ST. PETERSBURG, FLA.- Myers Auction Gallery
presents European and Asian Antiques and Fine Art auction on Sunday, March 8th. The auction features items from the historic Borghese Palace sale of 1892 onsite at what is now the Villa and Galleria Borghese in Rome, Italy. Prince Paolo Borghese, 9th Prince of Sulmona (1845-1920), was forced to sell the contents of the Borghese Palace apartment and Bibliotheque including the grounds and property to the state due to the financial crash of the Bank of Italy in 1891. The 1892 auction was attended by many gilded age American industrialists including billionaire William Waldorf Astor and the Rockefellers. Also among the attendees was American Bradford deWolfe who purchased several paintings and rare vellum books. These items were later passed down through generations of deWolfe family members and are being offered for sale for the first time since the 1892 auction.
Italian Cardinal Scipione Borghese (1577-1633), was an ambitious patron of the arts who assembled an impressive collection of ancient statuary at his suburban villa (now the Galleria Borghese in Rome). In 1808, Prince Camillo Borghese, 6th Prince of Sulmona (1775-1832) who was married to Pauline Bonaparte in 1803, was forced to sell many of the Roman sculptures and antiquities to Emperor Napoleon. A great majority of the statues from the Borghese collection are now at the Louvre museum. The famous Venus Victrix marble statue of Pauline still remains on view at the Galleria Borghese. It is rare today to find items from the historic Borghese collection outside of museums. Myers Auction Gallery will be offering the aforementioned paintings and rare books acquired directly by Bradford deWolfe some 123 years ago.
Mr. deWolfes collection was later inherited by Dorothy 'Doda' deWolf of Washington, DC. She was born Princess Dorota Drucka Lubecka, the daughter of Countess Hegwige Opersdorff and Prince Francis Xavier Drucki Lubecki, a member of one of the oldest princely families of Europe. When the family's ancestral estate in Baltow, Poland was occupied by the Nazis at the beginning of World War II and later taken by the Russians, they fled to Paris, and in 1952, emigrated to the United States. Princess Dorota, known simply as 'Doda,' found employment in Wisconsin as an au pair, and later moved to Washington, DC where she worked for Elizabeth Arden. She eventually embarked on a very successful, 30-year real estate career at Begg - now Long & Foster - winning numerous awards in her field, as well as remaining very active in Polish affairs, including spearheading a Polish Cultural Center in Washington.
In 1960, Doda married Francis Colt deWolf, Jr., known as 'Colt,' and for 34 years, Doda and Colt deWolf were a prominent couple in Washington Society, known for their constant hospitality and infectious vitality. Colt was a direct descendent of Chris Colt, a wealthy textile industrialist whose brother, Sam Colt, invented the Colt 45 revolver. Chris Colt's grandson, Bradford deWolf, was a purchaser at the great sales of the contents of the Borghese Palace, which took place in Italy in the 1890s. The property that Bradford deWolf purchased from the Borghese Palace passed down to his son, Francis Colt deWolf, I, who came to Washington in 1922 to work for the State Department as one of the first heads of the newly created Communications Department. The deWolfs, with their impressive Borghese furniture, moved into the largest private residence in Georgetown, the Bodisco House. Colt and Doda deWolf inherited these historic objects.