Wanamaker – Munn Mansion Antiques Auction

. October 5, 2008

Bonhams is to offer the Wanamaker de Heeren Family Collection at auction on October 22, 2008. The 430-lot sale is to be held at the firm’s Madison Avenue galleries featuring European furniture, decorative arts, silver, rugs and carpets, ceramics, and books from the Estate of Aimee de Heeren.

The Brazilian born Aimee de Heeren was an illustrious member of the international social scene who in addition to her own distinguished lineage, was also the widow of Rodman de Heeren, heir to the Wanamaker Department store fortune. Mrs. de Heeren’s style and taste were legendary, evidenced by her appearances on numerous “Best-Dressed” lists. She maintained many important homes located in New York, Palm Beach, Paris and Biarritz.

Her palatial Manhattan residence, known as the Wanamaker Munn mansion, was designed in 1917-18 by F. Burrall Hoffman, Jr. for Charlotte Winthrop Fowler. It was later acquired by Fernanda Wanamaker de Heeren Munn, whose family occupied the house for four generations.

Measuring a staggering 12,200 square feet, the residence was well known for its opulence and impeccable décor — making this upcoming sale one of inarguable importance.

Of particular note will be a fine Louis XVI ormolu-mounted ebonized and lacquered bureau plat a la Grecque. The late 18th century writing desk is adorned with substantial finely-chiseled ormolu mounts, stamped P. Denizot (for the ebeniste Pierre Denizot, who received maitre in 1740), and carries a pre-sale estimate of $100,000-150,000.

An exceptional Louis XV carved beechwood nine-piece salon suite by master ebeniste Jean-Baptiste Gourdin (received maitre in 1748) will be offered in five lots with a combined estimate of $100/150,000. Also on offer will be a Louis XV ormolu-mounted black-japanned bombe commode by Jacques Dubois (est. $30/50,000) and a similar pair of encoignures by the same ebeniste (est. $12/18,000). Additional signed works include pieces by Leonard Boudin, Simon Oeben, Charles Topino, Joseph Stockel, Boulard, and Jean-Michel Nadal.

Silver lots include: a rare saucepan by Paul de Lamerie, London, 1741 (est. $15/20,000); a pair of early Victorian silver candlesticks with associated candle branches, the sticks by Paul Storr, 1837, the branches by Thomas Henning, early 18th century (est. $15/20,000); and a monumental pair of Edwardian silver pilgrim’s bottles, London, 1936, weighing an impressive 430ozs (est. $10/15,000).

The selection of 18th and 19th century European ceramics includes vases, figures, bowls and table articles by Bow, Derby, Worcester and Delft, and is highlighted by an extensive Sevres assembled dinner service in the Feuille de Choux pattern (est. $10/15,000).

Amongst the desirable selection of English furnishings expected to spur bidding are a George II giltwood overmantel mirror (est. $20/30,000) and a George II mahogany partner’s desk (est. $12/18,000). Perfectly complimenting these lots is a large selection of George III cut glass candelabra and sconces; a fine George III cut-glass ten-light chandelier (est. $15/20,000); and a fine pair of Regency gilt-metal and cut-glass candelabra in the manner of John Blades, circa 1810 (est. $20/30,000).

Also likely to draw much attention are a superb group of paintings. Coming to the auction block will be Francis Wheatley’s The Poultry Seller (est. $12/18,000), a presumed self-portrait of the artist John Opie (est. $12/18,000), and a portrait of Philip II of Spain (est. $20/30,000) by a member of the Circle of Diego Rodrigues de Silva y Valasquez — which also boasts the distinguished provenance of Galerie Charles Sedelmeyer, Paris. Of special note are several portraits by society artist Paul Cesar Helleu, who Fernanda Wanamaker de Heeren-Munn considered a personal friend. These are each expected to bring between $12,000 and $25,000.

“This auction presents a clear view of classic Old World European refinement and offers both seasoned and beginning auction enthusiasts a remarkable collecting opportunity,” states Jon King, Director of Bonhams New York.

The illustrated auction catalog will be online for review and purchase in the weeks preceding the sale at www.bonhams.com/us. Previews open at Bonhams NY on September 18th – continuing daily until the auction.

Category: Antiques News

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