Bonhams New York to Spotlight Estate Sales

On September 16th, collectors will be offered the opportunity to bid for a wide variety of Asian and European furniture and decorative arts, paintings, prints, rugs and carpets from the Park Avenue estate of Laura Speiser. Complementing this offering will be an extensive array of European furniture, decorative arts, paintings and prints from a Coconut Grove, Florida private collection. Over 500 lots in many categories and price points will cross the auction block in the single-day sale.

The morning session will be devoted to offerings from the Park Avenue residence of the late Laura Speiser. The mid-town pre-war building was designed by Emory Roth; the classic nine-room Speiser apartment was designed by noted New York interior designer Jamie Drake. A noted ceramicist, Laura Speiser’s work was included in many international exhibitions. The furnishings of her home clearly reflect her artistic sensibilities as well as her particular passion for Chinese ceramics.

Highlighting this auction is a large collection of Tang Dynasty horses, camels, guardian figures, and military officials. Amongst these is a massive, Chinese amber-glazed pottery camel estimated at $12,000-15,000 and a pair of Chinese sancai glazed civil and military officials estimated at $4,000-6,000.

Mrs. Speiser also maintained a keen interest in the works of fellow contemporary American artists including Leonard Baskin, Romare Bearden, and Kay Hoffman. Among the many Baskin works are two significant patinated bronze sculptures titled Theusus (est. $8,000-12,000, above left) and Iphegenia and Jepthas’ Daughter (est. $6,000-9,000, above right); Romare Bearden’s colorful print, Carolina Memory, (est. $2,000-3,000); and Hoffman’s carved marble figure of a seated woman (est. $200-300).

Mrs. Speiser’s eclectic furniture collection consisted primarily of American Empire, Art Deco and Scandinavian Biedermeier pieces dating from the 19th and 20th centuries; of particular note is a rare Carlo Bugatti room divider created circa 1900. Estimated at $7,000-10,000, the Moorish fruitwood and ebonized wood, pewter, copper and brass inlaid room divider is sure to inspire competitive bidding.

Property from the Coconut Grove private collection will be offered during the afternoon session. The contents of the sprawling Mediterranean waterfront residence designed by famed architect Walter De Garmo in 1931 features a number of European paintings dating from the 19th century, as well as English, French, Italian, Scandinavian and Burmese furniture and decorative arts.

Sure to be among the most sought after of the furniture lots will be a rare, Swedish Neoclassical parcel-gilt mahogany pier mirror and console. Executed by the esteemed maker PG Bylander circa 1820, the piece is estimated at $18,000-25,000. Additionally, bidders will be drawn to an exceptional George III style mahogany bookcase, the lockplate stamped by the exclusive firm of Gillows, Lancaster– the bookcase carries a pre-sale estimate of $5,000-8,000.

Many exceptional works of fine art will be offered, including a painting by George Percy R. E. Jacomb-Hood (British, 1857-1937) titled The Betrothal (est. $10,000-15,000) and a rare aquatint, etching, and carborundum executed by Joan Miro (Spanish, 1893-1983) in 1969 entitled Le Dandy (est. $10,000-15,000).

Previews will take place at Bonhams’ New York galleries from September 11th to September 15th. The Laura Speiser estate auction will begin at 10AM on Thursday, September 16th; the Coconut Grove private collection auction will take place later that day at 2PM. The illustrated auction catalog will be online at in the weeks preceding the preview and auction. For more information about the department, please visit

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