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Guinness heir’s portrait

Guinness heir’s portrait the toast of Ahlers & Ogletree auction

Guinness heir’s portrait
Portrait of Oonagh Guinness by Philip de László. Sold for $324,500. Ahlers & Ogletree image

ATLANTA – A monumental oil on canvas portrait painting of Anglo-Irish socialite, society hostess and art collector Oonagh Guinness (1910-1995) by Philip de László (Austro-Hungarian/U.K., 1869-1937), soared to $324,500 at a two-session auction held Sept. 12-13 by Ahlers & Ogletree. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

The painting was the centerpiece lot in an auction that featured items from the spectacular Atlanta estate home known as White Oaks, a fine mansion residence brimming with superb decorative arts from high-end retailers and world-class auctions.

The oil rendering was a three-quarter length portrait depicting one of the three “Golden Guinness Girls” and the daughter of Arthur Ernest Guinness (1876-1949), an engineer and the second son of brewing magnate Edward Guinness (1847-1927), a prominent businessman and philanthropist who, as head of the family’s eponymous brewing business, rose to become the wealthiest man in Ireland.

Ms. Guinness was shown seated and wearing a white chiffon dress with green sash and holding a wide brimmed hat. Bidders pushed the 1931 work, measuring 52½ inches by 39 inches (sight, less frame), well past its $30,000-$60,000 estimate.

Philip de László was an artist known for his portraits of royal and aristocratic personages. In 1900, he married into the Guinness family by wedding Lucy Guinness and he became a British subject in 1914. The painting of Oonagh Guinness brought the second highest sum ever seen at auction for the artist. Another piece sold in December 2019 at Christie’s in London for about $350,000.

The White Oaks estate was filled with fine decorative arts from names like Steuben, Baccarat, Hermes, Christofle, Tiffany & Company, Lalique, Ralph Lauren Collection, Buccellati, Moser, Fornasetti and Asprey; as well as fine antiques from the Doris Duke Collection, acquired from around the world and previously sold at Christies. Most brought robust prices in the auction.

Following are additional highlights from the auction, which grossed $1.6 million, including the buyer’s premium. All of the 769 lots found new owners. All prices include the buyer’s premium.

Guinness heir’s portrait
Monumental pair of Chinese Ming dynasty (1368-1644) tileworks of Buddhist lions. Sold for $37,200. Ahlers & Ogletree image

A pair of Chinese Ming dynasty (1368-1644) tileworks of Buddhist lions, from the Doris Duke estate, brought $37,200. The ochre, turquoise and aubergine glazed tileworks, each one 53 inches tall, depicted seated Buddhist lion figures on stands. Also, a pair of large Chinese Tang dynasty (A.D. 618-907) polychrome painted pottery horse figures in prancing stance, 21¼ inches tall on a 1½ inch base, sold as one lot for $12,400.

An exquisite 20th century Buccellati sterling figure of a bird of prey perched on a naturalistic stump, 28 inches tall and marked to the back of the tailfeather with maker’s mark, fetched $27,225.

Guinness heir’s portrait
Exquisite 20th century Buccellati sterling figure of a bird of prey. Sold for $27,225. Ahlers & Ogletree image

An oil on canvas still life painting of sliced fruit by Peter Von Artens (Argentina, 1937-2003), titled Melons, about 40 inches by 42 inches (sight, less frame), brought $18,150.

Guinness heir’s portrait
Oil on canvas still life painting of sliced fruit by Peter Von Artens (Argentina, 1937-2003), 40 x 42in. Sold for $18,150. Ahlers & Ogletree image

An oil on canvas island ocean view painting with sailboats, signed by Pierre Bittar (American/French, b. 1934), titled Vue Sur St. Jean Cap-Ferrat (View of St. Jean Cap-Ferrat), gaveled for $8,060; while an oil on canvas Impressionist work depicting two people working in the foreground and boats sailing in the background by Gaston Sebire (French, 1920-2001), titled French Tropical Landscape, rose to $5,445.

A late 20th century genuine alligator upholstered wingback chair by Ralph Lauren with brass nailhead details and a loose cushion, rising on square legs, reportedly from Ralph Lauren’s private collection, went for $22,320. Also, an 18th century pair of English Queen Anne pier mirrors (or looking glasses), having giltwood shell carved tops with a floral etched two-part plate, unmarked, 59¾ inches tall by 23 inches wide, hit $11,780.

Guinness heir’s portrait
Alligator upholstered wingback chair by Ralph Lauren. Sold for $22,320. Ahlers & Ogletree image

A complete six-volume set of Winston Churchill’s The Second World War, first British editions (London: Cassell & Co. Ltd., 1948-1954), having leather hardcovers with black cloth bindings, hand-signed to Volume 1 “Winston Churchill,” finished at $15,730. Also, a large Elkington & Co. Ltd. (English, 1861-1963) sterling silver wine cistern, or cooler, having double handles decorated with lions and a chased grape motif rim, made in 1904, about 13 inches tall and weighing a total of 106.161 troy ounces, changed hands for $11,800.

Guinness heir’s portrait
Large Elkington & Co. (English, 1861-1963) sterling silver wine cistern. Sold for $11,800. Ahlers & Ogletree image

To consign an item, an estate or a collection, you may contact Ahlers & Ogletree at 404-869-2478 or email

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Guinness heir’s portrait