THE VON OPPENHEIMS
PROPERTY OF THE VON OPPENHEIM TRUST
FROM THE COLLECTION OF TEX AND NANN VON OPPENHEIM, NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA
The following thirty-five lots represent a selection of fine pieces from the collection of predominantly 19th Century French furniture and decorative art assembled principally during the 1970s by Tex and Nann Von Oppenheim for their Newport Beach home.
Born in Warsaw, Stephen Von Oppenheim was captured by and escaped from both the Nazis and the Russians, before settling in Paris after the Second World War. There he graduated from the Beaux Arts School of Architecture and later with a Masters degree in Naval Engineering from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure du Génie Maritime. So impressed by the grand scale of his architectural achievements in post-war Paris, the Americans jokingly assumed Von Oppenheim to be a Texan, consequently dubbing him 'Tex', a name which became official when he gained US citizenship in 1959. His reputation preceding him, Tex Von Oppenheim held chief designer positions for leading architectural firms in New York, Michigan and Los Angeles, winning numerous awards for his earthquake resistant buildings, which his observation of war-time bomb damage and training as a naval engineer enabled him to design.
A native of Akron, Ohio, Nann Von Oppenheim was awarded various art and design related degrees from the Cleveland School of Art, Columbia University, Queens College, Cooper Union and UCLA. She worked as a fashion and freelance artist and as a television actress in New York and Hollywood, appearing under the stage name Nancy Brown in Bob Hope Specials, the Donna Reed Show, and in commercials for General Motors, General Foods, Crest, DuPont, Texaco and others.
Together, Tex and Nann Von Oppenheim shared a love for beautiful architecture and fine art. Their wonderful collection, gathered from auctions and antique dealers in their home state of California, from trips to New Orleans and stays in Paris, where they kept an apartment, represents many of the major styles revived and re-interpreted during the second half of the 19th century and includes pieces by some of its best makers.