Main image

The Personal Collection of Dr. Everett Fahy

The former Director of the Frick’s personal collection is to be offered as a highlight of the Old Masters sale in New York — presenting an opportunity to acquire artworks with impeccable provenance at accessible price points

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. 

Dr. Everett Fahy’s New York apartment, designed by Mark Hampton

Dr. Everett Fahy’s New York apartment, designed by Mark Hampton

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.

Selected highlights from the sale
  • 1

Otto Van Veen (Leiden c. 1556-1629 Brussels), The Pentecost. Oil on copper, stamped with the makers mark of Pieter Stas and the Antwerp hand, 9½ x 12⅝ in (24.2 x 32.1 cm). Estimate $15,000-25,000. This lot is offered in Old Masters on 26 October 2016 at Christie’s in New York, Rockefeller Plaza

Otto Van Veen (Leiden c. 1556-1629 Brussels), The Pentecost. Oil on copper, stamped with the maker's mark of Pieter Stas and the Antwerp hand, 9½ x 12⅝ in (24.2 x 32.1 cm). Estimate: $15,000-25,000. This lot is offered in Old Masters on 26 October 2016 at Christie’s in New York, Rockefeller Plaza

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.

  • 2

Francesco Solimena (Canale di Serino, The Rest on the Flight into Eygpt. Oil on canvas, 12¼ x 14⅞ in (31.1 x 37.8 cm). Estimate $10,000-15,000. This lot is offered in Old Masters on 26 October 2016 at Christie’s in New York, Rockefeller Plaza

Francesco Solimena (Canale di Serino, The Rest on the Flight into Eygpt. Oil on canvas, 12¼ x 14⅞ in (31.1 x 37.8 cm). Estimate: $10,000-15,000. This lot is offered in Old Masters on 26 October 2016 at Christie’s in New York, Rockefeller Plaza

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). 

  • 3

Circle of Duccio di Buoninsegna, Saint Peter. Tempera and gold on panel, a fragment, 6⅞ x 2⅜ in (17.6 x 6.1 cm). Estimate $150,000-250,000. This lot is offered in Old Masters on 26 October 2016 at Christie’s in New York, Rockefeller Plaza

Circle of Duccio di Buoninsegna, Saint Peter. Tempera and gold on panel, a fragment, 6⅞ x 2⅜ in (17.6 x 6.1 cm). Estimate: $150,000-250,000. This lot is offered in Old Masters on 26 October 2016 at Christie’s in New York, Rockefeller Plaza

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.

  • 4

Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix, Studies of Roses and Other Flowers. Pencil on two joined sheets of paper, 10⅝ x 16⅞ in (27 x 42.9 cm). Estimate $3,000-5,000. This lot is offered in Old Masters on 26 October 2016 at Christie’s in New York, Rockefeller Plaza

Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix, Studies of Roses and Other Flowers. Pencil on two joined sheets of paper, 10⅝ x 16⅞ in (27 x 42.9 cm). Estimate: $3,000-5,000. This lot is offered in Old Masters on 26 October 2016 at Christie’s in New York, Rockefeller Plaza

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.

  • 5

A white marble bust of a boy, Circle of Antonio Rosselino, 15th Century. 8½ in high, 10 in high on base. Estimate $3,000-5,000. This lot is offered in Old Masters on 26 October 2016 at Christie’s in New York, Rockefeller Plaza

A white marble bust of a boy, Circle of Antonio Rosselino, 15th Century. 8½ in high, 10 in high on base. Estimate: $3,000-5,000. This lot is offered in Old Masters on 26 October 2016 at Christie’s in New York, Rockefeller Plaza

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.

  • 6

Attavante Degli Attavanti (1452- c. 1525), An illuminated border from a missal of Pope Leo (detail). Estimate $15,000-20,000. This lot is offered in Old Masters on 26 October 2016 at Christie’s in New York, Rockefeller Plaza

Attavante Degli Attavanti (1452- c. 1525), An illuminated border from a missal of Pope Leo (detail). Estimate: $15,000-20,000. This lot is offered in Old Masters on 26 October 2016 at Christie’s in New York, Rockefeller Plaza

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.

  • 7

A Chinese carved pale celadon jade disc, bi, late 19th20th century. 2 in diameter the disc; 4¼ in high overall. Estimate $1,000-1,500. This lot is offered in Old Masters on 26 October 2016 at Christie’s in New York, Rockefeller Plaza

A Chinese carved pale celadon jade disc, bi, late 19th/20th century. 2 in diameter the disc; 4¼ in high overall. Estimate: $1,000-1,500. This lot is offered in Old Masters on 26 October 2016 at Christie’s in New York, Rockefeller Plaza

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.