Christie’s Will Sell Art From the Estate of Tastemaker and Legendary Met Board Member Jayne Wrightsman

The sale is expected to make more than $8 million.

Jayne Wrightsman. Image courtesy of Christie's.
Jayne Wrightsman. Image courtesy of Christie's.

Christie’s has nabbed a trophy consignment: the private collection of the late philanthropist and art connoisseur Jayne Wrightsman, whom the New York Times called a “grande dame of New York society.” The works, which will be offered in a series of online and live auctions next spring, are expected to bring in more than $8 million.

To be sure, many of Wrightsman’s most important holdings already have their final home—at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she and her husband, oil tycoon Charles, both served on the board for years. Last week, the museum announced a major gift of 375 objects, including works by Van Dyck, Gericault, and Seurat, as well as $80 million cash from Wrightsman’s estate. She died in April at 99.

A self-taught art collector with glamorous and discriminating taste, Wrightsman gave herself a crash course in collecting as a newlywed and eventually built one of the world’s leading private collections of 18th-century French furniture and decorative art.

While much of her holdings are already at the Met, other works that she lived with in her storied 18-room Fifth Avenue home, including Old Master paintings and sculpture, European furniture and ceramics, Chinese ceramics and works of art, silver and other items, will be offered at Christie’s. Proceeds from the sale with benefit philanthropic causes.

Jayne Wrightsman in her New York apartment. Image courtesy Christie's

Jayne Wrightsman in her New York apartment. Image courtesy Christie’s

Among the highlights of Christie’s offerings is the petite Odalisque by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, a more intimate version of the artist’s Grand Odalisque (1814), which is in the Louvre. It is estimated to sell for between $700,000 to $1 million.

Also on offer is a grand-scale portrait, Charles IX (1550-1574), King of France by François Clouet, estimated at $800,000 to $1.2 million, and a Louis XVI ormolu-mounted urn estimated at $200,000 to $300,000. The collection also includes a Royal Louis XVI cafe table by Martin Carlin estimated at $80,000 to $120,000.

Wrightmsan’s “unrivaled contributions to culture provide an aspirational model of patronage, connoisseurship, and style,” said Bonnie Brennan, Christie’s deputy chairman. “From revitalizing the study of French decorative arts to gifting masterpiece works to her cherished Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jayne Wrightsman stands as one of the most important figures in the history of modern collecting.”

Christie’s plans to send some of the collection highlights on a tour of its galleries in Paris, London, and Hong Kong. The works will be offered during Classic Week in New York in April 2020.


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