All copies of the printed catalogue have been sold. To browse this sale, you may access the e-catalogue by clicking the link at left, or experience the iPad version by downloading the Sotheby’s Catalogue App in the iTunes Store.
A renowned philanthropist and tireless champion of the institutions of the city of New York, Brooke Astor was a legendary figure in New York society. Sotheby’s is privileged to offer the contents of two of Mrs. Astor’s residences – her legendary Park Avenue duplex apartment, with the iconic library designed by Albert Hadley, and her country estate Holly Hill. The collection reflects her life and passions: from Chinese lacquer furniture, clocks, mirror paintings and export porcelain that recall her early years in Asia, to the drawings and paintings of dogs – many depicting her own – that demonstrate her love for animals, to a coral and ruby lion brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels that evokes the iconography of The New York Public Library, an institution she supported for decades. The rooms and contents of both residences display a distinctive mix of comfort and refinement, and reveal a woman of elegance and grace who would come to embody New York society during her lifetime.
Town & Country’s Pamela Fiori shares precious memories of her encounters with Brooke Astor in a feature story in Sotheby's at Auction. Click here to read more.
Please note: Telephone bids for this sale will not be accepted for lots with low estimates of $5,000 or less.
Sotheby’s New York auction of Property from the Estate of Brooke Astor concluded on 25 September with an impressive total of $18,828,109, surpassing its high estimate of $9.7 million. A remarkable 95% of the 901-lot auction was sold, as buyer’s competed for paintings, drawings, Chinese works of art, furniture and decorative art from Mrs. Astor’s New York City and Westchester residences, as well as jewelry from her personal collection.
The sessions on Monday, 24 September, featured property from Mrs. Astor’s iconic duplex apartment in the Rosario Candela-designed building at Park Avenue and 73rd street. The day offered a wide array of fine and decorative art – evidence of Mrs. Astor’s many travels and diverse interests – with 19th century paintings, old master drawings, and Chinese works of art commanding top prices along with porcelain, silver, French and English furniture and more. A chic giltwood box from the apartment’s sitting room demonstrated bidders’ keen interest in owning a piece of Mrs. Astor’s celebrated taste, soaring above its $400 estimate to sell for $21,250. The sessions on 25 September began with property from Mrs. Astor’s beloved stone manor Holly Hill, set on more than 60 acres in Westchester County. Buyer’s competed fiercely for Chinese works of art and distinguished fine art, along with ceramics, furniture and more. Many pieces from Mrs. Astor’s famous collection of dog paintings were offered in this session – together the 73 lots brought a grand total of $816,130, more than double their overall high estimate of $327,800. The sale concluded with a selection of jewelry from Mrs. Astor’s personal collection, which featured many of the most coveted items in the auction. All of the 64 lots were sold, totaling an impressive $5.7 million – multiples above their $2 million high estimate – and with spirited bidding for beautiful signed jewels by Van Cleef & Arpels, Verdura, David Webb and more, as well as Mrs. Astor’s signature emerald and diamond pieces. Her stunning emerald engagement ring was the top lot of the group, selling for a remarkable $1,202,500.
The auction’s proceeds will benefit a number of charitable organizations selected by Mrs. Astor during her lifetime, including The New York Public Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Pierpont Morgan Library, and The Animal Medical Center of New York.