Sale of the Noel and Harriette Levine Collection on January 17, 2018
Exceptional Collection of Asian Works of Art and Important English Furniture and Decorations
Contents of the Levine's Elegant Apartment on New York's Park Avenue and Their Country House in Bedford, New York
NEW YORK; NY -- Doyle began the New Year with the auction of The Noel and Harriette Levine Collection on January 17, 2018. This remarkable collection comprised Asian works of art and important English furniture and decorations from the Levines' elegant apartment on Park Avenue and their country house in Bedford, New York.
With international competitive bidding in the saleroom, on the telephones and via the Internet, the auction totaled $1,614,781 against an estimate of $1,396,950-2,147,150, with a robust 89% sold by lot and by value.
Highlighting the sale was an exceptional Tibetan hammered and cast gilt bronze figure of Tara that achieved a remarkable $187,500. Tara is a bodhisattva in Tibetan Buddhism representing virtuous and enlightened activity, the goddess of universal compassion. The bronze depicts Tara seated in dhyanasana atop a cloisonné double lotus base, her hands held in dhyanamudra. Her bare chest is adorned with a turquoise inset tiered necklace, with further armlets, anklets and bracelets. She wears a separately cast and turquoise-inset five-leaf crown, her hair gathered into a tiered top-knot, as celestial scarves billow around her shoulders and arms.
Also attracting international competition was a pair of Chinese export polychrome-decorated clay nodding head figures measured 21 inches in height. With spirited bidding, the figures soared past their estimate of $40,000-60,000 to fetch $162,500 -- a probable World Auction Record for a pair of nodding head figures. The first known example of similar figures appears in a European 1777 inventory, where they are described as “china dolls.” They illustrate the incredible fascination that Europeans had for Chinese objects and helped to educate them about Chinese life and society.
Furniture in the Levine Collection featured a handsome pair of George II walnut armchairs that sold for $162,500. The armchairs once formed part of a larger suite at Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire, England. Wimpole Hall was altered by the Palladian architect Henry Flitcroft, who created a sixty-foot long gallery in the west wing in 1742, for which the suite would have been commissioned.
Noel and Harriette Levine
Generous patrons of the arts, Noel and Harriette Levine were longtime donors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, both of which have galleries named in their honor. They donated their extensive and renowned collection of Photographs to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, whose Photography Department bears their name.
Mr. Levine served as Board Member and Trustee to a number of cultural and arts organizations, including serving as Chairman of the National Trustees of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC. Mrs. Levine was active in the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies. This non-profit, non-partisan organization is dedicated to enhancing the United States’ image abroad through contributions of American art to our embassies around the world.
The Levine Collection was assembled by consummate connoisseurs. Mrs. Levine was a stylish and sophisticated interior designer, who possessed a discerning eye for quality and had unerring judgement in her choice of the best, whether it be furnishings or jewelry.
Jewelry from the Levine Collection
Jewelry from the Noel and Harriette Levine Collection offers a dazzling array of creations by such prestigious makers as Van Cleef & Arpels, David Webb and Cartier. Jewelry and Fine Watches will be offered in the sales of Fine Jewelry on February 21 and Important Jewelry on April 24.