• Press release
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  • New York
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  • For immediate release
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  • 22 August 2019

RELEASE: Christie's to Auction the Collection of Broadway Producer Terry Allen Kramer

Terry Allen Kramer on the grounds of her Palm Beach residence. Photo: © Lauren Lieberman / LILA PHOTO

New York – Christie’s announces a series of sales from the Collection of Terry Allen Kramer, a philanthropist and esteemed producer who lived as colorfully as the celebrated shows she brought to the Broadway stage. Known as the ‘grande dame’ of Palm Beach, Florida, Kramer played host to cultural and civic luminaries at La Follia, her sprawling waterfront estate decorated by Pauline Pitt. Her remarkable collection of fine art and decorative art from La Follia together with her penthouse apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, will be offered on October 16. Her vast collection of Impressionist and Modern Art will be sold across the Evening, Day, Works on Paper and Online sales in November, in addition to works included in Post-War to Present sale on September 27, Prints & Multiples on October 22 and the Old Master Drawings sale in January 2020. With more than 260 lots in total, the entire collection expects to achieve in excess of $20 million.

Max Carter, International Director, Head of Department, Impressionist & Modern Art, comments, “Terry Allen Kramer’s collection reflects the spirit of adventure and sense of fun she was legendary for, spanning the best of modern art from the late-19th to mid-20th centuries, from Pissarro’s irresistibly lush Jardin et poulailler chez Octave Mirbeau, Les Damps to Picasso’s Buste d’homme, which looks back to Velásquez and Manet just as it prefigures and points the way for Basquiat. The collection is particularly rich in works on paper, with rare and important examples by Dalí, Léger, Matisse, Miró and Picasso, to be offered this November across the Evening Sale and our 40th anniversary Works on Paper Sale, celebrating four decades of dedicated auctions in this special collecting area at Christie’s.”


Leading the collection is Picasso’s vibrant Buste d’homme from 1968 offered in the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening sale on November 11 (estimate: $9,000,000-12,000,000). A bold work from his mousquetaires series, these figures were conceived as proxies through which he could explore the glories of 17th century Baroque painting and the age of Velázquez and Rembrandt. The brash qualities, ironic foibles and fabled exploits of these characters were also employed to give voice to Picasso’s own rich inner life, and to offer commentary on events of the day.

The collection features an Impressionist masterpiece in Camille Pissarro’s exquisite Jardin et poulailler chez Octave Mirbeau, Les Damps, executed in September 1892 (estimate: $4,000,000-6,000,000) when the artist spent two weeks at the country home of writer Octave Mirbeau and his wife Alice in Les Damps, France. Pissarro built up the canvas from myriad tiny touches of complementary hues — green and red, blue and orange — to create a dense tapestry of color.


The collection sale on October 16 will offer more than 150 lots of English and European furniture, silver, Meissen porcelain, as well as a charming collection of 19th century paperweights. Furniture highlights include a late 19th century Italian polychrome-decorated Scagliola table top from her New York penthouse (estimate: $7,000-10,000), a carved giltwood side table with seashell forms (estimate: $4,000-6,000) and a pair of George III blue green and white painted armchairs in the manner of John Linnell, circa 1775, from the living room at La Follia (estimate: $3,000-5,000).

Paying homage to Mrs. Kramer’s legacy as a Broadway producer are three signed drawings by Al Hirschfeld of Nick and Nora and two of Sugar Babies (each estimate: $3,000-5,000).  A group of nine Broadway show posters includes On Your Feet!, Movin' Out, West Side Story, La Cage aux Folles, Fiddler on the Roof, Evita, A Life in the Theater, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf, and will be sold as one lot.

A selection of fine art includes paintings, sculptures and works on paper by Impressionist and Modern and American artists such as Aristide Maillol, Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec, Le Pho, and Mary Cassatt among others. 


Born in New York in 1933, Terry Allen Kramer was the daughter of financier Charles Allen, Jr., who founded the prestigious Allen & Company investment firm. Kramer possessed a self-assuredness and creative flair from an early age, which she exhibited while studying at Vassar College and later in support of her productions including Kinky BootsMovin’ OutLa Cage aux FollesThe HumansHello, Dolly!, and Sugar Babies.

In later years, Kramer would attribute much of her success in theatre with an ability to manage the complexities and larger-than-life personalities of a Broadway ‘family.’ “All producers should be mothers,” she opined. “A lot of people in the theatre are children.” Indeed, it was not until the age of forty-one that Kramer produced her first show—a 1974 revival of the musical Good News —which led to a career that included five best-production Tony Award wins.

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