PROPERTY FROM THE BLAIR FAMILY COLLECTION
Described by Harper’s Bazaar in October 1927 as “extremely popular in the younger fashionable set,” Mr. Wolcott Blair and Mrs. Ellen Yuille Blair were highly admired for their excellent sense of fashion and design from the 1920s through the 1960s. The Blairs often appeared in magazines and newspapers that featured fine living and society’s best dressed.
Wolcott Blair, a grandson of Chauncey Buckley Blair, who founded Merchant’s Bank of Chicago and was an early supporter of the Art Institute of Chicago, grew up in Chicago. He attended Yale College and became a successful investor. Often surrounded by noteworthy company, Mr. Blair gained notoriety in international social circles after he hosted his friend, the Duke of Windsor, in Chicago in 1924.
Ellen Yuille Blair was born in North Carolina to Nanny Long Yuille and Thomas Burks Yuille and raised in Virginia before her family moved to New York. The eldest of four famous siblings, Mrs. Blair attended the Oldfields School, where she became an accomplished equestrian and met Wallis Warfield, the future Duchess of Windsor. The two became lifelong friends. Mrs. Blair’s sister Burks married the noted American art dealer Carroll Carstairs, to whom Raoul Dufy dedicated his gouache depicting the changing of the guards at Saint James (Lot XX).
Two years after their marriage in 1926 and after the birth of their son, Watson Keep Blair, the Blairs left Chicago and divided their time between New York City, Long Island, Palm Beach, and Islesboro, Maine. It was in Palm Beach where the Blairs built a highly acclaimed home. The architect Maurice Fatio of Treanor & Fatio designed the home in 1936, and Ruby Ross Woods and Billy Baldwin decorated it. The home was admired for its clean elegance and photographed for such publications as Vogue, the Palm Beach Daily News, and Harper’s Bazaar.
Christie’s is honored to present property from the collection of Wolcott and Ellen Yuille Blair. The artwork in this collection was originally obtained by the couple and descended directly to their son, Watson Keep Blair, who proudly displayed the collection in his homes in New York City, Long Island, and Jupiter Island and who added to the collection. The collection truly embodies the elegance and sophistication of this glamorous family.