Leonard Bernstein provenance drives appeal in floral still life selling March 21

MOUNT KISCO N.Y. — Just when it seems an auction catalog is complete and inventory is set, something changes things. Pam Stone, owner of the Benefit Shop Foundation, Inc., knows this feeling, thanks to a painting with ties to Leonard Bernstein.

The last-minute donation of a still life painting prompted a change in catalog inventorying. The piece is too good to hold until another month. It’s provenance is intriguing.

Bought by Bernstein

The donation is a fine painting, circa 1800. It’s an Italian School still life on canvas. It depicts tulips, roses and chrysanthemums in a basket. It’s provenance includes purchase from Sotheby’s in December 1997 from the estate of the late conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein. Foundation organizers are predicting it will perform well in the March auction. Absentee and Internet bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

The 28½-by-36-inch painting is in a gold leaf wood frame with a mark for Pocker and Sons. Accompanying the painting is the Sotheby’s auction catalog. The description identifies the contents of the Bernsteins’ luxe apartment in the landmark Dakota in New York City’s Central Park West. It is among the most famous apartment buildings in New York City. A place where the couple famously entertained celebrities and their friends in music, arts and entertainment. The couple’s collection included art, antiques and high-end furnishings.

Showcases Symbolism

“This is a gorgeous painting that just came in and we knew we had to put it into this month’s auction,” said Stone. “Its beauty is underscored by the symbolism in its flowers, the meanings of which can be hard to ferret out in modern times. Furthermore, it is suit to the Bernsteins’ home in the luxurious Dakota and will look lovely in the home of its future owner.”

The monthly Red Carpet sales feature choice collections of antique, midcentury modern, brand furnishings, sterling, china, crystal, jewelry and fine art. With a mission of “to donate, to discover and to do good,” the foundation is a non-profit and all auction proceeds support community organizations. Consignors get a tax deduction, the buyer gets a great deal and local non-profits get much needed funds.

In addition, the auction takes place at 185 Kisco Avenue, Suite 201, and online.

For more information, www.thebenefitshop.org or 914-864-0707.

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