One of the most spectacular views of New York City can be enjoyed from the 56th floor of the Met Life Building, which towers over Grand Central Station and Park Avenue. Since its founding in 1963 by a group of prominent businessmen, this has been the home of the Sky Club, a private dining club that also provides a veritable feast for the eyes with its stunning bird's-eye vista of Manhattan. Unexpectedly, the Sky Club also offered a different and more intimate visual treat with its collection of antiques and American folk art paintings housed in a series of rooms inspired by Colonial America. Now that the Sky Club is closing, Christie's is honored to be selling the folk paintings which were originally collected by one of the Club's founding members, Colonel Edgar Garbisch (1899-1979) and his wife, Bernice Chrysler (1907-1979).
The Garbisch's are well remembered for their collecting prowess and especially for the nearly 2500 American folk paintings they amassed beginning in 1946. What began as an appropriate decorating theme for their country home, "Pokety," in Maryland's eastern shore turned into a lifetime quest for the naïve art of eighteenth and nineteenth century America. More than 300 works of art were gifted to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
The Sky Club collection encompasses the range of the Garbisch's interest in American Folk Art from portraiture to scenes of domestic and rural life to still-life, sports and seascapes. Together, these paintings offer an opportunity to remember and celebrate two great collectors who helped bring new insight, understanding and appreciation to the field of American folk art.