Treasures from the Clark Collection set for Christie’s summer sale



2015-06-26 10:29:58

Rare art, antiques, furniture and musical instruments from one of America’s richest families will cross the block in June.

Christie’s have announced a series of sales offering fine art and antiques from the collection of W.A. Clark – one of the wealthiest men in 19th century America.

William Andrews Clark was a self-made tycoon whose empire included railroads, banking, publishing, sugar, and timber companies. Born in a Pennsylvania log cabin in 1839, Clark made his money in copper mining (earning him the title of ‘Copper King’) and later spent six years as a U.S senator for the state of Montana.

During the 19th century he built one of the country’s finest collections of fine and decorative art, which was continued by his wife and daughter following his death in 1925. They used the vast family fortune to add antique furniture and rare musical instruments to the collection, which grew until the death of daughter Huguette Clark in 2011, at the age of 104.

Now more than 400 lots from the remarkable Clark collection are heading to auction at Christie’s, across two sales in May and June 2014.

Important European artworks by Claude Monet and Pierre August Renoir will be offered in the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in New York on May 6.

Monet’s ‘Nymphéas’, painted as part of his famous ‘Water Lilies’ series in 1907, has not been seen publically in more than 85 years and will be sold with an estimate of $25 - $35 million. It will be joined by three major paintings by Renoir, most notably the 1887 work ‘Jeunes filles jouant au volant’ estimated at $10 - $15 million.

The majority of items will be offered in a dedicated sale on June 18, entitled ‘An American Dynasty: The Clark family Treasures’. The auction will include American fine art, rare books, musical instruments, European furniture and decorative arts.

Highlights will include John Singer Sargent’s 1913 painting ‘Girl Fishing at San Vigilio’ estimated at $3 - $5 million; a rare 1857 first edition copy of Walt Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’ priced at $100,000-$150,000; a Louis XV chinoiserie mantel clock, circa 1750, valued at $100,000 - $150,000; and a historically important Stradivarius violin, made circa 1731 and owned by the French violinist Rodolphe Kreutzer - for whom Beethoven composed the famous Violin Sonata No. 9.

Lots from the collection are set to be exhibited in venues around the world over the coming months, beginning in London on February 4 and later heading to Hong Kong, Tokyo and New York. In total, the Clark Collection is expected to realize in excess of $50 million.

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