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Fine French furniture collections to be featured at Bonhams New York
A pair of Louis XV gilt bronze mounted tulipwood and amaranth marquetry encoignures. Pierre Bernard, circa 1755. Each stamped P. BERNARD / EBENISTE with three fleurs-de-lys, the shaped Levanto rouge marble top over two cupboard doors en arbalète, each inlaid with a floral vase on a console d'applique and framed with scrolling foliate gilt bronze mounts, the feet with cloven hoof sabots, the later chutes stamped C. P. Height 35in (89cm); width 29in (73.5cm); depth 20in (51cm). Est. US$40,000-60,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- Two extraordinary private collections of primarily 19th century French furniture will fill Bonhams New York galleries for their upcoming January 24 sale of Fine American & European Furniture, Silver & Decorative Arts. Accompanied by fine Americana, impressive clocks, and an elegant and international selection of silver, it promises to be a truly memorable sale and a unique opportunity for connoisseurs.

“The two collections featured in the 19th Century Continental Furniture section of this sale are among the finest I have seen in my career,” says Karl Green, the Director of Furniture & Decorative Arts for Bonhams in New York. “They include examples of excellent quality, in pristine condition: a sort of ‘greatest hits’ of the most successful models of the late 19th century.”

Bonhams will offer property from the Jerome Dalseme Family Trust, as well as the estates of Milton and Marilyn Myers. The collectors represent the height of discernment and dedication to excellence in European furniture and decorative arts. The gilt-bronze mounts and cabinets on offer are particularly remarkable, as evidenced by a satinwood vitrine cabinet by François Linke (est. $35,000 – 50,000). Linke, one of the greatest cabinetmakers of the late 19th and early 20th century, suavely combined the lush exuberance of Rococo ornament with the strict Neoclassicism of the Louis XVI style in this stunning creation.

A pair of mid-18th century Louis XV gilt bronze mounted tulipwood and amaranth marquetry encoignures (est. $40,000-60,000) is interesting not only for its craftsmanship but also for its esteemed provenance. Made by Pierre Bernard, the cabinet maker to the King and Royal Court, the pair was part of Wallis Simpson’s lavish furnishings at the Chateau de la Croë, her residence with the Duke of Windsor on the French Riviera (the estate was later owned by Stavros Niarchos, and then by Roman Abramovich).

Although the European offerings are truly sumptuous, the sale’s phenomenal cover lot comes from the Americana section. Attributed to the shop of Aaron Chapin, from East Windsor, Conn., the late 18th century Chippendale cherrywood reverse-serpentine chest-on-chest belonged to the prominent Cheney family (est. $100,000 - $150,000). It remained in the family until the 1960s and has never been at auction before. A tour de force of Hartford County cabinetmaking, the chest-on-chest survives with its distinctive finial.

A fantastic horse and sulky weathervane, attributed to A.L. Jewell, is a masterpiece of the form and leads the folk art section (est. $25,000-35,000). Demonstrating a unique “open-inseam” construction, it is in exceptional condition and is accompanied by letters from weathervane and folk art dealers.

“The Americana featured in this sale is a small but choice grouping, focused on provenance, rarity and condition. All major centers of furniture production are represented, as well as stylistic periods ranging from Queen Anne to the Aesthetic Movement. I continue to seek out pieces that stand out and that will appeal to collectors and buyers across a wide spectrum.” explained Bonhams American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts specialist Madelia Hickman Ring.

Rounding out the sale is an exceptional offering of silver, from diverse locations including Russia, Peru, Mexico, Germany, America, England, Denmark and France. Victoria Ayers, Bonhams Senior Specialist in Silver, Porcelain & Decorative Arts appreciates silver’s effortless embodiment of both function and style. “Silver is a statement. It has intrinsic value. But it is also a sensible medium that rewards collectors who put the pieces to use.”

Ayer’s favorite piece in the sale is an American sterling silver two-handled "Four-in-Hand" trophy by Whiting Mfg. Co., circa 1886 (est. $4,000-6,000). The unusual, acid-etched trophy was presented to Mr. Pierre Lorillard, a pre-eminent sportsman and society figure in New York and Newport, RI. With its sensitive line work and beautiful chased scrolling husks, the piece is one of several excellent American silver examples in the sale, produced during a period when American makers were in strong competition with one another. The result? Gorgeous examples, of the highest technical precision, with inherent historic and cultural value.

The Fine American & European Furniture, Silver & Decorative Arts auction will take place at Bonhams New York on January 24. The auction will preview at Bonhams from January 19 to January 23.

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