Christie's to offer 'The Collection of Drue Heinz: Townhouses in London and New York'

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Christie's to offer 'The Collection of Drue Heinz: Townhouses in London and New York'
A Cycladic marble female torso, late Spedos variety, early Cycladic II, circa 2500 B.C. 6⅝ in. (16.7 cm.) high. Estimate: £40,000-60,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2019.

LONDON.- A remarkable and rare opportunity for collectors and decorators alike; Christie’s London will present The Collection of Drue Heinz: Townhouses in London and New York with Interiors by John Fowler and Renzo Mongiardino, on 4 June in a dedicated collection sale. The collection of Drue Heinz reflects the innate eye and refined personal taste with which she assembled this incredible collection, which was largely amassed during her marriage to H.J. (Jack) Heinz II – CEO of the H. J. Heinz Company – from 1953 until his death in 1987. Mrs Heinz (1915-2018) was also a renowned philanthropist and throughout her life she enjoyed nothing more than taking on new endeavours, particularly those which helped to advance the work of a wide spectrum of emerging artists. Her spirit is very much reflected in her collection, and, as such, the proceeds from its sale will go to support her beloved Hawthornden Literary Retreat as well as various other charitable projects. From these and other benefactions one takes away the overall impression of a relentlessly energetic person who took a strong personal interest in projects that she felt were important and in particular ones which nourished the human spirit. Further highlights from the wider collection are being sold in Christie’s specialist sales throughout the year, including an important group of fine art to be offered in Christie’s Spring sales of Impressionist and Modern Art, Post-War and Contemporary and Latin American Art.

The London mews house was purchased by Mr. & Mrs. Heinz in the mid-1950s and was particularly notable as at its core was one of the most charming and untouched 1950s John Fowler interiors extant. To compliment this, a second phase of development and decoration was undertaken in the 1980s by Renzo Mongiardino, who masterminded the annexation of a neighbouring mews property, including a car showroom, including the creation of a theatrical ballroom (probably one of the last in London) the walls of which are completely decorated with imagined vistas inspired by the Villa Falconieri in Rome. The interiors of the New York townhouse were created by Mongiardino in 1976 and published anonymously in Architectural Digest shortly after. The dedicated collection sale comprises Impressionist & Modern, Modern British and Contemporary works of art alongside Old Master Paintings, English and Continental furniture and objet d’art, silver, Chinese porcelain and decorative furnishings, many of which were supplied either by Colefax & Fowler or Renzo Mongiardino.

One of the star lots of the sale is The Leverhulme Mirror, a massive George II giltwood pier mirror, circa 1750 (estimate: £150,000 – 250,000), which exemplifies the highpoint of the English Rococo. It has illustrious provenance having been in at least three important historic collections: firstly, at Chipstead Place, Surrey, where it was probably either commissioned by the wealthy brewer, Charles Polhill, or purchased by his successor at Chipstead, the great art collector, Frederick Perkins; secondly at Combe Bank, Kent, home to the President of the Royal Society, William Spottiswoode; and lastly, at The Hill, Hampstead, the London house of noted art collector, William Hesketh Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme, before being acquired for the Heinz collection in the 1960s.

Further major highlights include: Swimming Pool by David Hockney, O.M., C.H., R.A., signed, dedicated and dated 'For Drue and Jack with love from David H. Feb/1982' (estimate: £70,000-100,000); Bernard Buffet’s La Tour de Londres, 1960, in this work the artist has emphasized the strength of this famed English landmark by setting the monolithic building in stark contrast with the delicate, spindly trees that surround it (estimate: £100,000-150,000, illustrated above right); and a set of three George II silver tea-caddies, Mark of Paul De Lamerie, London, 1742-1744 (estimate: £80,000-120,000).

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