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Six centuries of furniture & decorative arts offered at Sotheby's New York
A Chinese Export Porcelain 'Hong' Punch Bowl, circa 1785. Estimate $70/100,000. Courtesy Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s present their autumn auctions of furniture and decorative arts in New York. Offering more than 900 lots, the trilogy of sales celebrate the art of collecting through a captivating array of objects, spanning from the 16th Century through to today. The October auctions are bookended by two dedicated sales: Gallison Hall: The James F. Scott Collection, a tribute to both the classic Virginia taste of this historic Charlottesville residence and the passionate collecting habits of its late owner, James F. Scott; and L’Art de Vivre: Property from the Collection of Kathleen and Martin Field, who together amassed an exceptional collection of French furniture, housed in their lavish Philadelphia residence.

All of the works from the three sales will be on view beginning tomorrow, 10 October in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries, alongside the exhibitions of Fine Jewels and Prints & Multiples.

Auction 15 October at 10:00AM

Located on the edge of the historic university town of Charlottesville, Virginia, Gallison Hall was built in 1931-33 – one of the last great Georgian Revival estates completed before World War II. Adjacent to Farmington Country Club, with its clubhouse incorporating a wing designed by Thomas Jefferson, Gallison Hall’s situation and conception is reminiscent of another great Jefferson edifice near Charlottesville: his own house Monticello. Both properties sharing panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west.

It was Julio Suarez-Galban, scion of a wealthy Spanish-Cuban banking family and professor of modern languages at the University of Virginia, who commissioned the Lynchburg-based classical architect Stanhope Johnson (1882-1973) to design Gallison Hall, set in 44 acres of parkland, with gardens laid out in the English style by the landscape architect Charles F. Gillette (1886-1969). The house remained with the family until in 1983, and in 1990 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

James Francis Scott (1936-2017) acquired Gallison Hall in 1992. A self-made man, James founded a successful energy company, which allowed him to pursue a lifelong passion for history and collecting. He had a keen interest in historic houses which served him well in fitting out period properties in Washington and his beloved Virginia.

Gallison Hall was initially furnished in collaboration with the New York designer Mark Hampton, and like all true collectors, Mr. Scott never ceased making new acquisitions to add to his interiors. He was a regular participant in New York and London auctions, meticulously recording all his purchases by saving the original sales catalogues annotated with his notes and prices. His taste was rooted in classic Virginia style mixing English furniture, silver and Chinese Export porcelain, but was extremely wide-ranging, encompassing categories as varied as 19th century and Impressionist French painting, Tiffany lamps, bamboo furniture, classic cars and vintage tennis rackets, to name but a few. The result was a house of elegance, warmth and indelible charm suffused with the individual personality of its owner.

Auction 18 October at 10:00AM & 2:00PM

The Collections & Curiosities sale – the fall Decorative Arts offering – presents pieces from the magnificent to the whimsical: a monumental centerpiece by Paul Storr displays the power and grandeur of Regency England, while a tureen stand from the famous Meissen “Swan Service” showcases the elegance of the German Rococo. An oil lamp by Luigi Valadier, the foremost silversmith of 18th-century Rome, relates to a drawing from his workshop, and demonstrates the quality that has earned Valadier an exhibition at The Frick Collection, opening this month.

On the lighter side are a group of Buccellati silver animals, including a lobster, crab, stork, and a pair of fox-form wine coolers. A fun Georgian soup tureen has a beer-barrel finial, while a pair of candelabra made from horse’s hoofs and an unusual cruet stand - formed as cats on garbage cans - offer character pieces to the collector. The quality and scale of the best 19th Century production is displayed in a large Napoleon III “regulateur de parquet” by Louis-Constantin Detouche, almost certainly shown in an 1862 fair, and a 36-inch Meissen vase painted with the Prussian Royal residence Schloss Kamenz.

Auction 20 October at 10:00AM

For nearly four decades, Philadelphia Francophiles Martin and Kathleen Field quietly but determinedly pursued their mutual passion for French decorative arts, ultimately assembling an exceptional collection of French furniture, housed in their Main Line residence. The couple relied on their combined exceptional taste to acquire the works, with Mrs. Field in particular, an accomplished painter and lover of French fashion, channeling her artistic talent into planning and designing every aspect of their home, including the smallest guest rooms and corridors. Both Martin and Kathy were longtime supporters of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, to which Kathy donated a number of her Paris couture ensembles dating from 1965 to 2012.

While opulent, the Fields’ vision was never intended to be a mere museum display. On the contrary, the couple delighted in generously sharing their Philadelphia art de vivre with those around them, regularly entertaining family and friends in the warm interiors enlivened by fresh flowers from the property’s own garden. The 18th-century objects formed an essential backdrop to their daily activities and were meant to be cherished and used. In essence, the Field Collection emphatically demonstrates that the French art of living, rather than being restricted to any one particular group, time or place, is perpetually open to all who seek to embrace it.

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