Sotheby’s 20 Best Summer Soirées, From Aspen to Dubai

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This summer, Sotheby’s global locations embraced the worlds of fashion, music and technology like never before. Renowned photographers Erik Madigan Heck and Mario Testino were celebrated in London and LA, while Sotheby’s New York stepped into the future with its Art of VR conference and integration of Samsung’s latest smart TV, The Frame. Guests enjoyed behind-the-scenes tours of artist studios, private opera performances, scenic test-drives and glamorous dinners and parties, which raised hundreds of thousands for La Mer’s Blue Heart Oceans Fund, the Aspen Art Museum and more. As September approaches, click ahead for Sotheby’s salute to its most memorable summer events. –Stephanie Sporn 

Sotheby’s 20 Best Summer Soirées, From Aspen to Dubai

  • Photograph by Molly SJ Lowe
    The White Baaz & the Venice Biennale
    Sotheby's ushered in the 57th Venice Biennale in magnificent style at the Gritti Palace this May. To celebrate Sotheby's Diamonds and the Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva, a special inaugural dinner and party were held for the White Baaz , a group of the world’s most glamorous and influential women who all embody that certain quality that Truman Capote captured when he first identified his Swans. Among the Baaz in attendance were Contessa Isabella Borromeo-Arese-Taverna, Margherita Missoni and Bianca and Coco Brandolini D'Adda. 

  • Ten Years of Sotheby’s Moscow
    To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Sotheby’s office in Moscow, a dinner was held in May at the city’s beautiful Pashkov House. Hosted by Sotheby’s Helena Newman, Irina Stepanova and Lord Poltimore, the event included a four-course dinner with musical accompaniment from a string quartet and a traditional folk band. Works from upcoming auctions in London and Paris were on view, along with nearly 40 works bought from Sotheby’s over the past ten years that are now in private Russian collections. 

  • Guest speaker Grayson Perry
    Celebrating the Summer Season at Sotheby’s London
    The brief window of British summertime has become synonymous with the social season that gloriously unfolds in June and July through highly anticipated annual flower shows, music festivals and sporting occasions. Transformed for the summer season , Sotheby’s galleries at New Bond Street hosted a variety of exhibitions and talks. Marking the six-week period of excitement was an exclusive dinner where Japanese artist Azuma Makoto created a spectacular ice sculpture to be admired among Sotheby’s sale highlights. 

  • Photograph by Getty Images/Cindy Ord
    Cutting-Edge Fashion & Design at Saks Fifth Avenue
    On 1 June, Sotheby’s and Saks Fifth Avenue welcomed guests to a reception in celebration of The Advance, a section on the department store’s revamped fifth floor dedicated to visionary designers at the forefront of fashion. Sotheby's Wine provided summer whites and rosés, while garments by Rick Owens, Comme des Garçons, Rosie Assoulin and more were paired with furniture and decorative objects from Sotheby’s upcoming design sales in complementary vignettes.  

  • Jewellery, Watches and Music in Geneva
    Ahead of Sotheby’s May sales of Important Watches and Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Geneva, guests were invited to a weekend of events celebrating the new selling location. On view were Swiss art, timepieces and jewels, including ‘The Apollo and Artemis Diamonds,’ which went on to sell for $57.4 million/CHF 57.1 million, making them the most expensive pair of earrings ever sold at auction.  

  • Photograph by Helen Boast/Sotheby's
    Cecil Beaton Portraits in Dubai
    A series of May events celebrating the arrival of an exhibition of works by famed 20th-century photographer Cecil Beaton at Sotheby’s new office in Dubai kicked off with an evening of art and music, co-hosted by Harper’s Bazaar. Also coinciding with the Beaton exhibition was an event with Sheikha Manal’s cultural office where 30 children came to Sotheby’s Dubai and created collages in the style of the esteemed photographer. 

  • A Luxurious Summer Evening in Brussels
    On 31 May, thousands of guests attended the annual Crayer-Jordaens event at Sotheby's Brussels where highlights from upcoming sales in Paris and London were also on view. Classic cars and champagne bars were displayed in front of our building, creating a buzzing summer street party. 

  • Photograph by Lara Arnott/Sotheby’s
    A Fashionable London Affair
    This May, a fashionable crowd descended on Sotheby’s New Bond Street to view upcoming sale highlights, as well as photos from a selling exhibition of work by Erik Madigan Heck, the photographer who shot the debut campaign for Sotheby’s Diamonds. Guests, including David Furnish, Karen Elson, Mary Katrantzou and Roksanda Ilincic, were also treated to a dinner , co-hosted by Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief Justine Picardie and Brandei Estes, head of photographs at Sotheby’s. Lady Burlington also attended the event for a signing of her new book House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth.  

  • Photograph by Jesse Carmody
    Toasting Li Jin’s Selling Exhibition at Sotheby’s LA
    During spring 2017, artist Li Jin embarked on a whirlwind gustatory tour of the United States, from Las Vegas to New York. On 7 and 8 June, Sotheby’s celebrated the opening of the S|2 exhibition Li Jin: A Devout Foodist’s Journey to the West with an exclusive preview and dinner at Sotheby’s Los Angeles, held in partnership with Maserati. In keeping with the decadence that inspired the work on view, guests enjoyed a lobster banquet set amid lush tropical flowers.  

  • Photograph by Andrea Stanton
    Automobiles & Art with BMW
    On 9 June, Sotheby’s and BMW partnered for a unique event , bringing together world-class cars and important photography at Sotheby's International Realty home North Court, a spectacular estate in Greenwich, Connecticut. On the grounds of the 1906 English limestone and brick manor, guests experienced the ultimate driving machines, buckling in for test-drives of the BMW 5 Series, the 2017 7 Series, the 2017 X5 and the i8. 

  • Photograph by Charles Roussel/BFA.com
    Making Waves with La Mer & Project 0
    To benefit its Blue Heart Oceans Fund, which focuses on protecting marine habitats, luxury beauty brand La Mer teamed up with Project 0 for a public art venture called the La Mer Wave Walk. Fifty influential artists, models and creators designed wave-inspired sculptures that were installed around New York City during the months surrounding World Oceans Day, and on 21 June, a benefit party was held at Sotheby’s where ten of these artworks went under the hammer. Sotheby’s auctioneer Kevin Doyle helped drive the night’s total to nearly $200,000. 

  • The Art of Virtual Reality
    In partnership with the VR Society of Hollywood, Sotheby’ hosted an exclusive virtual reality conference called The Art of VR . The event was held on 22–23 June in conjunction with BUNKER , a pop-up exhibition of virtual, augmented and interactive artwork curated by Sotheby’s artist-in-residence Gabriel Barcia-Colombo. 

  • Celebrating Asian Art in Monaco
    This July Sotheby’s hosted a dinner at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco to celebrate the opening of The Forbidden City in Monaco, an exhibition celebrating the splendour of China’s last imperial dynasty. Guests were treated to drinks, dinner and live music, as well as a private tour of the exhibition. 

  • Photograph by Kate Cowdrey/Sotheby's
    Opera, Old Masters & Treasures in London
    On 4 July, Sotheby’s London invited guests to view works from the Old Masters and Treasures sales alongside spectacular floral displays by By Appointment Only Design. Artists from The Royal Opera gave an exclusive recital of arias by Catalani, Liszt and Puccini and Lord Astor attended the event to discuss the new book Villa Astor: Paradise Restored on the Amalfi Coast.  

  • Photograph by Julian Cassady
    Summer Jewels & Fashion at Moda Operandi
    On 11 July, Moda Operandi and Sotheby’s paired garments from Moda's exclusive boutique with gems from our Jewels Online: Part I sale. Guests were welcomed to Moda’s luxurious Upper East Side townhouse with cocktails, a trunk show of Marchesa’s Resort 2018 collection and an opportunity to try on more than half the glittering pieces from the online auction.  

  • Julian C Manuszewski
    Sotheby’s New York Open House with Samsung
    There was something for everyone at Sotheby’s on 13 July, when five floors of our New York headquarters were filled with a range of contemporary art, design and jewels as well as collectibles from our Space Exploration sale. Along with midcentury Eames chairs, Alvar Aalto lighting and prints by Warhol were Samsung “The Frame” smart televisions, which transform into lifelike artworks when not in entertainment mode. 

  • Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com
    Anderson Ranch’s Annual Recognition Dinner
    On 20 July, art-world luminaries gathered at Aspen’s historic Hotel Jerome to celebrate the 21st Annual Recognition Dinner and auction , led by Sotheby’s Andrea Fiuczynski, to benefit the Anderson Ranch Arts Center. This year’s dinner honoured artist Wangechi Mutu with the National Artist Award, Jan and Ronnie Greenberg with the Service to the Arts Award, and gallerist Ann Korologos with the Extraordinary Leadership Award. 

  • Photograph by Aria Isadora/BFA.com
    Sotheby’s in Aspen
    Between the annual WineCrush and ArtCrush events this August, Sotheby’s Tad Smith and Caroline Fitzgibbons, along with Domenico and Eleanore De Sole, welcomed guests to an expansive mountain home in Aspen for a festive dinner in celebration of the Aspen Art Museum. Since 2005, the world’s top collectors have attended ArtCrush, and this year’s celebration raised $2.8 million for the museum.

  • Photograph by Andre Ligeiro
    Behind the Scenes at the Campana Brothers’ São Paulo Studio
    On 8 August during São Paulo design week, Sotheby’s welcomed friends and clients to the studio of inventive Brazilian duo Fernando and Humberto Campana. Studio manager Ana Paula Moreno gave a tour of the colourful space, which hummed with activity in preparation for an upcoming exhibition of the brothers’ work at Friedman Benda gallery in New York. The tour was followed by a discussion-filled luncheon with Fernando Campana. 

  • Photograph by Sansho Scott/BFA.com
    Mario Testino’s Collection Tours to Sotheby’s Los Angeles
    On 15 August Sotheby’s Los Angeles celebrated the creative vision of Mario Testino with a private viewing of highlights from the legendary fashion photographer’s private collection. The show-stopping works by Richard Prince, Albert Oehlen, Marilyn Minter and more will continue to travel to Sotheby’s global locations ahead of the Shake It Up auction, which will benefit Lima’s Museo MATE, founded by Testino in 2012. 

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