Press Release

Sotheby's to Present / A Vision: Property from the Collection of Michelle Smith

New York
Two Dedicated Auctions Presenting 400 Lots Spanning Design, Fine Art, Jewelry and More from the Lauded Washington D.C. Based Philanthropist & Art Patron

Dedicated Live Auction in New York on 22 April with Concurrent Online Sale Open for Bidding from 16 - 27 April

Sotheby’s is honored to announce that we will present A Vision: Property from the Collection of Michelle Smith across two dedicated auctions this April in New York. Spanning 20th and 21st century design, fine art, jewelry, and handbags, the Michelle Smith collection is a testament to a passionate collector whose commitment to excellence resounded through every area of her life, and whose utmost standards and impeccable taste is reflected in the superior quality across categories in the collection.

An outstanding selection of works from the Smith collection will be presented in a live auction on 22 April at Sotheby’s in New York, led by exquisite design by some of the most renowned artists of the 20th century, with quintessential works by François-Xavier and Claude Lalanne, Alberto and Diego Giacometti, Jean-Michel Frank, Pierre Chareau, Eugène Printz, Jean Besnard, Lucie Rie and Tiffany Studios among others. Additional highlights from the live sale include the largest private collection of Hemmerle jewelry to appear at auction, and a strong ensemble of fine art anchored by contemporary works by Antony Gormley, Edmund de Waal and Alexander Calder. Alongside the live auction, an online sale of jewelry, design and an impressive ensemble of Hermès handbags will be open for bidding from 16-27 April.

The daughter of the late renowned businessman, real estate developer and philanthropist Robert H. Smith – who developed large swaths of the Crystal City neighborhood just outside of Washington, D.C. – and artist Clarice Smith, Michelle Smith was a trailblazing businesswoman, arts patron and philanthropist in her own right. Among the institutions and organizations that she supported are the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies, the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institute, the Aspen Institute, the New York Historical Society, the University of Maryland, and many others. While continuing to build upon her father’s legacy, she ultimately served as vice president of product design and development for Charles E. Smith Residential Realty and its publicly traded successor, Archstone-Smith, and became one of the D.C. area’s most respected figures, known for her generous spirit, exacting eye and fierce dedication to championing myriad artistic, cultural and health organizations, as well as educational institutions. In addition to her business career and philanthropic endeavors, Michelle brought to life her passion for art, architecture and design in her stunning penthouse apartment at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, where true to her background in real estate and visionary spirit, she undertook a multi-year development in transforming two separate and raw living spaces into the impeccably appointed home that showcased the breadth of her collection.

Lisa Dennison, Sotheby’s Chairman, Americas, commented: “Michelle Smith was an exceptionally kind and generous person, whose reputation in Washington D.C. and beyond preceded her. She defined what it means to be a collector. Her discerning vision, flawless taste, and quest for perfection led her to fashion a true gesamtkunstwerk in her Georgetown home, where art, architecture and design was integrated into a harmonious ensemble. Her appreciation of form, texture, and material carries throughout the collection from jewelry and handbags to fine arts and design objects. Her passion as a collector was only further reinforced by her legacy and longtime commitment as an arts patron and philanthropist, supporting numerous causes in the D.C. area and elsewhere to ensure their preservation.”

The collection will be presented in a live auction on 22 April in New York, with a concurrent online sale open for bidding from 16 - 27 April on Works from the collection will travel to Sotheby’s Paris from 11 - 15 March, before returning to New York for exhibition in our York Avenue galleries beginning 16 April.


Derek Parsons |
Alexandra Fizer |

About Sotheby’s
Established in 1744, Sotheby’s is the world’s premier destination for art and luxury. Sotheby’s promotes access, connoisseurship and preservation of fine art and rare objects through auctions and buy-now channels including private sales, e-commerce and retail. Our trusted global marketplace is supported by an industry-leading technology platform and a network of specialists spanning 40 countries and 50 categories, which include Contemporary Art, Modern and Impressionist Art, Old Masters, Chinese Works of Art, Jewelry, Watches, Wine and Spirits, and Interiors, among many others.

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