ALL BACALL AT BONHAMS: Unapologetically her own person, Lauren Bacall’s style is very much on display at Bonhams Madison Avenue location, where 700-plus lots will go on under the gavel on March 31 and April 1.
Never one for a stylist, interior decorator or image maker of any kind, the Oscar-winning actress knew what she liked and shopped accordingly. Throughout her life, Bacall, who died in August at age 89, amassed a collection of art, antiques and personal adornments that once hung in her nine-room apartment in The Dakota that she shared with Jason Robards. Now her children Stephen and Leslie Bogart and Sam Robards have put the Henry Moores, Picassos, Hockneys, Miros and Calders in a 740-lot sale that is expected to generate upwards of $3 million. Amidst the Audubon prints, and French and English 18th and 19th century furniture is a hefty assortment of Louis Vuitton and Goyard luggage, Chanel and Giorgio Armani jackets and Jean Schlumberger-designed jewels. Like many of her favorite artists and designers, Bacall befriended Schlumberger (who got his start making jewelry for Elsa Schiaparelli’s couture collection before linking up with Tiffany & Co.) and he always personally signed her pieces. A signature look was pairing two 18K yellow gold ropework Schlumberger bracelets, according to Bonhams’ Susan Fibel Abeles who said, “She bought her own jewelry. She was a very strong woman. Her jewelry complemented her; it didn’t substantiate her,” before gesturing toward a nearby pillow with the needlepointed message, “If they can put one man on the moon, why not all of them?”
Jean Muir jumpsuits, an Yves Saint Laurent wool cape and Armani pantsuits will also go under the gavel. “There was always a personal connection with everything she bought,” Abels said. The New Yorker also favored more under-the-radar designers such as contemporary American jewelers Darlene de Sedle and Amy Moss. Personal connections can be seen throughout the sale, from an ice bucket from her Broadway run in “Goodbye Charlie” to a patinated bronze figure of her first husband Humphrey Bogart, a Hockney-inscribed book and Bill Clinton’s 1993 personal post-inaugural thank you note with a Maya Angelou poem.
In her memoir “Now,” Bacall described her possessions with, “I filled my house with wonderful furniture and art to satisfy my aesthetic sense and as a way of building a solid life, surrounding myself with antiques, tradition, subconsciously thinking that all that would bring me stability, permanence.”