Betsy Bloomingdale: A Life in Style, Christie’s New York, live auction on April 5th 2017 and online sale March 30th-April 6th2017
In her later years Mrs Bloomingdale summed up her thoughts on style saying: ‘To me, style in anything you do, whether dressing, entertaining, collecting, whatever, is a sureness of choice. It can be learned, it can be developed, but to be successful, it mustn’t be perceived.’
Both the online auction and the live auction reflect her philosophy whether it be in jewels, or clothes – Oscar de la Renta, Valentino and Christian Dior – or her home. A leading figure of Los Angeles society she was known for her philanthropy and her entertaining. She welcomed many legendary Hollywood figures to her home as well as the Reagans and the Annenbergs. She kept a record of every dinner party she gave from 1959 until her death last year.
Her home was a fine example of Hollywood Regency and was one of the legendary designer William (Billy) Haines last remaining masterpieces. Haines started his career as a silent movie star but his refusal to end his relationship with his long-term partner Jimmie Shields led to his MGM contract being ended in 1933.
However this inspired Haines (1900-1973) to set himself up as a designer of both interiors and furniture. His clients included Joan Crawford, Jack Warner, George Cukor, the Goetzes and the Annenbergs at both their home Sunnylands, near Palm Springs and also at Winfield House, London when Mr Annenberg was the US Ambassador to the UK. As these images show Haines had a deft touch creating an 18th century feel in rooms that were very easy to use and so perfectly crafted that the owners rarely changed anything.
This sale is truly a celebration of 20th century American style and taste!