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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Sister Parish designs and fine European antiques for auction at Bonhams

Bonhams has announced a furniture and decorative arts collectors and shoppers auction on October 29 at its San Francisco showroom, timed to coincide with the separately-occurring San Francisco Fall Antiques Show.

The Fine Furniture and Decorative Arts auction will feature various-owner offerings of European antiques, including more than 70 early works of art, as well a sale within the sale of 200 lots from the Estate of San Franciscan Gloria Lowengart, comprising English and Italian furniture, important Chinese export porcelain and custom designs by American interior decorator and socialite Sister Parish.

Francois Linke gilt bronze mounted marquetry commode

From the various-owners portion of the sale will come such notable lots as a Francois Linke gilt bronze mounted marquetry commode (est. $35,000-55,000); a pair of mid-18th century, Venetian Rococo paint decorated and scagliola consoles (est. $20,000-30,000); and a pair of early 18th century, Queen Anne pier mirrors, purchased for a Frances Elkins designed residence (est. $12,000-18,000).

There will also be two new, in-demand auction categories on offer within the sale: Early Works of Art and Grand Tour. Early Works of Art will comprise a private estate collection of more than 70 examples of early European bronze sculpture, enamels, terracotta panels, ecclesiastical objects and marble sculptures, spanning the 10th-17th centuries – all of which have been in storage for nearly 30 years. The Grand Tour section will feature 40-50 wonderful examples of objects after the “antique,” purchased by travelers in Europe on their obligatory “grand tour.” A lot of note from this section will be an 18th century, patinated bronze allegorical group of the Nile, cast after the antique (est. 3,000-5,000).

Jeffrey Smith, Vice President and Director of the Furniture and Decorative Arts Department at Bonhams, said he anticipates this sale to be of high interest to a broad range of collectors. He commented, “This two day event will offer exquisite items from nearly all areas of European connoisseurship, and almost all of these examples have not been on the market in decades.”

The sale within this sale will feature property from the Estate of Gloria Lowengart (1927-2012). Ms. Lowengart hired Sister Parish to design the interior of her Pacific Heights home in the early 1980s. Sister Parish (Dorothy May Kinnicutt), 1910-1994, was a most important American interior designer who decorated the family rooms of the White House for former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Comfort, class and charm are signature trademarks of the Parish look.

Two years after the completion of Sister Parish’s interior for Ms. Lowengart in 1984, the offered furnishings were placed in storage. They have remained in original, untouched condition as if they were preserved in a time capsule. They will include a fine pair of mid-18th century, George III giltwood girandole mirrors (est. $8,000-12,000); a mid-18th century, George III mahogany silver table (est. $6,000-8,000); a pair of Venetian Rococo paint decorated armchairs (est. $4,000-6,000); and several pairs of Parish signature chintz upholstered club chairs ($1,200-1,800).

Nearly half of the collection will include important Chinese export porcelain, such as a massive, Kangxi period, famille enameled porcelain figural bowl (est. $15,000-25,000); a pair of Yongzheng period, famille rose enameled porcelain soup plates (est. $12,000-15,000); and a Kangxi period, famille verte enameled deep dish of a beauty (est. $10,000-15,000).

Also of importance in the sale will be a collection of French Empire furniture and decorative arts from a private San Francisco estate. The collection will feature Napoleonic period furnishings, fine gilt bronze clocks, wall lights, urns, porcelains, furniture and related classical materials. Examples from the collection will include a pair of very fine Empire gilt bronze wall lights (est. $7,000-9,000); an imposing Napoleon III gilt bronze and mahogany regulateur clock (est. $7,000-9,000); and a rare Empire gilt bronze urn form mantel clock (est. $6,000-8,000).

The sale’s illustrated catalog will be available online in the weeks preceding it, for review and purchase at