industry insider | Jul 26, 2018 |
Tom Britt's collection heats up at Christie’s

Tom Britt’s interiors were a lot like his personality—confident, sophisticated and colorful. After working under John Gerald, the designer opened his namesake firm in New York in 1964. Next month, his personal collection heads to auction, leading the selection of 400-plus lots of furniture, decorative arts and fine art in the Interiors sale at Christie’s.

Christie's Interiors Sale
Pieces from the collection of Tom Britt, decorated by Sarah Bray and Anne Spilman in partnership with Schumacher; courtesy Christie’s

If auctions were anything like music festivals, Britt’s collection would be the headlining act. Among the auction highlights is a set of faux bamboo bookcases, designed by Britt in the second half of the century and a prime example of the designer’s interest in grand-scale objects. Painted cream and inspired by the Brighton Pavilion, the bookcases remained stocked with chronicles in the living room, dubbed The Oval Room, at Britt’s longtime Manhattan residence.

An early-20th-century Tiffany Studios desk clock, a William and Mary–style side table covered in Fortuny fabric, and a pair of North American portable snowshoe canoe chairs by Tubbs will also be up for grabs.

The auction, which will feature a pre-sale vignette styled by interior designer Anne Spilman and Modern Luxury interiors editor Sarah Bray, will take place on August 22.

Coinciding with the Interiors sale is online auction The Collection of Melva Bucksbaum: Decorative Arts and Design. A lifetime patron to the art world and esteemed American art collector, Bucksbaum served as the president of the Des Moines Art Center before being named to the Whitney Museum of Art’s board of trustees in 1996. She’d later serve as vice chairwoman and introduce the biannual Melva Bucksbaum Prize, a gift of $100,000 awarded to a contemporary artist and exhibition artist.

Melva Bucksbaum
A few of the Boch Frères Keramis ceramics found in Bucksbaum’s collection; courtesy Christie’s

Bucksbaum’s collection of Boch Frères Keramis ceramics is among the highly anticipated lots within the auction, which spans hundreds of decorative art and design works. Bidders can also expect to find Chinese furniture and textiles, as well as 20th-century designs like a pair of Tulip chairs by Erwine and Estelle Laverne and the Ibis Demuline console by Judy Kensley McKie.

The online auction will take place August 16 to 23. A follow-up sale, The Collection of Melva Bucksbaum: Post-War and Contemporary Art, Photography and Prints, will be held October 16 to 24.

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