Sotheby’s is honored to present the Collection of Dr Martin S. Weseley, an esteemed surgeon and passionate art collector. Dr Weseley possessed an exacting eye, bringing surgical precision to the pursuit of collecting, acquiring important and often intricate examples of artistic masters.
Dr Weseley was born and raised in New York City, where he remained throughout his career which spanned over 50 years. Dr Weseley received his medical degree from New York Medical College and pioneered many arthroscopic surgery techniques still in use today. A lauded orthopedic surgeon, excellence and precision were his hallmarks—a theme explored throughout his collection.
Art was amongst Dr Weseley’s greatest pleasures: weekends were spent with his family at museums, galleries and the homes of artists and other collectors; frequent correspondence was exchanged with auction houses and trusted experts; and meaningful purchases were made starting as early as his collegiate years with a series of Boudin seascapes. His appreciation for art was deepened by his own ability to sketch detailed figures, create complex ship models and paint military figures.
In addition to his passion for art, Dr Weseley similarly appreciated military history and assembled an impressive group of soldier figurines, naval models and other military-inspired collectibles. As a result, his home was a delightful juxtaposition of Degas dancers, French landscapes, Cubist still lifes and curio cabinets full of military figures.
In his later years, Dr Weseley moved to Naples, Florida; the expansive blue of the Gulf of Mexico served as a remarkable backdrop for his diverse, yet interconnected, collection of paintings, drawings and sculpture.
Martin Weseley Remembered
"In the late 1960s, I was running the Old Master Paintings Department at what was then known as Sotheby’s Parke-Bernet, situated above Schrafft’s Restaurant and the then First National City Bank in the eponymous Parke-Bernet Building opposite the Carlyle Hotel on Madison Avenue. Having migrated from Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings Department in London, I was surprised that I was immediately put in charge of anything painted, drawn or sculpted anywhere in Europe before the beginning of Impressionism, including the entire British School, about which I knew next to nothing. Survival was achieved through the enthusiasm of a group of young collectors, of whom Martin and Susan Weseley were a leading component, who drifted through the Saturday exhibitions of my regular comprehensive sales of all things European, spanning some five hundred years. Martin was interested in everything – the ideal client. The Weseleys became good friends and even joined my family for a riotous party in our newly acquired, completely un-renovated, five-story townhouse in what was at the time the dangerous, pioneer district of Park Slope. All of this was over fifty years ago, but fondly remembered. And, yes, Martin had a remarkable eye for a broad range of works of art."
– Hugh Hildesley, Executive Vice President, Trusts & Estates
Highlights from the Collection
Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale
14 May New York
Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale
15 May New York
22 May New York
Old Master & British Works on Paper
July 2018 London
Saturday at Sotheby's: Asian Art
September 2018 New York
Old Master & 19th Century European Art Sale
January 2019 New York