15-22 OCTOBERChristie’s Jewels Online AuctionBid Now
The legacy of famed hairdresser Kenneth Battelle’s 50-year career perfecting the coiffures of Hollywood and East Coast royalty lasted beyond the decades he spent at his famous townhouse salon and then at the Waldorf Astoria. During his career, Battelle rose to fame as what many deemed ‘the world’s first celebrity hairdresser’. The relationship that he established with his ‘women’ often took on a personal role – frequently becoming the devoted ears to which the stories of their intricate and often highly publicized personal lives landed. Battelle served loyal clients like Jacqueline Kennedy, whom Battelle famously gave her signature ‘washed-and-ironed’ cut, to Marilyn Monroe, whose locks he brought back to life after severe ‘over-dying’ on the set of Some Like It Hot.
What may be heretofore less known about Battelle is his fine collection of furnishings, many of which were given to him by his clients and associates. The same refined eye for style and detail that manifested itself in his work within his salon is also evident in his collection of accessories as well as his well-appointed home. No doubt, if Kenneth (as he was often referred) were around today, he would be celebrated as much for his skill with scissors as he would be his personal sense of style and dandy accoutrements. To celebrate Battelle, the ultimate beautician, Christie’s is offering a fine collection of his objects in Christie’s Jewels Online, which is open for bidding through 22 October.
Schlumberger Tiffany & Co. 'Wings' cigarette box (Lot 37), Of rectangular outline with textured gold wing pattern. Estimate $5,000-7,000.
Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger gold and leather box (Lot 40), Of rectangular outline. Estimate $1,000-2,000.
Highlights of the online auction include several Tiffany Schlumberger boxes – lot 37 (above left) is a great example of repoussé and chased gold work and is named the ‘Wings’ cigarette box, while lot 40 (above right) is more streamlined and covered in leather, an example of which is referenced in Jewels of Jean Schlumberger by Marie-Noel de Gary and Chantal Bizot.
Schlumberger lapis lazuli and turquoise dress set (Lot 41), Cufflinks designed as a lapis lazuli sphere set with cabochon turquoise, joined by gold bars to smaller spheres; three shirt studs; and two vest buttons en suite. Estimate $4,000-6,000.
Another highlight from the sale is an atypical dress set from Schlumberger (lot 41, above). The combination of turquoise and lapis lazuli is rare and seldom seen in Schlumberger pieces these days. Additionally, this piece is signed Schlumberger but not Tiffany, and has French hallmarks, which suggests they were created by the legendary designer in his earlier years at Tiffany & Co. when he could still execute and manufacture some designs in France.
Tiffany & Co. and Van Cleef & Arpels alarm clocks (Lot 48), Quartz movements, two of yellow metal signed by Tiffany & Co.; and one of white and yellow metal, signed by Van Cleef & Arpels. Estimate $1,000-1,500.
Two Cartier enamel travel alarm clocks (Lot 51), Quartz movement. One, a square dial with a black enamel Roman chapter frame in a gilt metal and blue enamel case with cover; the other, a square white dial with black Roman numerals and hands within a burgundy enamel and gilt metal case. Estimate $1,000-1,500.
Kenneth was a gentleman who also kept a very stylish home- and his forward-thinking style choices reflected his elegant taste. Kenneth clearly had a penchant for table clocks, and there are several examples of them from Cartier and Tiffany included in Christie’s Jewels Online (lots 48 and 51, above). Another gold desk clock by Schlumberger, crafted in the shape of a sea urchin, is featured in Christie’s Important Jewels Sale in New York.
Find these special pieces among a curated selection of furnishings from the collection of Kenneth Battelle in Christie’s Jewels online auction, which is open for bidding through 22 October.
Top Image Credit: © Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos; USA. New York City. US actress Marilyn Monroe and Kenneth, her hairdresser. 1961.