Bloomberg – The late actress Lauren Bacall’s collection of paintings, sculpture, jewelry and furniture sold for $3.6 million at Bonhams in New York.
All 740 lots sold in the two-day auction that ended Wednesday and attracted more than 1,500 bidders from 34 countries, Bonhams said.
Along with two bronze sculptures by British artist Henry Moore that sold in November’s Impressionist and modern auction, the entire collection fetched $5 million.
Collectors are drawn to the perceived status of owning possessions that once belonged to well-known Americans. The November auction of Rachel “Bunny” Lambert Mellon’s estate fetched $218.1 million at Sotheby’s in New York. More than 5,000 visitors in one week viewed the possessions of the socialite, who was married to the late banking heir Paul Mellon. Bacall’s name attracted similar attention.
“Most of what you’re seeing is the icon bump, the Hollywood premium,” said Patrick Meade, chief executive officer of Bonhams U.S., said in an interview.
The top lot was “American White Pelican,” an 1836 hand-colored engraving by naturalist John James Audubon that fetched $173,000, almost three times its high estimate of $60,000.
The actress, who memorably told Humphrey Bogart how to whistle in her 1944 movie debut – “You just put your lips together and blow” – died in August at age 89.
Bacall and Bogart starred together in that film, “To Have and Have Not” (1944). Only 19, she had an off-screen romance with Bogart, then 44. The next year he divorced his third wife to marry her.
Bacall, who was married to Bogart for 12 years until his death in 1957, kept many of his possessions, including a steamer trunk stamped with his initials that sold for $47,500. Its high estimate was $1,500.
A bronze statue of him dressed as his character Rick Blaine from “Casablanca” fetched $16,250, more than 20 times its high estimate of $800. Bogart’s brass inset black granite game table went for $26,250.
“Three-Quarter Mother and Child on Round Base,” a sculpture by Moore, sold for $118,750. Bacall admired the artist and said meeting him was a “high point of my life,” according to Bonhams. The two other Moore sculptures from Bacall’s estate sold for a combined $1.3 million in November.
Bacall also had a vast jewelry collection. An 18-carat gold, diamond, amethyst and turquoise ring designed by Jean Schlumberger sold for $50,500. A 14-carat yellow gold long chain by Tiffany & Co. sold for $52,500 against an estimate of $6,000 to $9,000.
Proceeds from the sale go to her children, Stephen and Leslie Bogart and Jason Robards, said Vyoma Venkataraman, a spokeswoman for Bonhams. The sale was a selection of items from her estate, Venkataraman said.