was a key proponent of the Englishcountry look as well as a popular hostess for Winston Churchill, Cecil Beaton, John Singer Sargent, and other notable names from the mid-twentieth century.
An Important Chinese Export Reverse-Painted Mirror Painting within a George III Carved and Giltwood Frame, from her Oxfordshire home, Ditchley Park, dated last quarter 18th century (est. $80/120,000), and a Regency Rosewood-Grained and Parcel-Gilt Gilt-Metal-Mounted Bonheur du Jour in the manner of John McLean (est. $30/50,000) will be offered.
Magnificent Jewels to be sold 20 April 2010
Seventeen stunning jewels from Mrs. Kluges collection will be included in Sothebys sale of Magnificent Jewels on 20 April in New York with a total value of $2.4/3.4 million. Highlights from this magnificent collection include a Platinum, Diamond and Sapphire Panthère Wristwatch, Cartier, 1984, with the watch dial hidden beneath the reclining panther (est. $100/150,000) and A Pair of Platinum and Diamond Pendant-Earclips Set Throughout with Pear-Shaped Diamonds (est. $600/800,000). Also featured is a Platinum and Diamond Ring set with a 20.15 carat pear-shaped Diamond (est. $150/200,000).
Albemarle House and Grounds
Conceived in 1981 and completed in 1985, Albemarle House epitomizes high-style country living in the tradition of the English country manor. With the help of one of the worlds most sought-after interior designers, David Easton, Mrs. Kluge scouredthe world to complete her vision, seeking out the best English furniture and decorations. The result is what has been called one of the ten most beautiful houses in America. Complete with a home theater, personal gym and sauna, Albemarle House mixes elegant grandeur with modern convenience. Mrs. Kluges estate also includes an orchard, a conservatory, a chapel, stables, and guest cottages.
Complementing the high-style of Albemarle House are its exquisitely manicured English gardens, designed by one of Britains most highly acclaimed landscape architects, George Carter, together with Lady Xa Tollemache. Speaking of Albemarle House, Mr. Carter commented, Albemarle House is one of those grand visions, in the spirit of the 18th century, where a great landscape and house have been created and an estate formed from scratch
Patricia Kluge is constantly open to new ideas, cultural influences and planting palettes, which, I think, take this garden beyond the regional context of Virginia and put it, in the realm of garden design, on a world stage.