Brooke Astor's estate set for two day Sotheby's auction
New York philanthropist Brooke Astor's estate stars important artwork and diamond jewellery
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Monday 20 August 2012
The estate of New York philanthropist Brooke Astor will be auctioned at Sotheby's on September 24-25, featuring 901 lots of furnishings, art and jewellery from the two households left behind after her passing in August 2007.
The announcement of the sale comes months after Astor's only son - who was recently convicted of stealing from his mother in the later years of her life - lost half of his inheritance following an intense five-year legal battle over the family's riches. The majority of the $100m fortune will now go towards the establishment of the Brooke Astor Fund for New York City Education.
At the height of her power, Brooke Astor was the socialite queen of New York philanthropy and entertained a host of important guests, including presidents and their first ladies, at her 14-room Park Avenue home. Her glittering lifestyle is reflected in the auction's lavish offerings, which include important artworks alongside diamond-encrusted platinum jewellery.
One of the highest estimates in the sale goes to a characteristic pen and brown ink depiction of Venice by Canaletto, which is expected to bring between $300,000 and 500,000. This is matched only by Orientalist John Frederick Lewis' A Memlook Bay - a striking piece from the Royal Academy member that will sell with an identical estimate.
Among the most decadent of Astor's jewels offered in the sale is a platinum, 18 karat gold, emerald and diamond necklace from Bulgari. Featuring 13 emerald drops weighing 71.00 carats and 14 marquise-shaped diamonds weighing 8.50 carats, the stunning 1959 piece will sell for $250,000-350,000.
Also featuring will be a range of Chinese decorative art pieces that will undoubtedly command some impressive bids. Highlighting the collection is a stately imperial gilt-bronze lion clock from the Qianlong period, which will sell with an $180,000-220,000 estimate.
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