Flemish artist active in Northern Italy, 16th Century - identified as the Monogrammist 'MO', A view of a villa with acrobats and gentlefolk, signed with monogram and dated 'M D/LXVI' on pedestal (lower left) oil on canvas, 67¼ x 93 in. (170.8 x 236.2 cm.) Estimate: $600,000 - 800,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2009.
NEW YORK, NY.- This October, Christie's presents a special collection of fine art and furnishings from the Manhattan residence of the late Mr. William F. Reilly, a prominent philanthropist, collector, and former chief executive officer and chairman of the publishing firm Primedia.Full catalogue here. This superb collection of important 18th and 19th century furniture, rare antiquities, Old Master paintings, and decorative items was primarily housed in Mr. Reilly's Sutton Square townhouse, located in one of Manhattan's most fashionable neighborhoods. The three-story house with its dramatic river views and impeccably-designed interiors has been profiled in House & Garden and Architectural Digest, among other publications. The complete collection of over 230 items is expected to realize in excess of $5 million.
To build the collection, the late Mr. Reilly worked with top New York antiques consultant and interior designer Timothy Whealon. Over the course of 12 years, Whealon scoured auction houses, dealers, antiques fairs, and art galleries to create a refined collection of rare works of art and antiques. For the sale preview, Christie's will re-assemble the bulk of the collection just as it appeared in the main rooms of Mr. Reilly's home, even using a similar color palette as the one that Whealon chose for the walls.
"The overall design aesthetic was conceived as a modern take on the great English country houses," said Whealon. "Mr. Reilly was an educated connoisseur with a deep interest in European history and the classics. To reflect that, we grounded the collection with excellent examples of English, Irish, and Continental furniture and complimented them with Greek and Roman antiquities, and paintings by the early 18th century Italian masters. Modernist touches in the form of lamps, occasional tables, and small decorative items kept the whole looking fresh and relevant, and remarkably easy for someone to live with."
The Reilly collection is highlighted by several extraordinary furnishings from prominent British houses, including a Regency Ormolu and Black Slate Mantel Clock, no. 538 (estimate: $40,000-60,000) by Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy, London’s pre-eminent luxury goods producer in the early 19th century. The clock was ordered by the Prince of Wales for his Royal residence at Carlton House, St. James’s, London and delivered in 1815. A George III Mahogany Cabinet-On- Chest (estimate: $200,000-400,000) features an arched cornice, paneled doors and four graduated drawers accented with carved ionic columns and a Greek key design on the façade. This extraordinary 18th century cabinet bears the penciled signature of William Hallett, one of the most well-regarded cabinetmakers to England’s royal families. It is believed this magnificent cabinet was commissioned by Sir Charles Kerneys Tynte, 5th Baronet, for Halswell Park, Bridgwater, Somerset.
From Hamilton Palace, the largest and most majestic of Scotland’s country houses, comes a pair of English Ormolu-Mounted Satinwood-Inlaid Walnut Stools (estimate: $60,000-100,000) that were once part an extensive marquetry suite. Based on inventories of palace furnishings, it is believed that one stool dates from the original suite that was likely commissioned by James Hamilton, 4th Duke of Hamilton, or by his son James, circa 1710-1720. The second stool was likely commissioned in the early 19th century by the 10th Duke to extend the suite. In later years, the pair was purchased by Sunlight Soap magnate William Lever, the 1st Viscount Leverhulme, and became part of his storied collection at The Hill, his residence in Hampstead.
A pair of George II Walnut and Figured Walnut Open-Armchairs from circa 1730 (estimate: $250,000-400,000) bears the ducal coronet of the Astley family, and are part of a set believed to have been ordered by Sir Phillip Astley, 2nd Baronet (d.1739) or his son Sir Jacob Astley, 3rd Baronet (d. 1760). A Regency Brass-Mounted Ebonized and Specimen Marble Side Table (estimate: $70,000-100,000) features a top veneered with a grid of multi-colored Italian marble specimens. This unique table from circa 1800 is believed to have been acquired on the Grand Tour by the notable art patron and connoisseur Edward, Viscount Lascelles (d. 1814).
Among the excellent examples of Continental furniture in the collection is a Pair of Italian Giltwood Side Tables (estimate: $150,000-250,000) made in Rome circa 1775 in the manner of the influential architect and designer Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778). These exquisite tables with their unique curved legs and medallion friezes are similar to those formerly housed in the Palazzo Rezzonico and Palazzo Borghese.
Mr. Reilly’s deep knowledge of Roman history fueled the acquisition of several important antiquities for his collection, led by a Roman Marble Portrait Head of the Emperor Antoninus Pius (estimate: $400,000-600,000), who became emperor at the age of 52, and reigned from 138-161 A.D. – a period of relative calm, security, and religious piety in the Roman empire. Other portraits in the collection include a Colossal Roman Marble Portrait Head of the Emperor Trajan (estimate: $100,000-150,000) who reigned from 98-117 A.D., and a Roman Marble Portrait Head of the Youthful Marcus Aurelius, circa 138 A.D. (estimate: $150,000-250,000). The latter was one of the first purchases Mr. Reilly made as a collector; he had such high regard for the celebrated young emperor that he named his company Aurelian Communications upon its founding in 2001.
Perhaps the most dramatic item to feature in the Reilly collection is a Greek Marble torso of the goddess Aphrodite (estimate: $200,000-300,000) from the Hellenistic period, circa 1st century B.C. Nearly two-thirds life sized, the partially-draped torso stands with left knee bent and right hip thrust at an angle, forming a sensuous pose.
Old Master Paintings
Leading the collection’s offering of Old Master paintings is a massive 16th century festival scene by a Flemish artist known only as the Monogrammist ‘MO’. Populated with scores of brightly costumed acrobats, A view of a villa with acrobats and gentlefolk; estimate: $600,000-800,000) is a sweeping, jubilant scene of a court festival on the grounds of an Italianate villa. As elegantly dressed courtiers look on, troupes of acrobats in red jumpsuits and ancient military uniform perform elaborate dances and complicated balancing acts. This vibrant celebratory scene, which measures nearly eight feet wide, was the focal point of the dining room at Reilly’s Sutton Square home.
Two important Italian Old Master landscapes from the living room of the Reilly home will be offered as highlights of the Important Old Masters and 19th Century Art sale on January 27, 2010: View of Piazza del Popolo, Rome (estimate: $600,000-800,000) by Giovanni Paolo Panini (1691/2-1765) and Extensive Landscape with Figures at a Shrine (estimate: $300,000-500,000), a rare collaboration between Alessandro Magnasco, Il Lissandrino (1667-1749) and Antonio Francesco Peruzzini (1643/46-1724).
A devoted collector of Irish as well as English furnishings, Mr. Reilly’s collection is highlighted by an exceedingly rare example of Dublin scagliola inlay work attributed to Pietro Bossi, the most accomplished artisan working in Dublin towards the end of the 18th century. This Irish George III White Marble and Scagliola Chimneypiece; estimate: $100,000-150,000) is accented with beautifully-drawn leaf work and ribbon-hung Etruscan medallions in vivid hues of red, blue and green that remain remarkably unfaded. Less than 50 chimney pieces of this type are believed to have been created, and only two or three pieces of comparable quality have appeared on the market in recent years.
Among the more whimsical items within the Reilly collection is a Pair of George II Giltwood Dolphin-Form Wall Carvings from the mid-18th century (estimate: $20,000-40,000). These grimacing fish-like figures with scrolling tails once adorned the Sutton Place apartment of Marietta Tree, the New York society doyenne. They are believed to have been purchased initially by Nancy Lancaster, the legendary designer (and the first Mrs. Ronald Tree), for Ditchley Park in Oxfordshire, one of England’s greatest country houses.
Rounding out the selection of decorative accents is a large selection of mirrors from a variety of periods and styles, including a Louis XIV Ormulu-Mounted Boulle Marquetry Mirror from circa 1710 (estimate: $60,000-100,000); and a pair of five-foot high English Giltwood Mirrors (estimate: $60,000-90,000), one George II, circa 1740, and the other created to match by Carvers and Gilders of London. Also among the offerings is a selection of English silver, including salvers, salt cellars, utensils, and a complete coffee and tea service (estimates range: $500-35,000); and an array of blue and white Chinese export porcelain items, including vases, plates, and urns from the Kangxi period (estimates range: $3,000-30,000)
As another Irish American who has benefited from coming to these shores, I was astounded by the completely beautiful eye that Mr. William F. Reilly had in acquiring some the of finest pieces I've ever seen.Christies is offering a large number of pieces from his estate on October 13th 2009.
From Quogue News: "William F. Reilly passed away last year at the young age of 70. He lived in Quogue and Manhattan.He was the former chief executive officer and chairman of Primedia,and he was a successful media executive, philanthropist, collector, veteran.
Mr. Reilly began his career as a financial analyst and assistant to Peter Grace, the chairman and CEO of W.R. Grace & Co. and was appointed president and CEO of the company’s textile, sporting goods, and home products divisions. Following his tenure with the company, Mr. Reilly become the president of Macmillan Inc., and was significantly involved in the company’s greatest period of growth in its 50-plus-year history.
After losing a battle to stave off a takeover of Macmillan by Robert Maxwell in 1989, Mr. Reilly co-founded, and became chairman and CEO of, what was to become Primedia, whose media properties included New York and Seventeen magazines and 200 other properties.
After leaving Primedia, he became a successful private equity investor in partnership with Providence Equity Partners, and most recently with Summit Business Media in partnership with Wind Point Partners.
In his commitment to helping the New York City community, his priorities were education and other philanthropic endeavors. He was a member of the board of trustees of Channel 13/WNET and Citymeals-on-Wheels and adopted Cardinal Hayes High School, where he funded the technology lab and raised millions for its benefit while mentoring individual students who showed great promise in potential business careers.
As an alumnus of Notre Dame University, Mr. Reilly was an active member on the board of trustees of the university and a member of its executive committee. He also drew on his publishing expertise as a member of the Harvard Business School Press board of directors.
With his great love and knowledge of history and the decorative arts, he collected Greek and Roman antiquities and English furniture. He had a passion for classical architecture and owned and restored an 1830 historic home in Quogue and a townhouse on Sutton Square in Manhattan. He enjoyed traveling in Europe, studying classical architecture and acquiring items for his homes. He also served as a first lieutenant in the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army.
Mr. Reilly was on the board of directors of Barnes and Noble, FMC, and BizBash Media. He was also the chairman of Summit Business Media and hosted the Swing Into Summer Southampton Hospital benefit for many years."
I found this video on youtube which must have been made by a family member as a tribute to him. It has no sound due to some copyright problems but still shows a man who lived well and was obviously loved by many.Video
I was stunned by the beauty of his collecting and picked but a few things that really caught my eye. Most are very expensive but there are a couple of pieces that while truly great looking are within the reach of this shanty Irishman or you should you be so tempted. The full catalogue is here and will have you salivating at his good taste.
A FRENCH CUIR BOUILLE PORTRAIT OF LOUIS XIV
AFTER FRANCOIS GIRARDON, EARLY 18TH CENTURY, THE FRAME SECOND QUARTER 18TH CENTURY
Depicted in profile, wearing armor, within a Louis XV giltwood frame with partial printed paper label for CH. POTTIER EMBALLAMEUR-PACKER/PARIS, and with a further paper label with painted '2919', the leather rebacked
28 in. (71 cm.) high, 22½ in. (57 cm.) wide (the portrait), 36 in. (91.5 cm.) high, 30½ in. (77.5 cm.) wide, overall
$20,000.00 - $30,000.00
A DIRECTOIRE ORMOLU BOUILLOTTE LAMP
LATE 18TH CENTURY
With a green tôle shade and pierced circular base, shade redecorated, electrified
26 in. (66 cm.) high, overall
A PAIR OF TOLE PEINTE LEMON TREES
23½in. (59.5cm.) high (2)
$600.00 - $800.00
A PAIR OF GEORGE II GILTWOOD DOLPHIN-FORM WALL CARVINGS
Each grimacing dolphin with upright scrolling tail
33 in. (83.8 cm.) high (2)
$20,000.00 - $40,000.00
A PAIR OF GILT-METAL TABLE LAMPS
Each stem in the form of an armilliary sphere
12 in. (31 cm.) high (2)
$700.00 - $900.00
A COLOSSAL ROMAN MARBLE PORTRAIT HEAD OF THE EMPEROR TRAJAN
REIGN 98-117 A.D.
His long wavy locks combed forward over the crown of the head, their pointed tips curving left across the forehead, the locks defined by deep drill-work and incision, the large almond-shaped eyes framed by thick lids, the inner canthi deeply drilled, the modelled brows overhanging the inner corners of the eyes, with vertical furrows above the nose, the thin lips pursed, the outer corners slightly downturned and framed by pronounced nasolabial folds, the muscular neck rippled from the slight turn to his left
19½ in. (49.5 cm.) high
$100,000.00 - $150,000.00
A PAIR OF BLACK-PATINATED BRONZE MODELS OF THE WARWICK VASE
With masks and loop handles, on a square red marble plinth
18½ in. (47 cm.) high, 16 in. (40.6 cm.) wide (2)
$7,000.00 - $10,000.00
AN ATTIC BLACK-FIGURED AMPHORA
CIRCA 540-530 B.C.
The obverse with a nude youth on horseback in profile to the right, riding one horse and leading a second horse beside, both horses with their heads lowered, flanked by two large draped youths, a fillet in the field; the reverse with a nude youth on horseback; alternating red and black tongues above, a lotus and palmette quatrefoil on the neck, details in added red
14¾ in. (37.5 cm.) high
$20,000.00 - $30,000.00
AN IRISH GEORGE III MAHOGANY HUNT TABLE
LATE 18TH CENTURY
The hinged oval top above double gatelegs
29 in. (73.5 cm) high, 101½ in. (258 cm.) wide, 57 in. (145 cm.) deep
$30,000.00 - $50,000.00. Dont'ya love Irish furniture.
A PAIR OF IRISH GEORGE III BRASS-BOUND MAHOGANY BUCKETS
LATE 18TH CENTURY
Each with engraved brass banding, bail handle and removable brass liner
17 in. (43 cm.) high, 15½ in. (39.5 cm.) diameter (2)
$15,000.00 - $25,000.00. Wow what a way to serve Guiness.
A VICTORIAN BLACK, GOLD AND RED JAPANNED PAPIER MACHE GLOVE BOX
LATE 19TH CENTURY
Decorated with figural cartouches
8¾ in. (22 cm.) wide
$400.00 - $600.00
A FRENCH PATINATED WROUGHT-IRON AND GLASS LOW TABLE
Rectangular, on curule frame
$1,000.00 - $1,500.00. That's the piece I want!!! So we'll see how much it goes for with great interest.
A GEORGE II BLACK-AND-GILT JAPANNED LINEN PRESS
ATTRIBUTED TO GILES GRENDEY, CIRCA 1740
The dentil-carved cornice above cartouche-paneled doors and two short over a long drawer on ogee bracket feet, decorated throughout with Chinoiserie vignettes and animals, pulls and locks later, refreshments to decoration
$80,000.00 - $120,000.00
A LATE GEORGE III MAHOGANY THREE-TIER WHATNOT
LATE 18TH CENTURY
Square, with a mahogany-lined medial drawer
$4,000.00 - $6,000.00
AN IRISH GEORGE II MAHOGANY SERVING-TABLE
The shaped top pierced with quartrefoils over a fluted and paterae-carved frieze on molded legs with guttae feet
$20,000 - $30,000.00
/New Giveaway - new giveaway
4 hours ago