Following on from our previous articles regarding Elizabeth Taylor’s auctions at Christies, where her jewellery and then her iconic dresses were sold off, we can now reveal that her famous art collection is for sale. The first lots from Elizabeth Taylor Collection went under the hammer at Christies in New York last December and sales from the late actress’s possessions fetched an amazing $103 million, exceeding everyone’s expectations, including the trustees. Now her personal art collection is set to be auctioned and with some 38 pieces of artwork up for sale, this auction is attracting bidders from all over the world. The reason is not just because Taylor once owned them, some of the pieces are true works of art from renowned artists.
Amongst the masterpieces will be works from Vincent Van Gogh, Munch, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cezanne, Degas, Kandinsky, Renoir, Utrillo, Picasso and Rouault. Elizabeth also loved the famous British artist – Augustus Edwin John, and she has amongst her collection ‘Poppet in Black Hat’, which John painted of his daughter. The three paintings likely to cause most the most interest and bidding are ‘Vue de L’Asile de la Chapelle de Saint-Rémy’ by Vav Gogh, with a conservative estimate of £5-£7 million; ‘Pommiers à Éragny’ by Camille Pissarro, with an estimate of £900k to £1.2m; and a self portrait by Degas, with an estimate of £350,000 to £450,000. The time to bid for these three paintings will be the evening of the 7th February, where they will be sold amongst the Impressionists and Modern Art paintings. All other paintings will be split appropriately between two sales on 8th February, Impressionists and Modern Works on Paper Sale, and Impressionists and Modern Day Sale.
It is presumed that Taylor’s love of fine art came from her father – Francis Taylor, who was an art dealer and owned an art gallery in London’s Old Bond St. Mr Taylor actually knew Augustus John and was close friends with him, buying his family home in Hampstead where Elizabeth was born in 1934. In fact, many of John’s paintings still hung from the walls when the house was sold and Elizabeth inherited them when she took the house over after her father died. With such early and strong connections to the art world, it is not surprising that Elizabeth developed a life long passion for it, especially for Impressionist and Modern Art.
The International Specialist Head of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christies, Giovanna Bertazzoni said, “Elizabeth Taylor was as passionate about buying art as she was jewels. Advised by her father, Francis Taylor, who was a very successful art dealer, she bought extensively in the 1960s, concentrating on the names of the zeitgeist: Van Gogh, Degas, Renoir, Utrillo, Rouault. She was careful to purchase pieces that were as eye-catching as the marvellous Van Gogh, as well as more demanding and academic works such as the Degas self-portrait. Having grown up surrounded by fine art and surrounded by her own canvases until the end of her life, this collection of paintings was very important to Miss Taylor and provides collectors with not only a very interesting insight into the icon herself, but also an exciting opportunity to acquire important works by leading Impressionist and Modern artists.”
Marc Porter, the Chairman and President of Christie’s Americas, has arranged for the pictures that are going to be sold from the collection, to be on view in London between 2 and 7 February.