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Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney

Richard Stedman presents art from Gertrude Whitney Vanderbilt estate, Jan. 21

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney bronze shepherd statue, estimated at $10,000-$20,000. Image courtesy of Richard Stedman Estate Services
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney bronze shepherd statue, estimated at $10,000-$20,000. Image courtesy of Richard Stedman Estate Services

TAMPA, Fla. – On Saturday, January 21, starting at noon Eastern time, Richard Stedman Estate Services LLC will hold The Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Estate Auction. It will feature 22 sculptures by the Whitney Museum founder and great-granddaughter of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt from her landmark Old Westbury, Long Island, New York studio as well as Vanderbilt family silver, Chinese vases, jewelry, paintings and decorative arts. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

The statues are sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s personal examples from her Itanianate villa, which was decorated with murals by prominent artist colleagues and was the site of legendary soirees attended by a Who’s Who of actors, painters and philanthropists.

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Titanic memorial maquette, estimated at $2,000-$20,000. Image courtesy of Richard Stedman Estate Services
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Titanic memorial maquette, estimated at $2,000-$20,000. Image courtesy of Richard Stedman Estate Services

Included will be six of the large bronze garden statues, led by a seven-foot-tall figure of a shepherd, estimated at $100,000-$200,000. More intimate works include plaster maquette models for the Titanic memorial on the Potomac, featuring one estimated at $2,000-$20,000; and Wallflower, a standing portrait of Whitney’s daughter Barbara for which two different-height bronze versions appear in the sale as separate lots, plus additional portrait and figural bronzes, often with illustration citations from various publications. In addition, a plaster figure study of Wallflower, standing 17in tall, will be offered with an estimate of $2,000-$10,000.

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney small Wallflower maquette, estimated at $2,000-$10,000. Image courtesy of Richard Stedman Estate Services
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney small Wallflower maquette, estimated at $2,000-$10,000. Image courtesy of Richard Stedman Estate Services

Equally important is a sampling of generations of Vanderbilt and Whitney family collections, among them a watercolor and gouache study of Leslie Caron as Gigi by Cecil Beaton from his Academy Award winning costume commission for the film of the same name. Its estimate is $10,000-$100,000.

Watercolor Cecil Beaton painted of a scene from the film ‘Gigi,’ estimated at $10,000-$100,000. Image courtesy of Richard Stedman Estate Services
Watercolor Cecil Beaton painted of a scene from the film ‘Gigi,’ estimated at $10,000-$100,000. Image courtesy of Richard Stedman Estate Services

Other featured items include a silver gilt centerpiece by London silversmith Paul Storr, estimated at $60,000-$120,000; and a selection of Chinese Qing dynasty vases, including a large turquoise dragon bottle vase, estimated at $600-$6,000.

Vanderbilt estate large Chinese Qing bottle vase, estimated at $600-$6,000. Image courtesy of Richard Stedman Estate Services
Vanderbilt estate large Chinese Qing bottle vase, estimated at $600-$6,000. Image courtesy of Richard Stedman Estate Services

One of the last Vanderbilt properties in family hands and once part of a sprawling estate incorporating an adjacent mansion, stables and vast acreage, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s studio was originally listed for sale with an option to purchase its contents, but now the property has been staged and the contents have been removed for individual sale.

Vanderbilt estate Paul Storr silver gilt centerpiece, estimated at $60,000-$120,000. Image courtesy of Richard Stedman Estate Services
Vanderbilt estate Paul Storr silver gilt centerpiece, estimated at $60,000-$120,000. Image courtesy of Richard Stedman Estate Services

Richard Stedman Estate Services LLC specializes in dispersals of historic and corporate collections. It has been involved with the sale of Domino Sugar’s art collection in Stamford, Connecticut; property from Chequers, the British Prime Minister’s summer residence; the appraisal of the art collection of Philadelphia’s PSFS bank that shuttered during the Savings and Loan crisis; and, more recently, the sale of Mizner-era antiques during the redesign of L’Ermitage in Palm Beach.

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Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney