This week, Sotheby’s holds a sale in New York Dedicated to Furniture & Decorative Arts from The Collection of Dodie Rosekrans, including treasures from her San Francisco, Paris and Venice residences.
New York, 8 and 9 December 2011 with earlier viewings.
Yikes—the beauty! It’s one woman’s eye—superbly edited. From Codognato table décor and jewels, and a set of George II giltwood chairs selected by Michael Taylor, as well as six Russian winged neoclassical giltwood chairs, and a Jean-Michel Frank gilded plaster lamp, Queen Caroline’s coronation chair, screens galore, and as well as edgy conceptual art, and enough gilded chairs, drawings of nudes, Moroccan rugs and mother-of-pearl and japanned tables to cause palpitations in antiques connoisseurs and dilettantes alike. Oh, the beauty.
For more than sixty years, Dodie Rosekrans was a style-setter in San Francisco, and she cut a swathe through Venice and Paris. I’ve written about her several times, and these insider features (check THE STYLE SALONISTE archives) have been among my most popular.
The eyes of the design, style, antiques and collecting world will be on Sotheby’s this week as her extraordinary life-time collections of art, furniture, decorative arts, sculpture, jewelry and exquisite objects are first displayed and then sold at auction.
Dodie Rosekrans, the late, great style doyenne died earlier this year at 93.
Dodie was honored as an Officier of the Legion d’Honneur for her generous contributions to the Centre Pompidou and other Paris museums.
This is the last formal portrait taken of Dodie, standing at the front door of her San Francisco house in late 2010. Los Angeles photographer Lisa Romerein and I were shooting a feature on Dodie and her house for C magazine. We had shot the interiors of the house (images shown here) and were preparing to depart. We hoped to take a portrait of Dodie, but left this discreetly until the end. She came with use to the door, and Lisa asked her quietly if she would stand at the door. She captured the moment. Perhaps I project my own wistfulness onto her. She was a woman who loved life, loved people. She was shy but always attentive. Adieu, Dodie.
Dodie, who grew up in San Francisco, was encouraged by her second husband John Rosekrans to acquire dazzling Paris couture gowns, dramatic jewelry, worldly antiques, and contemporary paintings and sculpture. They commissioned the San Francisco interior designer Michael Taylor to design their residence in Pacific Heights. I called it ‘the most beautiful house in San Francisco”. It has since been sold to a couple that lived just a few doors to the west of Dodie's, and they are said to have hired the great Peter Marino to design their new residence.
Dodie, whose life revolved around art, museums, and encouraging young artists, was known internationally for her charitable work, and her fashion, often Gaultier/Yamamoto-inflected. It was Dodie, always sympathetic to emerging talents, who financed John Galliano’s first private and tentative fashion shows in Paris.
The auction will be on exhibition in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries beginning 3 December, and follows the May 2011 sale of Modern and Contemporary art from Dodie's collection – highlighted by works from Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol.
Dodie Rosekrans was known internationally both for her sense of adventure and unfailingly generous spirit.
Dodie spoke to me vividly about working with Michael Taylor in the seventies—and it is a tribute to her consistent style and Michael Taylor’s incisive approach to design that her interiors did not change over four decades. His paled-down color palette was carried through into every corner of the Broadway house. His taste for low-key and classic antiques, and pieces with signs of time and age, is evident in all pieces in the sale. There's no glitz or flash (that came later thanks to Duquette's exuberance).
Dodie later worked with Tony Duquette, and his Technicolor interiors in Paris and in Venice (key pieces in the sale) are the antithesis of Taylor’s love of restraint.
Michael Taylor’s eye and his influence and his strongly expressed opinions live on in the stone topped tables, the African sculptures, the stone urns, Chinese stone sculptures, and the staggeringly beautiful chairs he found and reproduced for her.
“Dodie was simply blessed with a great eye,” commented Charles Moffett, Sotheby’s Vice Chairman. “Her eclectic tastes and interests were not bounded by strictures, regulations, or other people’s values. She could always discern what was special, lively, and lovely, often in the most idiosyncratic ways. Whether collecting couture, Old Master, Modern or Contemporary paintings, decorative arts, or jewelry, the common threads were freshness, character, and, above all, quality.”
Property from the Collection of Dodie Rosekrans – 8 & 9 December 2011. The furniture and decorations on offer this December come from Mrs. Rosekrans’s residence in San Francisco – designed by Michael Taylor – as well as her ‘Indian Jewel Box’ apartment in Paris and her palazzo on the Grand Canal in Venice – both designed by Tony Duquette.
The works cover a wide range of geographies and styles, from Asian, American Indian and Pre-Columbian art to Italian, French and English furniture and 20th Century Design, reflecting Dodie’s constant curiosity about the world.
She acquired only objects she truly loved, but her mind could encompass Indian and Chinese pottery, Roman glass, Tom Sachs, Greek antiquities, fabulous Attilio Codognato place-card holders and witty costume jewelry.
Sotheby’s sent me the following details of sale items:
Furniture in the sale will feature pieces by French designer Claude Lalanne: both a Pair of “Crocodile” Armchairs from 1994 (pictured top, est. $275/350,000*) and a “Crocodile Stool” circa 1994 (est. $100/150,000) are highly sought-after forms within the oeuvre of the Lalannes. Eighteenth-century designs from across Europe will be led by a Louis XV Ormolu-Mounted Chinese Lacquer and Ebonized Bureau Plat, circa 1750 (est. $250/350,000), a Genovese Baroque Parcel-Gilt, Black and Gilt Japanned and Polychrome-Decorated Bureau Cabinet, circa 1735 (est. $120/180,000), and Queen Caroline’s Coronation Chair.
A Highly-Important George II Giltwood Armchair Attributed to Richard Robert, the Upholstery Attributed to Thomas Phill, circa 1727 (est. $250/350,000). Queen Caroline was King George II’s consort, and her coronation chair became part of the collection at Houghton Hall in Norfolk, where it remained until being sold in 1994.
Additional works demonstrating Mrs. Rosekrans’s eclectic and global tastes include a Marble Cuirassed Torso of an Emperor, Roman Imperial, Flavian Period, 3rd Quarter of the 1st Century A.D. (pictured right, est. $150/250,000). A relief decoration on the lower part of the armor shows the tropaion, or trophy, a memorial which a Roman army would erect on a battlefield on the very spot where the enemy had turned to flee. A large group of highly decorative Chinese works of art – featuring lacquered furniture and screens, Han Dynasty pottery, Chinese export porcelain and jade and other hardstone carvings – will be led by a Large Brown Ground and Gilt-Decorated Lacquer Cabinet (Gui) from the 17th/18th century (est. $100/150,000). And an Urhobo Male Ancestor Statue of the Founder-Hero Owedjebo, standing more than six feet tall, is one of the most monumental examples of the edjo re akare (“spirits in carved form”) that commemorate semi-mythic village-founding warrior heroes of the Urhobo, who inhabit the western edge of the Niger Delta region in southern Nigeria (est. $100/150,000) .
Credits: Most interiors photography by Lisa Romerein. Portrait of Dodie Rosekrans at the door of her residence by Lisa Romerein.
Images of sale items and final interiors images courtesy of Sotheby’s.