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Christie's presents a week-long series of auctions devoted to magnificent jewels, watches, wine and design
Highlighting this selection is A Unique and Important Console and Bas-Relief, 1939. Estimate: $800,000 - 1,200,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2012.

NEW YORK, NY.- For its final week of auctions in 2012, Christie’s New York announced Luxury Week, a bi-annual sales series devoted to Magnificent Jewels, Watches, Wine and 20th Century Design. With over 1,000 items offered across six distinct sales, December Luxury Week at Christie’s offers both new and established collectors an unrivaled opportunity to acquire items of extraordinary quality and variety. Following the success of Christie’s Luxury Week in June, which realized over $33 million, this expanded line-up of pre-holiday sales is expected to realize in excess of $50 million.

NEW YORK IMPORTANT JEWELS Viewing: December 7-9 Auction: December 10 at 10am and 2:30pm
Luxury Week begins Magnificent Jewels on Monday, December 10 featuring an exceedingly rare red diamond, a superb three-stone Colombian emerald ring, and a stunning 50-carat D color diamond ring by the celebrated jeweler Graff. Over 300 items of fine jewelry make up this blockbuster pre-holiday sale, with a large selection of colored and colorless diamonds, rare gemstones, natural pearls and exquisite signed jewels from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods. Estimates range from $500 up to several million dollars and the total sale, which is accessible for bidding in person, on the phone, online, or by absentee bid, is expected to realize in excess of $25 million.

Throughout the fall auction season, collector demand for top-quality diamonds has continued its upward trend. In response, Christie’s has assembled a superb selection of top-quality colored and colorless diamonds, led by a dazzling array of twelve D-color diamonds – the whitest shade possible. The star of the group is a stunning rectangular-cut, D-color, potentially internally flawless diamond ring of 50.01 carats. Offered for sale from an important private collection, the stone is mounted in a platinum setting designed by the celebrated jeweler Graff, with two baguette-cut diamonds flanking the center stone. This spectacular ring is estimated at $7-10 million.

THE STEVEN A GREENBERG COLLECTION: MASTERPIECES OF FRENCH ART DECO Viewing: December 8-12 Auction: December 12 at 6pm, December 13 at 10am
A major highlight of December Luxury Week is a dedicated two-part sale of The Steven A. Greenberg Collection, Masterpieces of French Art Deco to be auctioned in New York on December 12 and 13, in an evening and day sale. This museum-quality collection chronicles a unique chapter in the history of 20th Century design, focusing in depth on some of the most distinguished artists associated with the historic Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in 1925 – Jean Dunand, Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann, and Jean Dupas. Two important lacquer screens by Eileen Gray, perfect complements in their rarity and stature to the works of these artists, constitute another key facet of Steven Greenberg’s collection. With approximately 210 lots, the sale is expected to realize in excess of $15 million.

Leading the selection of works by the French ébéniste Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933) is a modernist desk which is a unique version of a model first shown by Ruhlmann in the Paris Salon des Artistes Décorateurs of 1929 (estimate: $2-3 million). The desk embodies the prevailing shift in sensibility as modernism suggested a new set of priorities to designers: lines became simpler, cleaner; decorative effects were reduced to the most minimal geometric elements, or shunned in favor of sleek surfaces; and there was a new focus on materials that spoke of a culture of industrialized, mechanized production, albeit here within a high luxury context. The centerpiece of the 1929 display, a fan-shaped desk of essentially the same design as the present example, was set in a lofty space before high curtains, a grandiose look that Steven Greenberg replicated in the décor of his New York office.

INTERIORS featuring PROPERTY TO BE SOLD TO BENEFIT THE BILLY & AUDREY L. WILDER FOUNDATION Viewing: December 8-12 Auction: December 11-12 at 10am & 2pm
Christie’s will feature Property to be Sold to Benefit the Billy & Audrey L. Wilder Foundation in its two-day Interiors Sale on December 11 and 12. As one of Hollywood’s most fabled directors, producers and writers, Billy Wilder’s credits include such storied films as Sunset Boulevard (1950), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Some like it Hot (1959), and The Apartment (1960). During his life, Billy Wilder and his wife Audrey amassed a collection of furniture and fine and decorative art of a caliber that rivals his exceptional professional achievements. This selection of more than 150 lots from their estate reflect the couple’s diverse collecting interests, including lithographs from Ellsworth Kelly, American silver, Chanel handbags, modern furniture and books, photographs and other assorted ephemera related to Mr. Wilder’s illustrious career. The collection is expected to realize in excess of $200,000, with lot estimates beginning at just $300, and proceeds to benefit the Billy & Audrey L. Wilder Foundation.

On December 14, Christie’s presents Important 20th Century Decorative Art & Design including Magnificent Tiffany. With over 140 lots, the sale is expected to generate in excess of $6 million, with works drawn from the Art Deco, Modernist and Contemporary movements. The sale includes several remarkable collections; among them is An Important Private Collection of Masterpieces by Alberto Giacometti for Jean-Michel Frank. Highlighting this selection is A Unique and Important Console and Bas-Relief, 1939 ($800,000 - 1,200,000). When positioned in the environment of Frank’s own creations, which were often sculpted from materials that included leather, marble, vellum, ivory, hammered iron or oak, Giacometti’s sculptures achieved the presence of mystical totems. Of rounded form, and each with massive shelf supported on vigorously-modeled serpentine uprights, this console, as with Giacometti’s sculptures, invokes an imagination stimulated by the relics of forgotten civilizations - Egyptian, Cycladic, Chaldean, or of ancient Etruscan or Roman coins.

Christie’s announces its Important Watches auction will feature an important single-owner collection: The Gordon Bethune Collection of Fifty Exceptional Wristwatches. This beautiful array of top-quality timepieces from renowned manufacturers such as Patek Philippe, Rolex, Vacheron Constantin, and Cartier was assembled with care and great connoisseurship over a number of years by Mr. Bethune, a noted watch collector and former chief executive officer of Continental Airlines. This exceptional collection, estimated at $3 million, will form the centerpiece of the day-long auction on December 14. The total sale of 348 lots is expected to achieve in excess of $7 million.

Among the many exceptional watches in the Bethune collection is a Patek Philippe Reference 1518, a rare 18K pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases manufactured in 1945 (estimate $600,000 - $900,000). This land-mark model was the first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch produced in a series by any watch manufacturer, and only 281 examples were made between 1941 and 1954. The vast majority were cased in yellow gold; only an elite few were ever created in the highly-coveted “pink on pink” version, with a pink gold case and rose colored dial. The upcoming sale marks the first time this watch has ever been offered at public auction, and is one of less than a dozen such “pink on pink” examples of the Reference 1518 seen in the last 30 years.

FINE AND RARE WINES Auction: December 15 at 10am
As a fitting finale to Luxury Week, Christie’s presents its final auction of the fall wine season on Saturday, December 15, giving collectors one last opportunity to stock the cellars prior to the holidays – or to replenish those bottles already shared with friends this festive season. The day-long auction of nearly 500 lots of Fine & Rare Wines starts off with deep selections Screaming Eagle, Harlan Estate and Dominus before moving into mature and recent vintages of top Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Rhône wines. Finely aged port and champagne – perfect for the holidays – round out the day's selections. Highlights include: 2 pristine assortment cases of DRC from the coveted 1990 vintage, bought on release (estimate: $35,000-50,000 each), a six-magnum case of 1994 Château Haut-Brion Blanc in the original wooden case (estimate: $3,500-5,500), and the full complement of E. Guigal’s “La Las”, aged and ready for drinking now (estimates range: $1,500-4,000).

Continuing its long tradition of Saturday wine sale brunches, Christie's welcomes bidders to partake in a holiday champagne brunch, with a full tasting table of great rarities drawn from the pristine private collection of one of the sale's consignors.

Christie's | Luxury Week | Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann |

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