Bonhams To Auction Property Of Harry Denton

The December 8 Period Art & Design auction at Bonhams in San Francisco will feature a collection of fresh to market property from several prominent estates and collections across the US, including property from the collection of the fabulous Harry Denton.

Lot 5009 AFTER PIETER BRUEGHEL THE ELDER Winter landscape with skaters and a bird trap 15 1/2 x 22 1/2in

Lot 5009 AFTER PIETER BRUEGHEL THE ELDER Winter landscape with skaters and a bird trap 15 1/2 x 22 1/2in

Mr. Denton is a famed restaurateur and nightclub owner whose larger than life personality has long epitomized the vibrancy of San Francisco’s nightlife scene. He opened various venues in San Francisco, including Harry Denton’s Rouge, Harry’s on Fillmore and Harry’s Southside on Folsom Street. He also partnered with Bill Kimpton in the 1990s to open Harry Denton’s Bar and Grill on Steuart Street. Most notable, however, was the Starlight Room, atop the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, that he opened in 1995 along with Bill Kimpton. He had set out to open the most elegant nightclub in the city “between the stars and the cable cars.”

Mr. Denton is well-known for his philanthropic efforts in San Francisco. He has supported homeless mothers of San Francisco with Hamilton House; he served as a committee member for the Black and White Ball; and he has hosted charity events for Toys for Tots, Meals on Wheels and the STOP AIDS Project. No less than four mayors of the city have honored Mr. Denton with an official “Harry Denton Day.” Bonhams is very pleased to offer property from Mr. Denton who is downsizing his collection.

Forty lots will be on offer from Mr. Denton’s collection, including a 20th century, Neoclassical style gilt metal and cut glass chandelier, estimated at $1,500; a Strich & Zeidler black lacquered grand piano, estimated at $600; a pair of Empire style parcel ebonized and gilt bergeres, estimated at $500; and an oil on canvas portrait of Mr. Denton, himself, signed Epting and dated 1982, estimated at $500. The collection additionally includes other stylish furnishings and decor, mirrors, books, celebrity memorabilia and personal memoirs, including five framed autographs and photographs of Mr. Denton with various celebrities, estimated at $500.

From the various owners’ portion of the sale, a wide offering of paintings, prints, photographs, rugs, silver, jewelry, timepieces, and decorative arts and furniture of all periods and styles, will be offered.

On special highlight will be a great selection of 19th century European paintings, including an oil on canvas attributed to French artist Charles Clément Calderon (1870-1906), entitled “L’entrée dans le Grand Bassin, Venise,” estimated at $6,000-8,000.

Fine photography by Brett Weston, Jock Sturges, Imogen Cunningham and others, will be offered. There will also be several Ansel Adams works available, including a gelatin silver print of “Moon and Half Dome, Yosemite National Park,” c. 1960, estimated at $3,000-5,000.

Adding dazzle to the sale will be approximately 400 lots of jewelry and watches, including two unique diamond and gold painted panels by William Tolliday for Garrard, 1970, entitled “Alpine Village” and “Acropolis in Athens,” estimated at $1,000-1,500; a carved opal and 14k gold heart pendant depicting a swan, estimated at $800-1,000; and a collection of three diamond and 18k gold brooches by Tiffany & Co., (with two also by Angela Cummings) of a seagull, feather and ginko, estimated at $1,200-1,500.

Rounding out the sale will be a 12ft 5in. x 17ft. Tabriz carpet, estimated at $6,500-7,500, and a late 19th century, Napoleon III, gilt bronze mounted lacquer side cabinet, estimated at $1,500-2,500.

For more information on the auction or to view or purchase a catalog, please visit