Typical of the Ann Getty look offered by Stair Galleries is this ensemble comprising: a Chinese Export black lacquer and parcel-gilt six panel screen (estimate $2500-5000); a Spanish Baroque painted and parcel-gilt mirror ($1000-1500); one of two carved marble frieze panels ($1000-1500); a George I style giltwood chair, 20th century ($700-900) and an Italian rococo-style provincial painted chest of drawers ($1200-1800).

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A three-day auction on January 23-25 titled A Lifetime of Connoisseurship, Curiosity and Collecting will be followed by A Confluence of 19th and 20th Century Design on February 29.

It brings together property from three California properties that were furnished in her favour ‘layered maximalism’ style by Ann Getty: an Italianate manse in Pacific Heights; her childhood home outside of Sacramento known as Wheatland and Temple of Wings; the Greco-Roman style estate in Berkeley Hills. Most items include provenances to auctions in London and New York.

Essentially it means more of the English and European furniture and decorative arts - blending academic rigour with a love of the wow factor - that made the first sales at Christie’s such memorable events. However, on this occasion the estimates are in the distinctly affordable range, starting at $50 for a Staffordshire flatback figure of a zebra and peaking at $20,000 for an oil of Moret-sur-Loing by the Canadian-America Impressionist Ernest Lawson (1873-1939).


Last sold at Sotheby’s in London in July 1996, this George III porcelain-mounted and inlaid mahogany writing cabinet is one of a pair that carries a guide of $10,000-15,000 at Stair Galleries on January 23-25.

Most of the 726 lots offered in the January 23-25 sale are guided under $2000. As before, the proceeds of the sales will go to various charities.

Colin Stair knew Ann and Gordon Getty personally.

“I was honoured to work with the Getty family during my time at both Sotheby’s and Stair Restoration. Everything in the Getty home was done ‘just so’, and it absolutely rang true in every interior. Ann Getty was patience and taste personified. She was, without a doubt, one of America’s greatest self-taught decorators,” he recalls.