Christie’s recently announced that they have been entrusted with The Collection of Barbara Allen de Kwiatkowski, which will be offered across eight sales, beginning in New York this December with Post-War & Contemporary Art (December 3), Impressionist and Modern Art (December 4), Magnificent Jewels (December 8), Jewels Online (November 18 to December 1), Design (December 11), Old Master Paintings Online (November 13 to December 4) followed by the April 2021 sales of The Collector (April 8) and Prints & Multiples (April 21).

“Barbara holds the keys to the other side of the amazingly enormous Warhol story. She was there for all the great statements of Andy’s for years before she cared. She was completely innocent, and she literally saw and heard everything and didn’t give a damn. She had the most naïve and unspoiled eye of any human to enter Manhattan.”

Peter Beard

Known throughout international circles by an affectionately abbreviated name, Babs deK was a figure synonymous with style and glamour. Muse and close friend to Andy Warhol, she was part owner, cover star and contributor to his renowned Interview magazine. Babs’ Warhol years are well documented in editorials, Polaroids and drawings. She and Andy were the undisputed disco balls of Studio 54, and in their lives outside of the club scene, they shared a deep friendship.

Babs was at the core of the Pop Art movement inspiring and collecting pieces by the artists in her close circle. She always knew who the next “great” would be in the art world and amassed a collection reflective of her distinct sense of taste and style. In the mid-1980s she met Henryk de Kwiatkowski and they shared a long marriage from 1986 until his passing in 2003. She was a loving mother and wife, an international beauty, and one of society’s great hostesses. She had a discerning eye and the ability to create beauty in everything she touched, reflected in the art and objects that filled her homes at Coyners Farm, Connecticut; Calumet Farm, Kentucky; Serendip Cove, Lyford Cay; and 1 Beekman Place, New York. All of her properties were beautifully decorated by the combined force and talent of Babs and Sister Parish of Parish-Hadley Associates, the firm celebrated for its designs of the Kennedy White House.

The grouping being offered at Christie’s complements its owner in presenting over 60 lots representative of her enduring style. Highlights comprise works by Andy Warhol including a silkscreen of Mao executed in 1973 ($1,000,000-1,500,000), an extremely rare portrait sketch of Barbara Allen drawn circa 1976 ($30,000-40,000), and a silkscreen titled VIP Ticket – Studio 54 executed in 1978 ($120,000-180,000) offered alongside photographs by Peter Beard, another close friend. Also featured are important pieces of 20th-century design including furniture by Diego Giacometti and vases by Jean Dunand and iconic jewels spanning designs by Belperron, Harry Winston, JAR, and Verdura.

Christie's Unveils The Collection Of Barbara Allen de Kwiatkowski
Image: Bob Colacello, Barbara Allen, London, 1976. Courtesy of the artist and Vito Schnabel Gallery.

Rachael White Young, Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s Americas, notes: “Christie’s is honoured to present The Collection of Barbara de Kwiatkowski. It is a privilege to celebrate the life of a true icon of the seventies and eighties, and a connoisseur of New York culture. Babs left an indelible mark on the lives of those she touched. Her friendship with Andy Warhol is documented through his Polaroids as well as in the important works of art in her collection, including her own portrait by the artist. She was a meaningful part of the fabric of creators and makers in what is often deemed the golden age of New York’s art world.”

Daphne Lingon, Head of Jewelry, Christie’s Americas, remarks: “Barbara de Kwiatkowski was known for her innate sense of style in all modes of design. The jewellery represented in her collection includes some of the most recognized names such as JAR, Belperron, and Verdura who were makers that continually pushed boundaries looking to art and nature for inspiration. Her personal taste in jewels gravitated toward the bold and brilliant featuring remarkable gemstones including sapphires, emeralds and jade that pair with the vibrant colours of Pop Art complemented by an impressive and classic 10.59 carat D colour, potentially Internally Flawless diamond originally purchased at Winston.”

Select Highlights included in the December 2020 Sales

Post-War & Contemporary Art Day Sale | 3 December 2020

Magnificent Jewels | 8 December 2020

The Collection of Barbara de Kwiatkowski will be featured in:

  • Post-War & Contemporary Art Day Sale | 3 December 2020
  • Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale | 4 December 2020
  • Magnificent Jewels | 8 December 2020
  • Jewels Online | 18 November – 1 December 2020
  • Design | 11 December 2020
  • Old Master Paintings Online Sale | 13 November – 4 December 2020
  • The Collector | 8 April 2021
  • Prints & Multiples | 21 April 2021

*Sale dates are subject to change.

Christies

editor

Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had auction sales in the first half of 2019 that totalled £2.2 billion / $2.8 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectables, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.

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