Chauncey Devereux Stillman (1907-1989) was the scion of one of America’s great banking families — the grandson of James Stillman, who was chairman of National City Bank, which later became Citibank. A philanthropist, collector and conservator, Chauncey D. Stillman built Wethersfield, an acclaimed neo-Georgian house and farm covering more than 1,200 acres in Dutchess County, 90 miles north of Manhattan. After his death in 1989, Wethersfield was opened to the public.
The Collection of Chauncey D. Stillman will be offered at Christie’s across a series of sales this spring, with proceeds benefitting the Wethersfield Foundation, established in 1938 by Mr. Stillman to maintain the house, formal gardens and Carriage House Museum.
The 16 works by artists including Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent will be included in the Old Masters sale on 27 April, the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening and Day sales on 15-16 May, and American Art on 23 May — all in New York — with additional sales later this year.
‘We are gratified that the sale of these works will benefit the Wethersfield Foundation and the vision of my grandfather. We are also pleased at the prospect of a new audience, and the greater enjoyment of these treasures,’ commented Tara Shafer, Trustee at The Wethersfield Foundation.
Highlights of the collection include highly prized Old Master paintings and drawings, led by Nicolas Lancret’s outstanding Autumn, one of four allegories of the seasons painted during the artist’s career-making commission from his patron Jean-François Leriget de la Faye (1674-1731). It depicts scenes of merrymaking which reference the story of Bacchus and Pomona.
Religious paintings from the Renaissance period also form an important part of the collection. Francesco Raibolini Francia’s early 16th-century Saint Barbara and Lorenzo di Credi’s Portrait of a Gentleman, from the same period, which both feature in the April Old Masters sale, testify to Stillman’s profound faith.
A delightful portrait, L’Enfant au chien by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, is offered in the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale, and two drawings by Edgar Degas will be offered in the Impressionist & Modern Works on Paper sale. Maritime paintings by James E. Buttersworth, an inherited canvas by Mary Cassatt — a friend of the Stillman family — and a portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Charles Stuart round out the American Art highlights.