Bonhams New York has reported the sale of all 740 lots of the Lauren Bacall Collection, totaling £2.45m ($3.64m). Lauren Bacall was 19 when she made her screen debut in To Have and Have Not (1944) opposite Humphrey Bogart. They married soon after in 1945 and had a son and a daughter, Stephen and Leslie. Although Bogart passed away in 1957, the Bonhams auction clearly demonstrates that their romance still resonates with fans around the world, with the lots in the sale associated with Humphrey Bogart all achieving far more than their high estimates.
Two bronze sculptures by British artist, Henry Moore, which sold in November’s Impressionist and Modern auction at Bonhams New Bond Street, the final result for the entire Lauren Bacall Collection is £3.4m ($5m). More than 1,500 bidders from 34 countries took part in the highest profile auction of the season at Bonhams. Henry Moore, Britain’s greatest 20th century sculptor, was a good friend of Lauren Bacall. Bacall’s deep admiration of Moore began in the 1950s while she was living in Los Angeles, but it was not until 1975 that the actress was introduced to the sculptor by Robert Lewis of the Brook Street Gallery in London. Bacall owned a total of 34 works – sculptures, drawings and prints – by the artist. The top lot by Moore in this sale was Three-Quarter Mother and Child, which achieved £62,200 ($118,750), more than three times the high estimate. In November, Bonhams sold a bronze sculpture by Moore which had belonged to Bacall, Working Model for Reclining Figure: Bone skirt, which made £714,000 ($1.06m).
The actress, who passed away in August 2014, lived in a spacious 4,000 sq. ft. apartment in New York’s Dakota Building where almost every item in the auction was on display. Jon King, Director and Vice President at Bonhams, orchestrated the sale, and was a friend of Bacall. He said: ‘We have been humbled by the worldwide outpouring of enthusiasm for this sale. Bacall’s legacy will live on in the homes of her countless admirers.’
Top lots include: American White Pelican, an 1836 hand-coloured engraving by artist and naturalist, John James Audubon, which realised £95,000 ($173,000), almost three times its high estimate of £40,400 ($60,000). The work is from the Havell edition of The Birds of America, a book of illustrations by Audubon published between 1827 and 1838.
Two landscapes by Albert York (American, 1926-2009), titled Landscape with Trees; and A Country Fence, which achieved a world record for the artist, selling for £88,000 ($161,000).
Three-Quarter Mother and Child, a bronze sculpture by Henry Moore, which sold for £62,200 ($118,750), more than three times its high estimate.
Lauren Bacall collected art throughout her life. As she wrote in her memoir, Now: ‘I filled my house with wonderful furniture and art to satisfy my aesthetic sense and as a way of building a solid life, subconsciously thinking that all would bring me stability, permanence.’ Her superb connoisseurship was validated by the Bonhams auction.