Saturday, November 16, 2019

Lee Radziwill & A Collection of Sophisticated Connoisseurship

Although I didn't grow up during the times of Camelot, I don't think there's anyone who is not at least somewhat familiar with the innocence, style and wit of what is known of the time during which the Kennedys lived the American version of royal life.

And the person who had a front row seat was Lee Radziwill, dearest sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis.

With the death of Radziwill this year, it truly symbolized a time that will never be again.

But luckily, select pieces from Lee Radziwill's estate were put up for auction last month by the stewards at Christie's.

‘Lee’s taste and style stands alone as a global symbol of sophistication and connoisseurship,’ says Christie’s Chairman Marc Porter, ‘embodying the elegance of a more glamorous era.’

What is so interesting to me about estates that go to auction is that they remind us of a different time when home, art and furniture purchases were transacted with a generational mindset. Meaning, pieces were meticulously collected so that the value would stand the test of time to be inherited by the next generation as objects of ancestral assets that told of the family's history.

Sure, the Radziwills of the world only purchased what gave them joy and reflected their authentic aesthetics on life but IKEA did not exist in collections whereas the buyer was intent on the meaningful interpretation of their collective life.

While I perused the catalogue of "The Collection of Lee Radziwill", the thing that struck me just as much as the catalogue of Betsy Bloomingdale (A Life in Style) is how refined every object was of such an esteemed style and host icon.

IKEA-generation, fast fashion, non-intentional buyers need not apply.

"I abhor the American idea of starting with a tabula rasa every few years and getting rid of everything. When I buy something, I do so with the intention of keeping it forever." -Lee Radziwill

Refinement is not something that can be easily mix-mashed.

Refinement can only come from an authentic place, that has brave style, life long, and original.

Lot #1078 Circular Indian Silk Tablecloth (matched to wallpaper)

As a matter of fact, quotes by and about Lee Radziwill say it best:

On Authenticity: "I have passed through the stages of ambition and I think the most serene feeling is to know you are being true to yourself." - Lee Radziwill response to Andy Warhol's inquire about her ultimate ambition

On Style: "If I can really be said to have a personal style, I think it is reflected in my taste for the exotic and the unexpected." - Lee Radziwill

Life Long: Lee Radziwill's status as an icon of taste and style was built upon a lifetime in art, culture and society. - Christie's

Original: "She told me she'd never had an Hermes bag or silk scarf in her life. Everyone else carried them, so to her they were common." -Andre' Leon Talley

Lot #1017 Set of 15 Indian Reverse Painted Glass Pictures

To live a lifestyle worthy of a curated Christie's auction is one that inspires and opens the eyes to how a person lived with treasures that went beyond just buying.

Curated objects tell us all a story of a life that will forever be encapsulated.

Not in a museum.

But pieces big (furniture) and small (jewelry) in hopes that the same Camelot magic can infuse our lives with something just as spectacular.

Lot #1148 Three Enamel Bangle Bracelets (Hermes)

Lot #1119 North European Rosewood Side Chair 

Lot #1077 Pair of French Upholstered Club Chairs

Or, as Martina Mondadori (August 2019) said: "This is how I want to remember Lee, walking on flowers. A testament and inspiration for my generation and futures ones to come.  Keep it simple, but don't settle for mediocrity."

For information on the results and prices realized from the Christie's "The Collection of Lee Radziwill" auction, go HERE.

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