The Dallas Estate of Ray and Clare Stern proved quite popular with Decorative Arts collectors from coast to coast, hammering at $177,995 - translating into a 100% sell-through rate - on June 1 as a highlight grouping in Heritage Auctions
' Signature(r) Decorative Arts & Design and Gentleman Collector Auctions at the company's Design District Annex in Dallas.
The top lot of the offering was a stunning French gilt wood and marble pier table with gilt bronze mounts, from an unknown Parisian maker, circa 1840, which realized $38,838. All prices quoted below include 19.5% Buyer's Premium.
"Collectors were obviously very enthusiastic about this estate," said Karen Rigdon, Consignment Director for Decorative Arts at Heritage. "Not only because it had the Stern name attached to it, but because of the exceptional quality of the material. The result was great excitement as buyers from all over the nation vied for these Texas-based treasures."
The other top highlights from the Estate of Ray and Clare Stern include a pair of monumental French Napoleon III style bronze, gilt bronze and marble figural 13-light Torcheres, which realized an impressive $29,875; a French gilt bronze and gilt wood cabinet and mirror with tortoiseshell and brass inlay that finished the day at $19,120 and a French Napoleon III carved gilt wood mirror that made a strong showing with an $11,353 final price realized.
Ray and Clare Stern were a longtime Dallas power couple. They arrived in Dallas in the late 1960s with an eye toward real estate development and quickly rose to the top of the Dallas social and business ladder. In 1972, Ray, a former wrestling champion, known as "Thunder," together with Clare, revolutionized Dallas' fitness industry, opening the Ray & Clare Stern Health Center, the city's first co-ed fitness club. It was not long before the couple widened their field even further, forming charter airline Worldwide Jet, playing off Ray's love of flying and fostering their mutual love of travel. Many of their projects are still notable today, including The Indigo Apartments (formerly Wedgwood Tower) and The Bonaventure Condominiums (formerly the Claremont).
"What unified this collection and galvanized collectors," said Rigdon, "was its grand scale, strong design, fine craftsmanship and a sense of romanticism, which both Ray and Clare saw personified most in French traditional design."
Further highlights include, but are not limited to:
Chickering Reproducing Baby Grand Piano in Art Case: Boston, Massachusetts, circa 1930-1935 Marks: Cickering EST 1823 BOSTON U.S.A., Pat Oct. 9, 1917, Dec. 20, 1921, #149341. Realized: $10,755.
French Louis XV Style Kingwood Bureau Plat and Associated Chair with Gilt Bronze Mounts: Unknown maker, Paris, France, circa 1900. Marks to lock plate: BAYLE & PIERRE, 58 R. TROUSSEAU, PARIS. Realized: $10,158.
French Napoleon III Style Gilt Wood Mirror: Unknown maker, probably Paris, circa 1900. Realized: $7,170.
Pair of French Napoleon III Style Marble and Gilt Bronze Nine-light Candelabra: Unknown maker, probably Paris, late 20th century Marks: BARBADIEMME PARIS. Realized: $7,170.
French Marble and Gilt Bronze Columnar Pedestal: Unknown maker, probably Paris, circa 1920. Unmarked. Realized: $5,975.
French Baroque Style Gilt and Painted Wood Mirror: Unknown maker, probably Paris, circa 1880-1900. Unmarked. Realized: $5,378.