Christie's offers The Collection of Mr. & Mrs. John H. Gutfreund 834 Fifth Avenue

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Christie's offers The Collection of Mr. & Mrs. John H. Gutfreund 834 Fifth Avenue
A Late Louis XV Ormolu-mounted Amaranth and Tulipwood Bureau Plat 'A La Grecque' by Philippe-Claude Montigny, circa 1770. Estimate: USD 70,000 - USD 100,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s announces The Collection of Mr. & Mrs. John H. Gutfreund 834 Fifth Avenue, an unparalleled collection of fine and decorative art, jewels and books to be offered across live and online sales in January 2021. John and Susan Gutfreund’s spectacular apartment in the Rosario Candela designed building at 834 Fifth Avenue was a legendary New York interior, as memorable for the captivating way each room was mise en scène as for its superb works of art. Working initially in collaboration with the celebrated French designer Henri Samuel the apartment was transformed by Susan Gutfreund into a dazzling setting for entertaining. The resulting tour de force was a breathtaking enfilade of rooms including the now iconic Winter Garden salon where objects with prolific histories, incomparable provenances and refined and individual taste all intermingled.

The Collection of Mr. & Mrs. John H. Gutfreund 834 Fifth Avenue will encompass important English and French furniture, Russian works of art, silver, porcelain, Old Master paintings, Chinese ceramics and works of art, carpets, and textiles which will be auctioned in a two-day live auction on 26-27 January. Three online sales from 14–28/29 January will be thematically organized into the Art of Entertainment; Books and bindings; and a collection of runway jewels from the House of Chanel.

Will Strafford, Senior International Specialist, European Furniture & Decorative Arts, comments, “It is one of the most iconic interiors in New York with each room creating its own individual visual statement, form the classical solemnity of the entrance hall to the magnificent sweep of the salon and of course the entrancing and unique Winter Garden, reflecting the inspired creative vision of the Gutfreunds in partnership with Henri Samuel’s legendary eye. It is so rare for interiors like this to have remained intact, giving a unique opportunity for today’s collectors.”


The Collection of Mr. & Mrs. John H. Gutfreund 834 Fifth Avenue
LIVE SALE | January 26-27

The Gutfreunds came to prominence in the 1980s with John (1929-2016) holding the position of chairman and executive of the investment firm Salomon Brothers. Susan Penn Gutfreund, who married Mr. Gutfreund in 1981 is known for her encyclopedic knowledge of the decorative arts, and of the French art-de vivre.

One of the most famous rooms in America in the last half-century is the much-photographed Winter Garden, decorated in lettuce green it conjured a conservatory and acted as the ante chamber to the dining room, often used for dinners and philanthropic events. The auction is highlighted by works from the Winter Garden which have distinguished provenance such as a Table aux torsades-modèle carré by Diego Giacometti which was acquired directly from Henri Samuel (estimate: $80,000-120,000) and an Austrian ormolu and cut-glass twelve-light chandelier acquired privately from Jayne Wrightsman (estimate: $40,000-60,000).

The Dining Room is highlighted by an exciting discovery, an Adam-inspired neo-classical dining room suite by the Georgian cabinet-makers Ince and Mayhew, traced by Christie’s specialist Charlie Cator to its original commission for Sir Cecil Bishopp at Parham Park, for which the original bills survive. The suite stayed in the family until being sold at Christie’s in 1966 and was subsequently also in the collection of Jayne Wrightsman (sold in three lots, estimates $80,000-120,00; $30,000-50,000 and $8,000-12,000)

From the salon alcove is a massive Louis XVI grey-painted canape by Jean-Baptiste Lelarge, circa 1770, which is another work with a storied provenance having formerly been in the collection of Vicomtesse Dale de Bonchamps, at 42 Avenue Foch, Paris, and then Hubert de Givenchy, who was the Gutfreund’s friend and neighbor at their Paris apartment. The sale offers several six works with provenance from Hubert de Givenchy.

Other English neoclassical works in the sale are highlighted by an important George III Moorfields carpet designed by Robert Adam, circa 1770, previously in the collection of the Earls of Shrewsbury at Ingestre Hall (estimate: $100,000-150,000) and a pair of George III silver-gilt two-light candelabra and a pair of matching candlesticks (estimate: $100,000-150,000). Objects that showcase Mrs. Gutfreund’s adventurous style and the influence of her travels include a pair of Italian (Trapani) gilt-copper and coral mounted pricket sticks circa 1720 (estimate: $60,000-100,000), and a set of four Russian parcel-gilt and bronzed mahogany bergeres (estimate: $40,000-60,000), and a pair of Russian hardstone tazze in kalkan jasper and rhodonite (estimate $60,000-90,000).

Additional top lots include Jan Massys’ Mary Magdalene, 1571 (estimate: $120,000-180,000), an extensive Royal Copenhagen porcelain 'Flora Danica' part dinner service (estimate: $150,000-200,000), and a late Louis XV ormolu-mounted amaranth and tulipwood bureau plat 'a la Grecque' by Philippe-Claude Montigny, circa 1770 (estimate: $70,000-100,000).

A selection of important books are included in the live sale including the famous treatise on the insects of Surinam by the naturalist-artist Maria Sibylla Merian, interleaved with a manuscript translation by writing master William Chinnery (estimate: $80,000-120,000). Many books in the sale have distinguished royal and aristocratic provenance, including a group from the library of Madame de Pompadour, while Susan Gutfreund’s deep interest in the decorative arts is reflected by the fact that the collection includes all the classic 18th century furniture pattern books, notably Thomas Chippendale’s The Gentleman’s and Cabinet-Maker’s Director of 1762 and Thomas Sheraton’s The Cabinet-Maker’s and Upholsterer’s Drawing-Book of 1793.


The Art of Entertaining: The Collection of Mr. & Mrs. John H. Gutfreund 834 Fifth Avenue
ONLINE | January 14-28

Reflecting the Gutfreund’s exceptional gifts as hosts The Art of Entertaining: The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John Gutfreund 834 Fifth Avenue, which will run concurrently to the live auctions from 14-28 January, is dedicated the concept of art de vivre. The extensive domestic offices at 834 included a large butler’s pantry and silver vault brimming with porcelain, silver and table decorations. The sale also emphasizes the concentration on the comfort of guests with the contents of the guest’s quarters including furniture and lighting.

Selections from The Library of Mr. And Mrs. John H. Gutfreund 834 Fifth Avenue
ONLINE | January 14-29

Selections from the Library of Mr. & Mrs. John H. Gutfreund from 834 Fifth Avenue celebrates the beauty of the book arts, featuring many fine French, Russian, and English bindings; notable presentation copies; and noble associations. The collection is dominated by festival books documenting the luxury of Versailles; herbals and botanicals whose fine engravings and lithographs capture the riches of the natural world; and copious curiosities of ornament, architecture, art, and design. Highlights include the monumental Description du Sacre et du Couronnement de leurs Majestes Imperiales l'Empereur Alexandre II et l'Imperatrice Marie Alexandrovna, depicting the sumptuous coronation of Czar Alexander II; Fontana's Templum Vaticanum in a green morocco presentation binding for Czar Paul I; and a host of other treasures.

Susan and Karl: Important Chanel Fashion Jewelry from The Collection of Mrs. John H. Gutfreund
ONLINE | January 14-29

Mrs. Gutfreund’s deep appreciation of French culture extended to a love of couture and in particular designs from the house of Chanel. Susan Gutfreund was a friend to many of the most celebrated couturiers. She shared a close friendship with renowned designer Karl Lagerfeld from whom came an incredible selection of costume jewelry made for the Chanel runway. Intricately designed and incredibly rare, these unique jewels are pieces of fashion history created as part of a vision for Lagerfeld’s iconic years at the helm of Chanel. Many of these pieces are prototypes, never before offered for sale or seen by the public. The striking, storied jewels of Mrs. Gutfreund reflect her cultured taste and trained eye.

French Heritage Society, in collaboration with Christie’s Education, will offer a complimentary online conversation discussing the interiors of the Gutfreund apartment on the decorative arts entitled HAUTE HOMES on 21 January 2021.

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