Sotheby’s To Offer Fine And Decorative Arts From The New York Townhouse Of Gianni Versace

Sotheby’s
is once again honored to offer Property from the Collection
of Gianni Versace, the late design genius whose name remains
one of the most influential in the world of fashion and design.
Following Sotheby’s highly successful sale in 2001 of Mr. Versace’s
art and furnishings from his Miami home, Casa Casuarina, this
sale will present collectors with a unique insight into his
New York lifestyle and brilliant taste. He filled his magnificent
Upper East Side, New York townhouse with Contemporary paintings
juxtaposed by neoclassical European furniture. The impressive
collection of beautiful Italian glass, some of which Mr. Versace
designed himself, and 19th century paintings are further complemented
by suites of contemporary upholstered furniture, many in Versace
signature prints.

"Gianni Versace’s home in New York is a sanctuary of sophistication,"
commented Elaine Whitmire, Senior Vice President and specialist
in charge of the sale. "Located on one of the most beautiful
blocks, just steps from Central Park, the interior of the house
is beautifully designed with an unparalleled attention to detail,
all the while very emblematic of Mr. Versace’s personal style.
Where the Miami house was filled with bold colors and patterns,
New York is very architectural and appropriately reflective
of the City."

The Contemporary works in Mr. Versace’s collection will be
offered at Sotheby’s in New York in May and London in June.
Tobias Meyer, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art,
noted, "This Collection reflects Mr. Versace’s wide ranging
taste and impeccable eye, and many of the works were commissioned
directly from the artists. Outstanding later examples from champions
of the Pop movement, such as Roy Lichtenstein, are juxtaposed
with masterpieces from the most visible artists of the 1980’s,
including Jean-Michel Basquiat and the collaborative genius
of Basquiat and Warhol, as well as Francesco Clemente. This
presents Mr. Versace’s group of works as a mini-retrospective
of the greatest artistic talents of this most dynamic of decades."

Chief among the highlights is Roy Lichtenstein’s Blue Nude,
an oil on canvas from 1995 (est. $2.5/3.5 million). Here, Lichtenstein
returns to his celebrated comic book imagery of the 1960s with
a perfect depiction of the female form shaded with Ben-Day dots,
while at the same time incorporating iconic aspects of earlier
works, in this case an oval mirror within the interior scene.

Another magnificent work by Lichtenstein is Still Life with
Envelope from 1982 (est. $600/800,000). This classic composition
of lemons, a potted plant and an envelope is presented to the
viewer just slightly off center and is framed on one side with
a baroque style molding. Also by the artist is Ritual Mask,
a stainless steel and enamel sculpture from 1992 (est. $300/400,000).
Measuring 51 ¼ in. high, a likeness of this sculpture
is represented in numerous paintings by Lichtenstein from the
1990s. Two later works, among the artist’s last paintings, were
commissioned by Mr. Versace and are entitled Still Life with
Diana and Still Life with Ajax. These works are emblematic of
Mr. Versace’s style and the intricate detail includes elements
recognizable in Mr. Versace’s own designs. Each is estimated
at $400/600,000.

Mr. Versace was captivated by the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat,
and his collection includes several important, large-scale works,
among them Untitled from 1982 (est. $1.2/1.8 milllion). Also
included is Basquiat’s Taxi from 1986-86 (est. $900,000/1.2
million). After an initial collaboration among Andy Warhol,
Jean-Michel Basquiat and Francesco Clemente, Warhol and Basquiat
continued to work together and Mr. Versace assembled perhaps
the most significant collection of collaborative works between
the two artists in private hands. Included in the sale is Amoco,
a large scale canvas (116 x 240 inches) estimated to sell for
$900,000/1.2 million, and GE, also from 1986 and estimated at
$400/600,000.

The Collection will also feature Impressionist and Modern works
at Sotheby’s in May including drawings by Henri Matisse, Amedeo
Modigliani and Edgar Degas, watercolors by Marc Chagall and
Raoul Dufy, sculpture by Giorgio de Chirico and paintings by
Fernand Léger.

Among the 19th Century paintings in the Collection, which will
be offered in New York in April, are several important works
by William Adolphe Bouguereau, including L’Amour blessé
(Wounded Eros), circa 1857. This early masterpiece shows the
artist’s love for classical subjects and is estimated to sell
for $200/300,000. Also featured are works by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema,
including Le soldat de Marathon (est. $150/200,000), and a lovely
selection of decorative Italian and French school paintings
that graced the walls of Mr. Versace’s home and were the perfect
complement to his vast collection of Continental furnishings.

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