Art market
Art market
Art market

Museum patron and photography connoisseur Paul Walter’s collection to be sold

Christie’s New York to auction more than 500 works from the collector's Manhattan and Long Island homes

by Gabriella Angeleti  |  3 August 2017
Museum patron and photography connoisseur Paul Walter’s collection to be sold
The sales are slated to feature photographs, sculptures, prints and decorative arts from Walter’s apartment in Manhattan and his home in Sag Harbor, Long Island
More than 500 works of art from the collection of the late museum patron and collector Paul F. Walter will be offered at Christie’s, New York, in two separate live sales (26-27 September) and an online sale (21-28 September). Walter, once the head of the New Jersey-based industrial manufacturer Thermo Electric, which his parents co-founded in the 1940s, was a Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) trustee, and a benefactor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma), among other US institutions.

The sales are slated to feature photographs, sculptures, prints and decorative arts from Walter’s apartment in Manhattan and his home in Sag Harbor, Long Island, ranging from fin-de-siècle furnishings to post-war and contemporary works of art and Indian works of art and jewellery—many that have been shown in major exhibitions. “A great eye and a taste for the curious, Walter’s collection reflects his intellect and his enthusiasm for the work of both his contemporaries and civilisations long gone”, Jonathan Rendell, the deputy chairman of the auction house, told The Art Newspaper.

Paul Walter © John M Hall Photographs
Paul Walter © John M Hall Photographs
“Walter defined sophistication in collecting,” recalled his friend, the photography dealer Daniel Wolf, after Walter’s death in January at the age of 81. “When he began to collect photographs, he was one of maybe five serious collectors. Paul brought to this small and new market an elevated and traditional approach. He was able to focus on the masterpieces, the rare and the unique, and this was something the others learned from. At auctions, it was essential to know what Paul bought.”

Some highlights of the forthcoming sale include paintings and drawings by Lucian Freud, Sol Lewitt and Brice Marden, decorative designs by Carlo Scarpa and Robert Wilson and photographs of India, Indonesia and Myanmar from the 1850s by Captain Linnaeus Tripe. Here is a selection of some of the works offered:

  • Captain Linnaeus Tripe, Views of India, Indonesia and Myanmar (Burma), around 1858 (estimate: $20,000-$30,000)
  • Untitled Red and Green Drawing 2 by Brice Marden (est. $400,000-$600,000). © 2017 Brice Marden / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
  • A set of six dining chairs (1981) by Robert Wilson (est. $30,000-45,000, to be sold in two lots).
  • An illustration to the Devi Mahatmya series: Kali Attacks the Demon Armies of Shumbha and Nishumba (India, Guler, circa 1780) (est. $10,000-$15,000).  
  • Head and Smoke by Philip Guston (est. $100,000-$150,000).
  • A pair of George II walnut hall armchairs after a design by William Kent (mid-18th century) (est. $60,000-$100,000).
  • Vertical Brushstrokes by Sol Lewitt (est. $60,000-$80,000).© 2017 The LeWitt Estate / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
  • Five Indian talismans, three on chains (early 20th century) (est. $1,200-$1,800).


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