On The Block: Remembering A Legend


[Update: The Lauren Bacall Sale at Bonhams achieved over $5M with record-breaking results for certain items. We’ve updated this post with the final sale amounts on lots we featured.]

“I filled my house with wonderful furniture and art to satisfy my aesthetic sense and as a way of building a solid life, surrounding myself with antiques, tradition, subconsciously thinking that all that would bring me stability, permanence.”  Lauren Bacall (1924-2014)

On March 31st-April 1st, Bonhams will offer at auction the possessions of an actress whose image still captivates us. Lauren Bacall was more than just a black-and-white image flickering on a screen, however, so the sale is also a look back at the 53 years she (and her family) spent in a vast apartment in the legendary Dakota on New York’s Central Park West. Below, Bacall in the ’90s, sitting on what is now Lot 321, a Louis XV Duchesse Brisée, expected to sell for between $3,000 and $5,000. [$2,750] The dog is Sophie, her beloved King Charles Spaniel.

She was passionate about art, especially sculpture, and if she liked an artist’s work, she couldn’t have just one example. The sale is packed with small bronzes and prints by the British sculptor Henry Moore (Lot 476, $2,000 to $3,000). [$4,375]

And by Los Angeles sculptor Robert Graham (below, in her foyer at the Dakota) one of which, Lot 3, is expected to bring $2,000 to $3,000. [$57,500]

That affinity for sculpture shows up in her choice of furniture, all of it well-used and strongly graphic, like the two cabinets below. Lot 51 and Lot 53 are both expected to sell for between $1,500 and $2,000. [$3,500 and $2,000]

But then there’s another passion…Syrian furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl. One exquisite example, Lot 129 is estimated to go for $2,500 to $3,500. [$2,750]

She had a wide circle of friends and liked to entertain, so it’s not surprising there’s a lot of china, silver, and glassware in the sale. Lot 444 is an assembled group of mid-century glassware produced by La Verrerie de Biot, estimated at $3,000 to $5,000. [$6,000]












The two-day sale encompasses many categories, with something like 1,000 objects in 740 lots. Although many of the items in the sale were probably gifts, Bacall seemed to not buy just one of something she loved, and the selection ranges from many pieces of monogrammed Vuitton and Goyard luggage to posters by Cheret to throw pillows to majolica to dozens of brass boxes. The real catnip for film memorabilia collectors will be Humphrey Bogart’s granite chess table (below: Lot 274, $2,000 to $3,000). [$26,250]

Or Bacall’s personal director’s chairs from various films. Lot 740, estimated at $400-$600 [$4,375] is a pair and includes one for her dog Sophie.

More: Seriously, Bonhams’ online catalogue is worth a long, leisurely browse and bids can be placed online. The estimates are fairly conventional, but there’s no way to know what Bacall’s star power will add when two people really, really want something. Curbed NY did a great post with images of Bacall’s home at the Dakota during her lifetime. Purchased in the ‘60s for $48K, the apartment is now on the market for $26M. And if you’re a little fuzzy on where Lauren Bacall fits into the 20th century, we recommend this profile. To get a real sense of the sale have a look at the video produced by Bonhams about the sale, featuring her jewelry, like Lot 739, a ring made for her by Parisian jeweller Jean Schlumberger, estimated to sell for btween $8,000 and $12,000. [$52,500]

The Lauren Bacall Collection
Exhibition: March 25, 2015-March 30, 2015 by catalogue purchase only
Sale: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 and Wednesday April 1, 2015

580 Madison Avenue, New York, NY

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