NEW YORK — Brooke Astor was the immaculately dressed grande dame of New York City, a philanthropist, taste-setter and host extraordinaire, at ease with kings and world leaders.
She adored animals, especially dogs, flowers and books. Floral patterns and animal sculptures were decorative motifs throughout her two sumptuous homes: a 14-room duplex on Park Avenue and her country estate, Holly Hill, overlooking the Hudson River in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.
Sotheby's is offering the contents of both homes, 901 objects in all, including European and Asian furnishings, Old Masters, Qing Dynasty paintings, tea sets, silverware, jewelry, a porcelain menagerie, over 100 dog paintings at a two-day auction today and Tuesday.
Astor died in 2007 at age 105.
In keeping with her wishes and life's motto that "money is like manure; it should be spread around," proceeds from the sale will go to the institutions and causes she supported. They include what she called the city's crown jewels — the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Bronx Zoo, Central Park, plus the Animal Medical Center of New York, New York City's public schools and charities in Maine.
The collection is expected to fetch a total of $6 million to $9 million.