Artwork, rare books, Gilded Age furniture and musical instruments from the Clark family estate sold for $8,463,938 at Wednesday’s Christie’s auction in New York.
Late heiress Huguette Clark, who died in 2011 at age 104, was the daughter of William Clark, a copper tycoon and senator who made his fortune in mining, banking and railroads. When Huguette Clark died, there was a court battle over her wills, and many items in her family’s collections are being sold to fund the settlement.
Most of the 357 items at this week’s auction were sold, with a painting by John Singer Sargent, titled "Girl Fishing," getting the highest price of $4.3 million.
These treasures are from the family’s New York estate, not the Santa Barbara mansion, Bellosguardo, which was gifted to an arts foundation in Huguette Clark’s will.
The settlement agreement for the will is being partly funded by the auction proceeds, and the New York Attorney General’s Office is forming a Bellosguardo Foundation board of directors to manage the Santa Barbara property and its assets.
Clark also gave the arts foundation her doll collection, valued at $1.7 million, and $4.5 million in cash.
There is great interest in the family’s Kreutzer Stradivari violin, a rare instrument made by Italian Antonio Stradivari around 1731 and used by composer and musician Rodolphe Kreutzer. In 1920, the violin was purchased by Huguette’s parents and gifted to her.
The Clark family had seven Stradivariuses in their collection over the years, but they kept this one for more than 90 years and it’s in immaculate condition, according to Christie’s. It was expected to sell for $7.5 million to $10 million but went unsold after bids came in too low, Bloomberg reported Thursday morning.