Tag Archives: Auction

Sotheby’s Auction Results: That Mario Buatta Chinoiserie Wallpaper Screen

I mentioned in an earlier post how much I lusted after one specific item from Sotheby’s auction of Mario Buatta’s personal possessions, the  “Louis XV Five-Fold Blue and White Chinoiserie Wallpaper Screen, the Wallpaper 18th Century”. I promised to post the sale price after the auction.

The auction is over now, and it was a huge success, bringing in $7.6 million, about 2½ times the official Sotheby’s high estimate.

And the screen? The pre-sale estimate was that it would go for $4,000 to $6,000.

It went for $15,000.

Sotheby’s Auction of the Mario Buatta Estate

Mario Buatta, affectionately known as “The Prince of Chintz”, died in October 2018 at the age of 82. On 23 January 2020, Sotheby’s will host an auction of his personal possessions, under the title Mario Buatta: Prince of Interiors.

Here’s a pdf of the full 236-page catalogue for the auction, suitable for downloading.

If I could pick just one item from that catalogue, it would be this:

The catalogue describes it as a “Louis XV Five-Fold Blue and White Chinoiserie Wallpaper Screen, the Wallpaper 18th Century” The estimate is between $4,000 and $6,000, but auction house estimates for this sort of thing are always absurdly low, so as not to frighten away potential buyers. I’ll post the real price after the auction.

Mario Buatta’s interiors were designed to be reminiscent of the rooms in an English country house. Here are some samples, found on the Web:

I’ve always thought of Buatta as the Ralph Lauren of interior design.

Ralph Lauren (né Lifshitz) was born in The Bronx in the 1930s, to first-generation Jewish immigrants from Belarus. Lauren has built his empire by styling clothes that reflect a classic old-money WASP sensibility, very different from the world of his youth.

Mario Buatta was born on Staten Island in 1930s, and grew up in a house where the living
room “was off-limits so that the vacuum tracks might not get disturbed.” Buatta became the master of a style that captured the look and feel of the English country house.

From the Estate of Jacqueline Kennedy’s Sister

Yesterday, Christie’s New York held an auction of items from “The Collection of Lee Bouvier Radziwill”. The socialite, who became Her Serene Highness Princess Caroline Radziwill on her 1959 marriage to the Polish aristocrat Prince Stanisław Albrecht Radziwill, was best known as the younger sister of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, a circumstance that she didn’t particularly enjoy.

The sale total was $1,266,000.

Here are some of the items from the collection. (Images from Christie’s website.)

A pair of Indian silver-gilt, enamel, and hardstone-mounted censers and covers
20th century
Price realized: $8,125

A Limoges porcelain yellow-ground armorial part dinner service
20th century
Price realized: $10,625

A North European rosewood side chair
Late 19th/early 20th century
Price realized: $2,750

A Victorian ebonized and verre eglomise side table
Circa 1860
Price realized: $4,750

A pair of decalcomania table lamps
Late 19th/20th century
Price realized: $4,750

And the Definitive Bouvier Signature Item

Two pairs of fashion sunglasses, Gucci
Late 20th century
Price realized: $2,750

The Vivien Leigh Collection — Movie Auction of the Year

Vivien Leigh won Academy Awards for playing Scarlett O’Hara and Blanche DuBois, two of the all-time great women’s movie roles.

Now, 50 years after her death, what remains of her estate is being offered at auction by Sotheby’s London. The full auction catalogue has not yet been posted, but you can see a small sample at the auction site.

From the press release: “Passed down through Vivien’s family, the collection comprises paintings, jewellery, couture, books, furniture, porcelain, objets d’art and further items celebrating all aspects of her life, from the pre-war years in London, to Hollywood and beyond, up to her death in 1967. Myriad pieces drawn from the city and country homes Vivien shared with her husband Laurence Oliver [sic] will give a new perspective on Vivien, from her appreciation of art and patronage of Modern British artists, to her passion for books and fondness for entertaining and interior design.”

Included in the sale will be Vivien Leigh’s personal copy of Gone with the Wind, given to her by the author Margaret Mitchell.

As Blanche DuBois, Leigh puts her faith in the kindness of strangers in A Streetcar Named Desire.

As Scarlett O’Hara, Leigh rises from despair in Gone with the Wind.

The auction for “Vivien: The Vivien Leigh Collection” will take place on 26 Sep 2017 at Sotheby’s London.

Breaking Bad Sale! But Check the Pockets for Crystal Meth…

The Prop Store, which deals in props and costumes from film and television, is conducting an online auction of clothes worn by Walter Hartwell White and Jesse Pinkman (aka Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul) during the five glorious seasons of TV’s greatest triumph, Breaking Bad.

Here are some of the 77 lots being offered, with pictures and notes from the catalogue:

Jesse Pinkman’s (Aaron Paul) “Down” Dragon T-Shirt

Jesse Pinkman’s (Aaron Paul) “Down” Dragon T-Shirt

“Jesse Pinkman’s (Aaron Paul) dragon T-shirt from ‘Down’ episode 204 of Vince Gilligan’s award-winning series Breaking Bad.  Jesse wears a dragon T-shirt most notably when he meets with his parents at a lawyer’s office and they inform him he is being evicted from his Aunt’s home because they found his meth lab, and is also see in promotional images for the second season. The shirt (size Extra Extra Large) is marked as DKNY brand on the inside collar.  The piece is made of black cotton fabric with an intricate dragon design printed across the front.  This lot shows light wear but remains in great, production used condition.”

Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) “Ozymandias” Green Flannel Button-up Shirt and Khaki Pants Lot

Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) “Ozymandias” Green Flannel Button-up Shirt and Khaki Pants Lot

“Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) green flannel button-up shirt and khaki pants from ‘Ozymandias’ [‘Ozymandias’  people!] episode 514 of Vince Gilligan’s Award-winning series Breaking Bad.  Walt wears a green flannel button-up and khakis in a flashback to his first cook as well as in episode 101 ‘Pilot’ in which said native cook was originally depicted.  The 100% cotton Woolrich shirt (size Large) buttons up the front and features a left breast pocket and a dark mustard inner collar. The khaki Dockers (size 34 wide/ 32 long) are made of 100% cotton. The items show light wear but remains in great, production used condition.

Jesse Pinkman’s (Aaron Paul) “Better Call Saul” Truth T-Shirt

Jesse Pinkman’s (Aaron Paul) “Better Call Saul” Truth T-Shirt

‘Jesse Pinkman’s (Aaron Paul) hero truth T-shirt from “Better Call Saul” episode 208 of Vince Gilligan’s award-winning series Breaking Bad. Jesse wears a truth T-shirt throughout the episode when fooling the DEA.  This particular shirt screen matches to one worn when Jesse returns home to find a mattress in his apartment.  The shirt (size Large) is made of black cotton and features an elaborate design on the front reading ‘Truth’, after the manufacturer’s brand and shows light wear but remains in great, production used condition.”

The Breaking Bad Online Auction started on 16 July 2015 and ends at 11:32 AM PDT on 23 July 2015.  The catalogue say the auction “Starts Ending” at 9:00 AM PDT on the 23rd.  I have no idea what that means.  You can see all the lots at the auction website.

Note:  I started to register for the auction, but didn’t complete the process.  The required field on the registration form asked for far more information that I was comfortable giving.

The Last of Debbie

Today is the final day of the final auction of Debbie Reynolds’ incredible collection of Hollywood memorabilia.  Much of the collection came from the massive three-week auction of costumes and props liquidated at MGM Studios in 1970.   Reynolds took out loans to buy what became the core of her collection, and has been trying for years to find a museum to exhibit it.

Reynolds’ finances have always been notoriously bad, due, in part, to her unfortunate judgement in the selection of husbands.  At 79, she was once again on the verge of bankruptcy.  The silver lining of the auctions is that they’ll make her a rich woman–the first two brought in ~$25M.  The dark cloud is that great pieces of Hollywood and American history have now vanished into Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Here are a couple of pages from the auction catalogue.  See link to the full PDF version below.


From the Auction Catalogue


From the Auction Catalogue

Here’s a PDF of the entire 420 page auction catalogue.