Los Angeles – Bonhams is honoured to present property from the estate of celebrated talent agent and Hollywood hostess, Sue Mengers, which will be offered as day two of the summer auction of Fine Furniture and Decorative Arts in Los Angeles on June 11-12.
For decades, Mengers was one of the entertainment industry's most powerful agents, earning a reputation as a skilled negotiator and strong rival as well as a trailblazer for women in a male-dominated field. Mengers represented a "Who's Who" of Hollywood during the 1960s-1980s, including such luminaries as Candice Bergen, Faye Dunaway, Brian De Palma, Steve McQueen, Nick Nolte, Burt Reynolds, Cybill Shepherd, Barbra Streisand and Gore Vidal.
After retiring as an agent in the late 1980s, Mengers remained as powerful and influential as ever. Her salon-like gatherings of "twinklies," as she called them, brought together a mélange of Hollywood's elite – from legends of the Silver Screen to young up-and-comers, not to mention the occasional buttoned-up entertainment executive. These fetes at her Beverly Hills home, long among the most coveted invitations in town, were among the last remnants of a glamorous age of Hollywood that today exists only as a myth.
This summer, Bonhams offers you an exclusive look inside the private world of Sue Mengers.
Like the guests at the soirees for which Mengers was so well known, the interior of the home was an eclectic mix of cultures, ages and styles that was assembled over a lifetime with her husband, noted Belgian filmmaker, Jean-Claude Tramont.
Upon entering the larger than life "Pullman doors" of Mengers' John Elgin Woolf designed Beverly Hills home, visitors were greeted by a near life-size Flemish Baroque carved walnut figure of a strolling minstrel, 17th/18th century (est. $8,000-12,000), affectionately referred to as "walnut man." Inside, the massive doors were flanked by ceiling-high display shelves holding Asian porcelains and decorative elements (estimates vary).
In the Living Room where Mengers would often hold court, the furnishings included a diverse range of antiques with a focus on the traditional yet classically modern lines of the Neoclassical era, such as an Empire style parcel ebonized burl ash commode, late 19th century/early 20th century (est. $4,000-6,000). Yet rather than large scale paintings gracing the walls, there was a preference for the warmth and texture of wall-hangings, such as a Beauvais landscape tapestry, late 17th century, by Philippe Behagle, 1641-1705 (est. $10,000-15,000).
The Dining Room, host to numerous legendary yet intimate luncheons, also hosted an important Chinese huanghuali altar table, 17th/18th century (est. $20,000-30,000) against one wall, while her celebrity guests sat on a set of six Louis Philippe carved walnut side chairs, second quarter 19th century (est. $1,200-1,800) using the late George III sterling silver part flatware service, William Eley and William Fearn, London, 1806 (est. $4,000-6,000)
The more private rooms were a mix of styles and include a Louis XVI inlaid kingwood and tulipwood secretaire a abattant, last quarter 18th century (est. $4,000-6,000); a George III carved beechwood armchair in the manner of John Linnell, fourth quarter 18th century (est. $2,000-3,000); a Charles and Ray Eames laminated walnut and leather lounge chair and ottoman, mid 20th century (est. $1,500-2,000); an Art Nouveau carved walnut chaise longue attributed to Louis Majorelle, early 20th century (est. $1,500-2,000) and a ceramic plaque titled Face with curves by Pablo Picasso, 1971 (est. $1,200-1,800) as well as a diverse range of fine art, silver and Asian furniture and decorative arts.
Of the more personal items to be offered, the auction includes a selection of signed first edition books by noted authors and cultural figures in addition to a selection of designer handbags and of course a selection of smoking articles.
The illustrated auction catalogue for this sale will be available online for review and purchase at www.bonhams.com/us in the weeks preceding the sale.
Preview: June 8-11, Los Angeles
Auction: June 11-12, Los Angeles
Press Contact: Jannelle Grigsby, firstname.lastname@example.org, (310) 567-7990
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com