The 10th floor gallery exhibition of the Property from the Estate of Brooke Astor at Sotheby's New York.


NEW YORK - After a weeklong blockbuster exhibition and an extraordinary two days of ardent bidding and media frenzy, the sale of furniture, decorative and fine arts, and jewelry from the Estate of Brooke Astor has come to a successful close. The lengthy 901-lot offering drew consistent interest, with almost all the pieces from this eclectic collection finding new homes with buyers. The estate represented a lifetime of adored objects, including 19th Century paintings, furniture, Chinese works of art, and jewelry.  But most importantly they spoke to the memory of one of the most beloved figures in New York society.

Sotheby’s clients responded to the eclectic and sophisticated array of fine and decorative arts with enthusiasm. A chic giltwood box from Mrs. Astor’s Manhattan sitting room demonstrated bidders’ keen interest in owning a piece of her celebrated taste, soaring above its $200-400 estimate to sell for $21,250. Interest from buyers drove lot after lot beyond anything that could have been expected.


Mrs. Astor's collection of dog paintings.

Fellow dog-lovers attended in abundance and their whimsy matched Mrs. Astor’s. I cannot remember an exhibition where more clients brought their dogs, and many clients tried to match their pet with one of the famous dog paintings that once hung on the walls of Mrs. Astor’s beloved stone manor Holly Hill.  Together the 73 dog paintings brought a grand total of $816,130, more than double their overall high estimate of $327,800.

The sale of Property from the Estate of Brooke Astor joins the ranks of iconic single-owner sales at Sotheby’s, speaking to buyers who wanted a part of history in the same way they responded to the estates of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Bill Blass, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The proceeds from the sale 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. How fitting that even after her passing, her life would influence so many people.  That may go a long way towards explaining the enthusiasm felt here at Sotheby’s by both our staff and clients over the past few weeks.