This past week, I made the trek to Sotheby's, on the Upper East Side, to view the auction items for Brooke Astor. She was the ultimate New York philanthropist as marrying into the famous Astor family. She has been called New York City's fairy godmother.
She was born in 1902, married Vincent Astor in 1952, the son of John Jacob Astor IV who went down with the Titanic in 1912. After Vincent's death in 1959, Brooke became president of the Vincent Astor Foundation. From 1959 to 1997, Mrs. Astor gave away more than $195 million to libraries, museums, hospitals, homeless shelters and community programs throughout the city.
Sotheby's is auctioning off over 1,500 items in 900 lots. Proceeds will go to Mrs. Astor's favorite charities such as the All Saint's Episcopal Church in Briarcliff Manor and Trinity Church in Ossining and Historic Hudson River Valley. Brooke split her time between an apartment at 778 Park Aveneue and Holly Hill, her Briarcliff Manor estate.
The auction house showed you how Mrs. Astor used these items by re-creating the rooms in her homes which I thought was quite fabulous. She was a big lover of dogs, and the various paintings and objects devoted to them are many as you view the displays.
BETSY FLAGG MELCHER
1900 - 2000
PORTRAIT OF MRS. VINCENT ASTOR
Estimate: 400 - 600 USD
This painting was one of my favorites, called The Dog Show, by Vincent Viudes, estimate 2,000 to 3,000 USD.
A Louis XVI style cream and green painted lit a' la polonaise 20th century bed
Estimate 6,000-9,000 USD
There was a sign on the bed, no sitting allowed
I loved how everything looked very lived in. It looked very homey to me and I felt I could sit down in any one of the pieces of furniture and be quite comfortable.
This yellow painted four poster tester bedstead estimate is only 500-700 USD
CHARLES BASKERVILLE 1896-1994 PINK PEONIES IN MAY
A PAIR OF LOUIS XVI STYLE GRAY-PAINTED LITS À LA POLONAISE
20TH CENTURY Estimate: 4,000 - 6,000 USD
Mrs. Astor was an avid reader, and the many books here were just mind blowing
This had to be my favorite chair, as we have one in my home, but this is an original Louis XV Gray-Painted and Carved Fauteuils from the Mid 18th Century. Estimate for 4 of them is between 12,000 to 18,000 USD
In her later years, Brooke Astor was in the newspaper for sad reasons. Her only son, Anthony Marshall ,from a prior marriage, was convicted of fraud in 2009 and is currently free pending appeal. She was 105 years old when she passed away in 2007, and Mr. Marshall was convicted of fraud, embezzlement and the mistreatment of his mother. A great book about the Brooke Astor life is Mrs. Astor Regrets by Meryl Gordon. I had the pleasure of meeting Meryl at the Huguette Clark auction at Christie's and the book is quite a tale of a high society family.
Holly Hill Mansion
The catalog is actually sold out, but you can view all items online at Sotheby's website.
Auction: September 24 and 25, 2012
Times: 10:00am and 2:00pm both days
1334 York Avenue and
New York, NY 10021
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