Archival photographs courtesy of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Archives, Hillsborough, NJ

Press Release I | Press Release II | Press Release III

Katherine Adler
Bendetta Roux
Tel: +1 212 636 2680


Christie's New York to Offer the Contents of Duke Farms

The Doris Duke Collection
Sold to benefit the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
June 2 - 5, 2004

New York - Christie's New York is honored to be offering the personal collection of Doris Duke, one of the most legendary figures of 20th century America, in an exceptional four day sale starting on June 2, at Rockefeller Center. On June 2nd and June 4th, Christie's will organize two gala evening auctions featuring her magnificent jewelry collection and wine cellars (see separate releases). The day sales on June 3, 4 and 5 will showcase the contents of Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey, Doris Duke's primary residence, her apartment in New York and her home in Los Angeles. Included in these sales are the objects she lived with, including 17th through 20th century European furniture and decorative arts, ceramics, silver, paintings, carpets and Asian art.

Although Miss Duke's life was set against a backdrop of boundless opulence, she chose to follow a path that was remarkably individual and free-spirited. Duke Farms, the 2,700-acre estate bought by Miss Duke's father, James Buchanan Duke, in the late 19th century, was a cherished haven for Doris Duke throughout her life. Beautifully located in the midst of the rolling New Jersey hills, Duke Farms allowed her to be her true self, entertaining intimate friends, pursuing hobbies such as swimming and gardening, and living an active and health-conscious life. The house was very much reminiscent of the British country house tradition, containing furniture, paintings and decorative arts that had been collected by her parents and to which she later added according to her own flair and taste.

Furniture and Decorative Arts
Miss Duke's extensive travels throughout Europe and Asia made a lasting imprint on her taste, and her eclectic collections of furniture and decorative arts at Duke Farms reflect her fascination with Eastern and Western cultures. The collection merges these styles brilliantly and is a testament to her discerning eye and her adventurous spirit.

One of the most spectacular objects in the sale is the Badminton overmantel mirror (estimate: $250,000-400,000), a virtuosic display of 18th century craftsmanship and design. Supplied to Charles, 4th Duke of Beaufort, for the celebrated Chinese bedroom at Badminton House, the mirror is one of the finest examples of English chinoiserie decoration. Of this fabled bedroom suite, other pieces are now in American and British institutions. The overmantel mirror is an outstanding interpretation of "Chinese" designs and motifs and perfectly encapsulates the 18th century European fascination with the Far East.

An exceptional group of chinoiserie wall-hangings, a set of five Continental silk and wool embroidered pelmets, circa 1730, will be offered in two groups (estimate: $12,000-18,000, each). The glittering threads of these glamorous shades are woven together to create exquisite scenes of "Chinamen" hunting, fishing and playing games. The most dynamic of Chinese export furniture made for the Western market is a black and three-tone gilt lacquer eight-panel screen, 19th century, that illustrates writhing dragons and delicate foliage (estimate: $10,000-15,000).

Duke Farms was filled with fine 17th, 18th and 19th century English and Continental furniture and decorative arts. The Queen Anne giltwood and gilt-metal chandelier, circa 1710 (estimate: $150,000-200,000), is one of the most celebrated and rarest forms to survive, and is based on the well-known French designs of Daniel Marot, which were published in the Hague in 1703 and 1713. A wyvern, winged dragon, is illustrated on the crest of the chandelier.

Among the finest and most traditional pieces of the 18th century in the sale is a Louis XV salon suite of walnut seat furniture that includes eight fauteuils (two sets of four, estimate: $40,000-60,000, each) and a canapé (estimate: $7,000-10,000). Other highlights by celebrated makers include Saunier's late Louis XV ormolu-mounted tulipwood and amaranth bureau plat, circa 1770 (estimate: $60,000-100,000) and a set of four early 19th century consulat brass and ebony-inlaid mahogany chaises by Jacob Frères (estimate: $12,000-18,000). Additional objects with distinguished provenances include a pair of lacquered-gilt mounted rosewood bedside cupboards, which were supplied to Windsor Castle by the royal cabinetmakers Morel & Seddon on July 2, 1828 (estimate: $30,000-50,000), and some of the objects she acquired from 20th century collections of Lord Acton, William Randolph Hearst, her mother-in-law Eva Stotesbury and Imelda Marcos.

While Duke Farms has its share of 20th century sophistication embodied in the "Hollywood Wing," comprising a Style Moderne movie theater, shooting gallery, tennis court and swimming pool, it was her homes in Los Angeles and New York that reflected her glamorous life. Falcon Lair, her Los Angeles residence and previous home of Rudolph Valentino, displayed painted Italian Baroque and Neoclassical furniture and scagliola table tops, mother-of-pearl covered pieces of furniture, collections of shells and minerals and other fanciful and colorful objects-all included in the sale. Also highlighted in the residence are a gilt-metal Neo-Baroque overmantel mirror and fireplace surround (estimate: $5,000-8,000) and pair of bronze lamps shaped as hands that were specially designed for her (estimate: $3,000-5,000).

Doris Duke regularly sought the advice of decorators, including her friend Tony Duquette who added whimsical touches to her more traditional interiors at Duke Farms, including a pair of patinated bronze figures of horses (estimate: $3,000-5,000) in the entryway. Also adding modernist flair to the residence is a pair of ebonized and parcel-gilt curule-form stools (estimate: $400-600).

There is an assortment of carpets from many regions of the world. From Spain is a pile-woven carpet, mid-18th century (estimate: $15,000-25,000); from Northwest Persia is a silk Heriz carpet, circa 1875 (estimate: $10,000-20,000); and from France are two Louis XVI Savonnerie carpets, 18th century (estimate: $7,000-10,000, each) and a Louis XVI Aubusson carpet, late 18th century (estimate: $10,000-15,000).

The collection includes important examples of silver and ceramics from the 18th century. Leading the silver selection is a Queen Anne silver cup and cover with the mark of Simon Pantin, London, 1713 (estimate: $20,000-30,000), previously in the collection of President and Mrs. Ferdinand Marcos, The Republic of the Philippines. Other highlights include a Queen Anne silver teapot, mark of Richard Bayley, London, 1711 (estimate: $7,000-10,000) and a pair of George I Irish silver candlesticks, mark of Henry Daniell, Dublin, 1715 (estimate: $8,000-12,000).

The ceramics in the sale mirror Miss Duke's interest in botany and gardening. Most major European manufacturers are represented by boxes and tureens in the form of fruit, vegetables and animals, figure groups standing before flowering landscapes, and a wide range of service wares beautifully painted with flowers used both for display and for entertaining at Duke Farms. Highlighting the selection of naturalistic boxes is a charming Chelsea tureen and cover in the shape of a crouching hare with pink-lined ears and brown patches, circa 1755 (estimate: $12,000-18,000). From the premier German factory of Meissen comes a pair of Indian parakeets, circa 1741, modeled by Johann Joachim Kändler and is similar to a pair in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (estimate: $20,000-30,000). Two extensive dinner services, one European and the other Chinese export, stand out among the selection of wares. From Meissen comes a service of circa 1770 painted in the Sèvres style with scattered bouquets within gilt palmettes and blue feuille-de-choux borders and rims (estimate: $60,000-80,000). The Chinese export porcelain armorial dinner service, circa 1755, is decorated with sprays of tulips and roses in famille rose colors (estimate: $80,000-120,000). Quite rare is a Chinese Export 'Pronk' porcelain oval basin, early Qianlong period (estimate: $30,000-50,000), illustrating garlands of spring flowers on a background of purple, rose and turquoise. A large selection of late 18th and early 19th century English and Irish cut glass will be offered in a variety of forms, including candlesticks, bowls, wine glasses, jars and centerpieces.

Very much in line with the country house tradition, Duke Farms contained a large number of sporting art paintings, some of them executed by the best-known British sporting art painters of the 18th and 19th century. The highlight is a set of six works by John Nost Sartorius titled A Run with Mr. James Drake Brockman's Hounds at Beachborough, Kent (estimate: $80,000-120,000). The sale offers a set of four hunting scenes by John Frederick Herring Jr., son of the famed J.F. Herring Sr. The paintings were executed early in his career but already show his distinct style (estimate: $50,000-80,000, for the set). Henry Thomas Alken demonstrates his skills in Full Cry—Over the Brook, depicting a hunt in full gallop (estimate: $20,000-30,000). Also offered is a group of Old Master paintings, including Venetian views as well as Mediterranean coastal scenes.

Through her travels, which took her all over the globe, Doris Duke became a passionate collector of Asian art and more than 200 pieces from her collection now reside in prominent museum collections. Included in the sale is a pair of Tibetan 19th century gilt repoussé deer, that symbolizes the audience of Shakyamuni Buddha's first teaching after attaining enlightenment (estimate: $25,000-35,000). In the Japanese field, a 19th century six-panel screen of maples beside a stream (estimate: $5,000-7,000) and a pair of lacquer chests decorated with flowering trees (estimate: $7,000-9,000), will be offered. The Chinese art section features a pair of turquoise, aubergine and ochre-glazed stoneware figures of Buddhist lions on stands from the Ming dynasty (estimate: $30,000-50,000) and a pair of large famille rose jardinières, Qianlong period (estimate: $30,000-50,000).

Doris Duke's inquisitive mind and her fascination with art history inevitably also led her into the world of antiquities. The sale features a charming marble figure of a youthful male, which has provenance dating back to the 18th century. The torso and head are from the 2nd century A.D., but there are significant Grand Tour restorations that converted the figure into the hero Paris (estimate: $50,000-80,000). Another highlight is the unusually large Egyptian bronze figure of a cat, which dates to the Late Period to the Ptolemaic period, 664-30 B.C. The feline is depicted seated in the usual pose with the front paws together, the tail wrapped around its body (estimate: $25,000-35,000). Other splendid objects include a Greek bronze appliqué of Herakles, possibly depicting Alexander the Great in the guise of the hero, dating from the 3rd century B.C. (estimate: $15,000-20,000) and an Etruscan bronze mirror, circa 4th century B.C., engraved with a "sacred conversation" between the Dioskouroi, Minerva and a goddess (estimate: $12,000-18,000).

A select group of artworks from the collection of Doris Duke will be offered in the specialized art sales organized by Christie's New York. The evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art on May 4, will present two works by the early 20th century symbolist, Odilon Redon. Vase au guerrier japonais (estimate: $2,000,000-3,000,000) a pastel and pencil on paper laid down on board, was executed circa 1905 and depicts one of his ethereal flower still-lifes. Following the same theme is Vase de fleurs avec branches de pommier en fleur (estimate: $800,000-1,200,000), painted circa 1905, using an oil on canvas technique. The day sale on May 5 will present a work by Pierre Bonnard, Nu a l'arroisoir (Toilette à la campagne), circa 1902 (estimate: $220,000-280,000), and Le Havre. Bassin de l'Eure, a serene harbor scene by Eugène Boudin (estimate: $150,000-200,000).

On June 15, as part of the Important 20th Century Decorative Arts sale, an important 'Dragonfly' leaded glass, turtleback tile, mosaic and bronze lamp table by Tiffany Studios, circa 1906, will be among the highlights (estimate: $600,000-900,000).

The Old Master Paintings sale on June 17 will feature two works from the collection of Doris Duke. Portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte, three quarter length, by Andrea Appiani (Milan 1754-1817) (estimate: $100,000-150,000), a rare painting which is believed to have belonged to the collection of Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother, and A stage set: figures in a courtyard of a fantastical palace, with a fountain of Neptune at the center, and Mercury and Zeus on each side of a framework by Domenico Fossati (Venice 1743-1784) (estimate: $30,000-40,000).

In the Fall season, the Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art sale, will present a rare bronze owl-shaped covered vessel, Xiaoyou, Late Shang dynasty, 13th-11th century BC (estimate: $600,000-800,000).

June 2 - 5
The Doris Duke Collection
Sold to benefit the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

May 21 - June 2
Christie's Galleries at Rockefeller Center

Proceeds will benefit the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (, which seeks to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, wildlife conservation, medical research and the prevention of child maltreatment, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke's properties.

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Images available on request

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