Bonhams & Butterfields June 19 Auction To Feature Designer Fashions From Actress Jennifer Jones

. June 1, 2011 . 0 Comments

Bonhams & Butterfields announce the June 19, 2011 Sunset Estate Auction featuring a large selection of designer fashions from the Estate of Academy Award®-winning actress and Chairwoman of the Norton Simon Museum, Jennifer Jones Simon. Following the firm’s successful sale of property from her professional life, included in the December 2010 auction of Entertainment Memorabilia, the sale will feature a strong offering of designs from Hermes, Salvatore Ferragamo, James Galanos, Giorgio Armani, and Gucci.

Jones was born Phylis Lee Isley in Tulsa, Okla., on March 2, 1919. Her parents owned and starred in the Isley Stock Company, a theatrical troupe that toured the Midwest. As a child she spent her summers acting, selling candy and taking tickets for the company.

After several months at Northwestern University in Chicago, Jones transferred to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. It was there she was cast as Elizabeth Barrett opposite Robert Walker’s Robert Browning in the popular stage drama “The Barretts of Wimpole Street.” The couple married and went to Hollywood on their honeymoon in 1939. They found small roles in the film industry, but chose to settle in New York and dedicate their lives to the theater.

Jones met David O. Selznick in New York when she went to read for the lead in the hit stage play “Claudia” that Selznick was planning to make into a movie. Although she did not win the role, Selznick was taken by Jones and saw a future for her in film.

It was Selznick who got Jones the role of Bernadette Soubirous, the young French peasant girl in the film version of Franz Werfel’s best-selling novel “The Song of Bernadette” (1943). Jones and the film were a hit. “The Song of Bernadette” brought the little-known actress instant fame and an Academy Award® in 1944.

Jones went on to star in successful films such as “Since You Went Away” (1944), “Love Letters” (1945), “Duel in the Sun” (1946), “Cluny Brown” (1946), “Madame Bovary” (1949) co-starring James Mason, “Ruby Gentry” with Charlton Heston (1952), John Houston’s “Beat the Devil” (1954), and “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” (1955). She was nominated for an Oscar® five times during her career.

Jones and Selznick were married in 1949. He managed his wife’s career until his death in 1965.

In 1971, Jones married Norton Simon, a multimillionaire industrialist who had turned an orange juice bottling plant into a conglomerate that included the brands of Hunt Foods and Canada Dry. Simon had retired two years earlier to focus on collecting works of art, several of which remain at the core of one of the country’s greatest private art collections, housed at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California.

Due to illness, Simon resigned as president of the museum and was succeeded by Jones, who also took the title of chairwoman. During her tenure, she oversaw a gallery renovation by noted architect Frank Gehry.

Designer fashions from the personal life of Jennifer Jones Simon offered on June 19th will include an Hermes ivory one button shawl collar jacket and pant with a lavender and ivory blouse (est. $300-500); an Armani violet velvet one button coat with a satin blouse and a velveteen pant (est. $400-600); and a Galanos long black beaded gown (est. $500-700), among others. Additionally, a strong selection of furniture, decorative arts, designer furnishings, rugs, silver, porcelain, books, and paintings from collections and Estates throughout the United States will be featured during the sale.

Preview: June 17-18, 2011, Los Angeles

Auction: June 19, 2011, Los Angeles

Category: Auction News

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