ANNA THOMPSON DODGE
When the two Dodge brothers died within months of each other in 1920, their two widows inherited interests in the car company worth a sum that in today's dollars would be more than $2 billion. Anna Thompson Dodge remarried, and in 1930 she and her new husband acquired a large property of Lake St. Clair, hiring Gilded Age architect Horace Trumbauer to build them a palatial limestone residence modeled after the Petit Trianon, dubbed Rose Terrace.
THE ROSE TERRACE COLLECTIONS
Anna and her husband spent the next two years in Europe seeking out the best French furniture and Chinese porcelains, aided by society decorators L. Alavoine & Co. and Joseph Duveen, the 1st Lord Duveen. They bought pieces supplied to Maria Feodorovna, Empress of Russia and pieces made for Fountainebleau; furniture by makers like David Roentgen and paintings by Boucher and Fragonard. It is estimated that they spent between $2 and $3 million with Duveen on this spree. At the end of Anna's very long life she left significant bequests to the Detroit Institute of Arts. The remainder of her collection was sold in a series of Christie's auctions in 1971, the pictures in London and most of the furnishings on the premises at Rose Terrace.
Augustus the Strong (1670-1733), the porcelain-obsessed Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, traded Frederick the Great a regiment of dragoons for a collection of Chinese porcelain, and ever since vases of this massive scale been known as 'dragoonervases' or 'soldier vases'. Extremely difficult to make, to pack and to ship, these vases were destined for Europe's elites, where they stood guard in ballrooms and great halls of palaces and country houses.