Fall auction brings collections from the estates of Gloria Lowengart and Charles & Eleanor de Limur, & recently discovered highly important empire table made for the Tuileries Palace

San Francisco—Bonhams has quite the sale in store for furniture and decorative arts collectors and connoisseurs this fall, October 29 at its San Francisco showroom, timed to coincide with the separately-occurring San Francisco Fall Antiques Show.

The Fine Furniture and Decorative Arts auction will feature various-owner offerings of European antiques, including more than 70 early works of art, as well a sale within the sale of 200 lots from the Estate of San Franciscan Gloria Lowengart, comprising English and Italian furniture, important Chinese export porcelain and custom designs by American interior decorator and socialite Sister Parish.

From the various-owners portion of the sale will be an early 19th century, Imperial Empire gilt bronze mounted and parcel gilt Thuya wood console table of incredible provenance, attributed to Jacob Desmalter (est. $35,000-55,000). It is highly probable the table was made for Napoleon and Josephine's apartments at the Palais Tuileries. Since arriving to New York in the 1870s from Paris, the table has made its rounds, including being used by MGM as part of its props collection, as well as having been sold at auction by Butterfield & Butterfield in the past before becoming part of a private collection, until now.

Notable lots continue with a superb Louis XVI style gilt bronze mounted parquetry commode bearing the signature of Francois Linke (est. $35,000-55,000); a Paul Sormani commode (est. $10,000-15,000) and Sormani dressing table (est. $12,000-18,000); a pair of mid-18th century, Venetian Rococo paint decorated and scagliola consoles (est. $20,000-30,000); a pair of early 18th century, Queen Anne pier mirrors, purchased for a Frances Elkins designed residence (est. $12,000-18,000), an important Louis XVI marble statue of a bacchante and satyr by Foucou (est. $11,000-14,000) and an impressive Louis XV style breche violette fire surround from the Flood Mansion in San Francisco being sold to benefit the Schools of the Sacred Heart, San Francisco. A pair of charming Italian Rococo mirrors (est. $7,000-9,000), deaccessioned from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco to benefit its Future Acquisitions, is being offered. The English section is highlighted by an assembled pair of Regency terrestrial and celestial globes by Cary (est. $15,000-25,000) from a notable San Francisco and Napa estate.

Two new and in-demand auction categories will also make their way on to the block in this sale: Early Works of Art and Grand Tour. Early Works of Art will comprise property from the estate of Joseph Klein, collected in New York from the 1940s–1970s. The collection has been in storage for 35 years, and its highlights include a rare collection of bouilli cuir 15th-16th century boxes, early European bronze sculpture, enamels, terracotta panels, ecclesiastical objects and marble sculptures, spanning the 10th-17th centuries. The Grand Tour section will feature 40-50 wonderful examples of objects after the "antique," purchased by travellers in Europe on their obligatory "grand tour." A lot of note from this section will be an 18th century, patinated bronze allegorical group of the Nile, cast after the antique (est. $3,000-5,000).

There will also be furnishings designed by Michael Taylor from a notable California residence, including a pair of Michael Taylor Roman style planters (est. $3,000-5,000); an Anglo-Indian chandelier purchased in Burma by Michael Taylor for the client (est. 6,000-9,000); a Michael Taylor classic tinted plaster floor lamp, circa 1975 (est. $1,000-1,500); and an iconic Michael Taylor alder bench (est. $1,000-1,500).

A significant collection of French Empire gilt bronze decorative arts and furniture from a private San Francisco Estate, whose residuary beneficiary is the California Pacific Medical Centre Foundation, is also being sold. A 58-lot collection, started in the 1960s, will encompass console tables, commodes, Louis XVI mirrors, tables de milieu, clocks, wall lights and a wonderful chandelier probably by Bagues (est. $4,000-6,000). Highlights will include an unusual Napoleon III 94 inch tall gilt bronze mounted obelisk form clock (est. $7,000-9,000).

Jeffrey Smith, Vice President and Director of the Furniture and Decorative Arts Department at Bonhams, said he anticipates this sale to be of high interest to a broad range of collectors. He commented, "This two day event will offer exquisite items from nearly all areas of European connoisseurship, and almost all of these examples have not been on the market in decades."

Also of importance in the sale will be property from the Estate of Charles and Eleanor de Limur of San Francisco. The collection was started two generations ago and most items were acquired during the de Limur's long tenure living in Paris at the Palais Royale in the 1960s. Highlights from this collection will include a good pair of early 18th century, Queen Anne black japanned and parcel gilt engraved mirrors (est. $15,000-25,000), a fine set of four mid-18th century Louis XV grey painted fauteuils en cabriolet (est. $8,000-12,000), a French patinated bronze figure of a female dancer by Paul Petrovich Troubetzkoy, circa 1923 (est. $6,000-9,000) and a third quarter 18th century, Louis XV gilt bronze mounted walnut and marquetry encoignure (est. $6,000-8,000).

The sale within this sale will feature property from the Estate of Gloria Lowengart (1927-2012). Ms. Lowengart hired Sister Parish to design the interior of her Pacific Heights home in the early 1980s. Sister Parish (Dorothy May Kinnicutt), 1910-1994, was a most important American interior designer who decorated the family rooms of the White House for former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Comfort, class and charm are signature trademarks of the Parish look.

Two years after the completion of Sister Parish's interior for Ms. Lowengart in 1984, the offered furnishings were placed in storage. They have remained in original, untouched condition as if they were preserved in a time capsule. They will include a fine pair of mid-18th century, George III giltwood girandole mirrors (est. $8,000-12,000); a mid-18th century, George III mahogany silver table (est. $6,000-8,000); a pair of Venetian Rococo paint decorated armchairs (est. $4,000-6,000); and several pairs of Parish signature chintz upholstered club chairs ($1,200-1,800).

Nearly half of the Lowengart collection will include important Chinese export porcelain, such as a massive, Kangxi period, famille enamelled porcelain figural bowl (est. $15,000-25,000); a pair of Yongzheng period, famille rose enamelled porcelain soup plates (est. $12,000-15,000); and a Kangxi period, famille verte enamelled deep dish of a beauty (est. $10,000-15,000).

The sale's illustrated catalogue will be available online in the weeks preceding it, for review and purchase at www.bonhams.com.

Auction Preview: October 26-29, San Francisco
Auction: October 29, San Francisco


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

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