Among the most respected art historians of our time, Dr. Everett Fahy is renowned as a connoisseur, a steward of some of America’s most illustrious collections, a prolific author and a friend to collectors and admirers of European art across the globe.
On 26 October, Christie’s will offer Dr. Fahy’s personal collection at auction in New York. Comprising 46 lots, it includes works on paper, objets d’art and paintings from the 14th to the 20th centuries. The collection, which has been formed over the course of 40 years, was previously installed in Dr. Fahy’s Mark Hampton-designed New York apartment. Head of Sale and Old Masters specialist Emma Kronman describes the collection as ‘a fascinating and intimate window into the world of a scholar who has counted among his friends some of the most important curators and collectors of the 20th century.’
Sir John Pope-Hennessy, a former Director of the British Museum, thought Fahy ‘the most gifted young student I had ever met’
Born in Pennsylvania in 1941, Everett Fahy received his B.A. at the University of Virginia and his M.A. and Ph.D. at Harvard. In 1970 he was appointed as Curator-in-Charge of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s European Paintings Department, before in 1973 moving to the Frick Collection where he served as its Director for 13 years. His next move saw him return to the Met where he became the first John Pope-Hennessy Chairman of European Paintings, a position he would hold until his retirement in 2009.
Sir John Pope-Hennessy (1913-1994), Director of the British Museum from 1974 to 1976 and Dr. Fahy’s mentor as well as his predecessor at the Met, recalled their first meeting in Florence in 1962. He described Fahy as ‘the most gifted young student I had ever met. We made firm friends and have travelled together to more places than I can count. After a period as director of the Frick Collection, he eventually succeeded me as Chairman of European Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum.’ During his tenure at the Met, Dr. Fahy helped organise the acquisition through Christie’s of one of the museum’s most celebrated purchases, the magnificent Madonna and Child by Duccio di Buoninsegna.
Over the years Dr. Fahy has continued to publish and lecture widely and has acted as a trusted adviser to major art collectors and institutions around the world. Following his retirement in 2009, Christie’s welcomed him as a consultant to the Old Master & 19th-Century Art department.
This is one of a series of panels by Otto van Veen (c. 1556-1629), and shows scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin. Five other panels from the series are now in the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Siena.
This painting, which formerly belonged to the University of Kansas Art Museum, held many attributions until it was recognised as an early work by the Naples-based painter Francesco Solimena (1657-1747).
This beautifully-preserved panel from the early 14th century was produced by an artist working in the immediate circle of Duccio di Buoninsegna. It is one of many works in the collection that were gifted or bequeathed to Dr. Fahy by Sir John Pope-Hennessy, his predecessor as Chairman of European Paintings at the Met.
There is no current consensus on the hand responsible for this picture, however convincing comparisons have been made between it and the work of the as-yet-anonymous Duccesque artist known as the Master of Monte Oliveto, who is represented in numerous museums, including the Met.
Dr. Fahy’s collection includes a number of works on paper — both drawings and prints — some of which have been organised into group lots. This fully attributed work by Delacroix is one of the standout works in the Old Master Drawings section.
It is not known whether this lovely 15th-century bust of a boy was a commissioned portrait or a more generalised religious figure. In either case, it is an informal and charming Renaissance sculpture.
This splendid fragment is from what would once have been a luxurious Vatican choir book produced for Pope Leo X by one of the most famous and accomplished illuminators of the Italian Renaissance, Attavante degli Attavanti. The fragment was formerly in the collection of William Young Ottley, an English collector and art historian, and Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum.
This Chinese bi was gifted to Everett Fahy on his retirement in 2009 by the American socialite and philanthropist Brooke Astor (1902-2007). It is carved in low relief on both sides, one side with the characters chang yi zi sun (eternal blessings for the sons and grandsons), the other with two characters.