The collection of Joan Oestreich Kend reflects a generations-long affinity for carefully curating beautiful works of art. Mrs. Kend, the most recent steward of this remarkable collection, carried on the tradition started by her parents of acquiring highly personal pieces, resulting in a familial collaboration which evinces a high level of taste and connoisseurship across a range of collecting categories, including Impressionist and Modern Art, Chinese Works of Art, and Americana.
Mrs. Kend’s parents, Charles and Sophy Oestreich, began collecting art in the early 1950s. Born in 1898 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Charles (“Charlie”) Oestreich was a first-generation American citizen whose parents had emigrated from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the United States. As a young man, he worked as a salesman for E. C. Carter & Son, a successful importer of French and Belgian lace founded after the American Civil War. (The third generation of the Carter family, Elliott Carter, Jr., became a legendary American composer who was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize.) Forced to diversify the business when the market for handmade lace curtains contracted, Elliot Carter, Sr., bought a perfume company and appointed Charlie as its manager. At this time perfume was a luxury enjoyed by only society’s wealthiest class and produced primarily by fashion houses.
During the late 1920s, Charlie expanded the newly acquired company to manufacture lotions, shampoos, and other cosmetics for sale to cost-conscious women, and renamed it The Lander Company. Known for his outsized personality, energy and entrepreneurial spirit, Charlie personally oversaw all aspects of the business, and introduced innovations in the marketing and design of its products. By the 1930s, Lander Company cosmetics had become a staple in “Five and Dime” chain stores across America. Following WWII, Charlie purchased the Carter family’s remaining interest in The Lander Company and became its sole owner.
In 1932, Charlie married Sophy Reis, also a first-generation American whose parents had emigrated from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A graduate of Hunter College, Sophy was a fashionable and sophisticated woman who spoke fluent French and loved art and poetry. Known as “Spo” to her friends and family, she introduced Charlie to the world of art collecting. After their marriage, Spo left work as a French teacher in Manhattan and moved with Charlie to Great Neck, New York, to raise a family. Both Charlie and Spo became leading philanthropists in their community. Among other notable positions, Charlie served as a Founding Trustee of North Shore University Hospital. The Hospital broke ground in 1953, thanks to the donation of 12 acres of land given by John Hay and Betsey Cushing Whitney who carved out the parcels from their “Greentree” estate in Manhasset.
Charlie and Spo became enthusiastic art collectors and delighted in traveling the world in search of unusual pieces. During a visit to Paris in the early 1960s, they saw Pablo Picasso’s Le painter et son modele on display at the Galerie Louise Leiris. Spo fell in love with the painting and urged Charlie to buy it. The painting was prominently displayed in the foyer of their Fifth Avenue apartment for many years.
Works such as Pablo Picasso’s Le peintre et son modele, one of the most vigorous undertakings of the artist’s late career, demonstrate an unabashed love of color. Other pieces in the family collection reflect this oeuvre including the enameled palette of an extremely rare pair of Famille-Rose porcelain figures of Buddhist lamas seated on Lotus bases from China’s Qianlong/Jiaqing period. The complex modeling of the Chinese figures also reflects an appreciation for three-dimensional form, a characteristic of the Oestreich collection further celebrated in the carefully curated group of sculptures by Auguste Rodin and Henri Laurens.
As a young girl growing up in Great Neck, Joan Oestreich Kend was surrounded by her parents’ collection of and appreciation for beautiful objects. A graduate of Northampton School for Girls, Joan attended Vassar College and graduated from Columbia University’s School of General Studies, eventually launching and sustaining a career in finance as one of the few female stockbrokers on Wall Street. Her life in New York City, where she was a member of the Harmonie Club, was centered around her Fifth Avenue apartment, where the majority of the Oestreich/Kend collection was beautifully displayed against stunning panoramic views of Central Park. On the weekends, she retreated to Millbrook, New York, where she owned a sprawling country estate and enjoyed her membership at the Mashomack Preserve Club.
Joan not only inherited works from her parents’ exquisite collection, she also inherited their passion for collecting and their appreciation for art in a variety of forms. Her collection of Americana, carefully acquired through respected dealers and auctions she attended personally, is a celebration of form and function, highlighted by vivid folk portraiture and dramatic, sculptural weathervanes.
Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale
New York | 14 November 2016
Viewing: 4 - 14 November 2016
Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale
New York | 15 November 2016
Viewing: 4 - 14 November 2016
New York | 8 December 2016
Viewing: 3 - 8 December 2016
New York | 9 December 2016
Viewing: 2 - 8 December 2016
Impressionist & Modern Art
New York | 16 December 2016
Viewing: 10 - 15 December 2016
Important Americana including Property from the Collection of Joan Oestreich Kend
New York | 20 - 21 January 2017
Master Paintings and Sculpture Day Sale
New York | 26 January 2017
Important Chinese Art
New York | March 2017
Saturday at Sotheby’s
New York | March 2017
New York | April 2017
African and Oceanic Art
New York | May 2017