Ann Getty’s exquisite handbags are up for auction at Christie’s
A love story filled with both quiet creativity and utter opulence is what comes to mind when remembering the lives of Ann and Gordon Getty. Together, the couple were philanthropists and benefactors of the arts, as well as avid art collectors, auction house royalty and respected socialites. Individually, Mr. Getty was an award-winning composer who changed the landscape of classical music for the better, and Mrs. Getty was an interior designer with the most exquisite taste, from rugs to jewelry to handbags. and the money to spend on them. .
Two years after Ms Getty’s death, prestigious New York auction house Christie’s is holding four evening and daytime sales, as well as online sales, of the style and design icon’s most prized possessions : from fine art to furniture, including textiles, jewelry and unique handbags. All proceeds will go to the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation for the Arts, dedicated to supporting arts and science organizations.
Harper’s BAZAAR was among the first to view the luxurious collection of handbags, which includes around 50 rare pieces from Hermès, Chanel, Dior, Judith Leiber, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari and other designers.
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The colorful Bulgari piece is encrusted with vibrant gemstones, showing Ms. Getty’s love for jewelry; while the ornate Dior bags, with their intricate animal and floral embroidery and delicate beading, reflect her love of nature, ornate patterns and textures – all themes that were also present in the wallpaper and furniture in her home. of San Francisco, and in her wardrobe.
The collection also includes several Hermès Kellys and Birkins, and various limited edition pieces, such as the Hermès Sac Sequana.
Estimates range from less than $1,000 to $10,000, but due to the immense interest in Ms Getty it is impossible to say how much they will end up selling at auction.
“When you look at these bags, it’s obvious that the same people who created these beautiful homes and collections of decorative art and furniture would also collect handbags that looked like these,” said Rachel Koffsky, international manager handbags at Christie’s. BAZAAR. “It’s actually a really beautiful window into Mrs. Ann Getty’s eyes, because they’re so representative of the things she loved – her travels, her love of texture and color, the themes of flora and the fauna, the embroidery, the know-how.”
Mrs. Getty, says Koffsky, organized her life – her home, her wardrobe – in a way that seems natural today, but at the time it was very new. This tapestry of his life is recreated in Christie’s auctions, which are organized by era and aesthetic rather than product category.
“Ms. Ann Getty was always in style, with beautiful handbags, at incredible events. She was a philanthropist – whether she went to the opera or the Philharmonic, she had these beautiful handbags with her,” Koffsky says. “So when you buy a piece like this, you really get a piece of her heritage. And that’s also what’s so fantastic, because often when you buy a piece of art or a piece of furniture, you have it in your house, but they are pieces that you can wear, you can represent your love for these iconic characters (the Gettys) every day.
And when you buy a handbag like the Kelly or the Birkin, you’re also buying an investment piece that will be just as fashionable 20 years from now as it was 20 years ago when it was bought by Mrs. Getty, and probably even more. valuable.
Christie’s has become synonymous with precious works of art and jewelry, which often leads people to believe that anything auctioned is out of their price range and impossible to acquire, Koffsky says, but what is exciting with the Getty sales is that they bring in a whole new and diverse clientele, probably much younger than what Christie’s is used to.
“What I find fascinating about the handbag department is that for many customers it’s their first time at Christie’s. We rank in more new customers than any other department because handbags are such an accessible item,” Koffsky says. “As a woman, I’m sure you feel very comfortable buying a handbag for yourself, more than you would buying a huge table or your first photo. So it’s really an opportunity to teach a lot of customers how to bid, how to access, how to talk to a specialist. But this sale is also an entry point into the life of the Gettys – their journey as a collector and the pieces they have kept over the decades they have collected together.
From October 15-23, the collection will be on display in New York and open to the public, while online auctions, such as handbags and jewelry, will remain open for auction for approximately two weeks.