Fine European furniture and decorative arts come to auction at Bonhams & Butterfields in Los Angeles on March 30, 2009. The 500-lot sale will offer an array of works for varied tastes and collecting levels and will showcase pieces from the Roman period through the 20th century.
Highlighting the sale will be property from the estate of Caroline Singleton, wife of Henry E. Singleton, the pioneering co-founder of Teledyne, Inc.
According to Andrew Jones, director of the auctioneer’s European furniture and decorative arts department, “The spring auction boasts a good balance of both 18th and 19th century works by prominent makers such as G. Jacob, J. B. Boulard, E. Meunier, Francois Linke and Henry Dasson. Bonhams & Butterfields is pleased to offer such distinctive works to the public.”
Born on a cattle ranch in Haslet, Texas, in 1916, Henry Singleton attended the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. He later earned his masters and doctorial degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass. He married Caroline in Boston in 1942 and the two moved to Los Angeles in 1951. They raised five children and eventually became grandparents of four.
Known for his keen business acumen, Henry gained a reputation in the business world as one of the nation’s leading corporate merger experts. He co-founded Teledyne, Inc., in 1960 and led the Los Angeles-based conglomerate for more than three decades.
Outside of business, Henry and Caroline had an interest in architecture and design. Together, Henry and Caroline collected mid-century works and early Continental pieces. They mixed items by Eames with Swedish neoclassical – creating a home environment that was both comfortable and reflective of their keen artistic eye.
After Henry retired, he and Caroline returned to his cattle ranching roots, acquiring more than one million acres in New Mexico and California, making him one of the largest land owners in America. This was not just a hobby; these were working ranches dating back 400 years. The Singletons were active in their local communities, lending their support to the 4-H Club and FFA Livestock programs, as well, establishing a rodeo scholarship at New Mexico State University (NMSU) and supporting the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M.
Henry and Caroline were married for 57 years. Mr. Singleton passed away in 1999. To honor the memory of her late husband, Caroline established the Henry E. Singleton Neuro-Diagnostic and Treatment Center in the new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. She continued to be an active participant in all of their philanthropies until her death in 2007.
Highlights from the estate of Caroline Singleton include: an exquisite set of 14 Louis XV carved beechwood dining chairs, stamped M Cresson, mid-18th century (estimate $30,000-$50,000); a handsome pair of Louis XVI paint decorated bergeres, stamped G Jacob, late 18th century (estimate $8,000-$12,000); a Louis XV carved beechwood bergere, stamped J. B. Boutard, 18th century (estimate $4,000-$6,000); an early 18th century walnut commode (estimate $5,000-$7,000), and a stunning Regency mahogany writing table, in the manner of Gillows (estimate $6,000-$8,000). Additional highlights from the estate will be offered throughout Bonhams & Butterfields’ spring auction season, with property to be included within a fine Asian works of art sale and the monthly estate sales.
In addition to property from the Singleton estate, the spring auction will also include works from the collection of Dr. Scott Schubach; property from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Countess Veronika Henckel von Donnersmarck; and items from the estates of the late Nigel Davis and David Weisbart, producer of the 1955 classic film Rebel Without a Cause.
Other highlights will include a George III Anglo-Indian ivory and horn chess set, made in Vizagapatam in the early part of the 19th century (estimate $5,000-$7,000); an impressive 19th century Continental carved ivory tankard, surmounted by a bear finial, carved in the round with a hunting scene (estimate $5,000-$7,000); a Louis XV rosewood and kingwood commode from the third quarter of the 18th century, stamped JME and LEFEVRE twice by Louis Michel Lefevre maitre in 1749 (estimate $8,000-$12,000) and an untouched late 18th century George III green lacquered tall case clock decorated with chinoiserie figures in landscapes by Thomas Reynolds, Oxford, England (estimate $4,000-$6,000).
Sale previews will open to the pubic March 27-30, or by appointment. For more information visit www.bonhams.com.