RELEASE: Property from the Award Winning Actress Joan Fontaine


New York

New York – Christie’s is honored to announce Property from the Award Winning Actress, Joan Fontaine. Cultivated by the Hollywood silver screen legend, this collection boasts great examples of over 100 lots of fine art, silver, furniture, jewelry, and the 1941 Academy Award she won for Best Actress in Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion. To be offered across four auctions, between New York and Hong Kong, the collection is expected to achieve in excess of $1 million. The proceeds of this collection will benefit the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) for Monterey County, CA.

Thanks to Miss Fontaine's planning and compassionate legacy, animals rescued by the SPCA will receive love, healing, and placement in the lifelong homes they deserve,” says SPCA Executive Director Gary Tiscornia. “This generous donation and the publicity it generates will help thousands of animals and inspire others to donate, adopt, volunteer, and learn more about the SPCA. We are truly grateful for Miss Fontaine’s kindness to the animals of Monterey County and for compassionately sharing the mission of the SPCA.”

Impressionist & Modern Art Works on Paper and Day Sale  - New York, 6 November 2014

Among the highlights of this collection is Marc Chagall’s, “Vase de fleurs dans la fenêtre,” gouache and pastel on paper, estimate: $400,000 – 600,000.

  • Executed in 1935-1936, the theme of flowers in a vase was a recurrent theme throughout Chagall’s career, a subject matter that became particularly fervent in the 1920s.
  • At the lower right of the painting is a woman who floats with her arm in a warm embrace, this is a thinly veiled reference to Chagall’s affection for his beloved wife and belief their bond would be eternal.
  • At the lower left of the painting is a green goat, which represents a whimsical nod to his childhood and reminder of his roots in Vitebsk, Russia.

Fine Chinese Modern Paintings - Hong Kong, 24 November 2014

  • Lin Fengmian’s ideal to bring Chinese Paintings to a new era is evident is Chrysanthemums in a Vase (scroll, mounted and framed, ink and color on paper, estimate: US$200,000 – 250,000 / HK$1,500,000 – 2,000,000), in which blossoming flowers are full of vitality, while the background and overall composition gives a subtle and poetic atmosphere. 
  • Fengmian created a large number of works during the unstable years from 1937 to 1977, the year he was finally permitted to China and settle in Hong Kong.
  • During the Cultural Revolution, Lin himself had to destroy many of his beloved works to avoid questioning and further persecution.

The Exceptional Sale - New York, 11 December 2014

  • The Academy Award statuette (estimate: $200,000 – 300,000) was presented to Joan Fontaine for Best Actress for her performance in Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological thriller, Suspicion (1941).
  • Appearing opposite Cary Grant, her winning performance as Lina McLaidlaw, the timid, dowdy young woman who comes to suspect her husband of murder, earned her the only Academy Award ever presented for acting in a Hitchcock-directed film.
  • Fontaine was also the youngest leading lady to win a Best Actress award until 1986.

Interiors - New York, 13 January 2015

(Please see PDF attached)

About Joan Fontaine

Joan Fontaine ascended to the ranks of aspiring RKO starlets to an Academy Award winning legend, a favorite of directors such as Alfred Hitchcock and the inspiration for countless young women seeking to make it big on the silver screen.

At 18 years old, Ms. Fontaine signed a contract with RKO Pictures, and debuted opposite Joan Crawford in the 1935 picture No More Ladies.  Ms. Fontaine’s screen presence increased throughout the 1930s and received her first leading role in the 1940 film Rebecca, an adaptation of the bestselling Daphne du Maurier novel of the same name. Rebecca earned Ms. Fontaine her first Academy Award nomination.  

In 1941, Ms. Fontaine appeared opposite Cary Grant as the beleaguered wife in another Hitchcock film, Suspicion. The performance earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress, making Ms. Fontaine the youngest winner in the category at that time and the only performer to ever receive an Oscar for a Hitchcock film.  

Ms. Fontaine was a loyal advocate of the SPCA for Monterey County, where she adopted the dogs she lovingly referred to as, “my dear, dear babies.”

*Note to editors

Christie’s New York will host a Press Preview on October 22, to commemorate Ms. Fontaine’s birthday, with highlights of her esteemed collection on view in Boardroom 1. Press contact Christie’s New York Press Office for details.

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