S otheby’s is honoured to present A Celebration of Art Deco: Masterworks from the Collection of Dr. Stephen E. Kelly. The collection is, at its essence, a true celebration of the modernity, sophistication, richness, and aesthetic innovation of the artistic movement that defined the first half of the 20th Century. The impeccable quality of the collection is owed to the unbridled passion and unparalleled connoisseurship of its architect, Dr. Stephen E. Kelly. Over the course of his decades-long career as a leading ophthalmologist on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Dr. Kelly’s love of Art Deco flourished as he sought the highest quality works by such masters as Eileen Gray, Jean Goulden, Armand-Albert Rateau, Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann, and Jean Dunand, among others. His passion for the material suffused his life and, after retiring from his medical profession, translated into his second career as a gallerist. Beyond his success both in medicine and art, Dr. Kelly was known by all as the consummate gentleman, a philanthropist, and a true and spirited admirer of the arts. His collection celebrates both the very best of Art Deco and the story of a quintessential collector who pursued his life-long passion with great vigor, exacting standards, and integrity. A Celebration of Art Deco: Masterworks from the Collection of Dr. Stephen E. Kelly will be presented across two auctions on December 9 and 10.
- John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
- Andy Warhol
- Jacques Doucet
- Barbra Streisand
- Karl Lagerfeld
- Steven Greenberg
John D. Rockefeller, Jr.Financier and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874-1960) had a long-standing affinity for medieval and modern art and contributed to shaping such New York institutions as the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His eclectic collection comprised this pair of stoneware jars produced by the Sѐvres Manufacture, which he purchased at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Moderne in Paris.
Andy WarholThough he is best known for his seminal artwork of the post-war era, Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was an avid collector of decorative arts from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods. His collection sold at Sotheby’s New York in 1988 included this splendid footed vase, a superlative example of Jean Dunand’s masterful practice as a lacqueror.
Jacques DoucetJacques Doucet (1853-1929) was a celebrated Parisian couturier as well as a prominent art and design patron, working with avant-garde artists such as Marcel Coard, Pierre Legrain and Gustave Miklos. The present coupe, an exceptionally rare piece made in blue agate, was part of Doucet’s legendary collection.
Barbra StreisandBarbra Streisand’s passion for Art Deco is well documented. She started collecting in the 1960s and became a fine connoisseur of exceptional pieces from the period. The present table clock by Albert Cheuret is a particularly rare and refined model once held in her prized collection.
Karl LagerfeldA spirited collector with a particular interest in the decorative arts of the 20th Century, Karl Lagerfeld successively amassed and dispersed multiple collections over the years. His Art Deco collection, sold at Sotheby’s Paris in 2003, included masterworks such as this pair of Jean Mayodon candlesticks.
Steven GreenbergSteven Greenberg was a true connoisseur who created a superb collection celebrating both the sophisticated style and the meticulous craftsmanship of great French Art Deco. He was particularly passionate about the enamelled metalwork of Jean Goulden, of which the present vase is a prime example.
Art Deco is not limited to design that furnishes your home — you can wear it, carry it in your pocket, and dine with it. See how a connoisseur brings the sophistication of the Art Deco style to all parts of life with the exciting sale, Linked In — Vintage Accessories for the Modern Man: The Collection of Dr. Stephen E. Kelly.
Dr. Kelly is an alumnus of the esteemed Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. The education and experience he received there launched an incredibly successful career in which he established himself as a pioneer in the field of ophthalmology and was a mainstay on the New York Times Magazine’s “Super Doctors” list, among many other accolades. His medical training also brought him to Manhattan, which was a defining move on both a professional and personal level as he created a life in the epicenter of the Art Deco movement in the United States. A man of art and science equally, Dr. Kelly’s multi-faceted legacy is encapsulated by his instruction for all proceeds of the sale of his beloved art collection to benefit the Washington University School of Medicine.
“Per Veritatem Vis (Strength Through Truth)”