When I lived in New York, I was fortunate enough to occasionally spot Lee Bouvier Radziwill (1933-2019) strolling along Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side. No matter where I may have been rushing off to in a typical mad Manhattan moment, seeing her always stopped me in my tracks. Classy and cool, her timeless style transcended a history that spanned from politics to Pop art and culture; a confidante and stoic sister alongside Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and great presence during the Camelot years of President John F. Kennedy, to famous friendships with Andy Warhol, The Rolling Stones, photographer Peter Beard, and Cecil Beaton, among others. Radziwill was not short of an impressive resume of titles herself: wife, mother, socialite, princess (by way of her second marriage to Prince Stanislaw Radziwill), actress, PR executive for Giorgio Armani (to whom she was also a muse, as she was to writer Truman Capote), interior designer, and author of two books, Happy Times and Lee. This is the legacy that Christie’s New York celebrates in October as part of their Collectors Week sales.
“Ms. Radziwill was the embodiment of good taste—always elegant and fashionable. She lived well, surrounded by beauty in all its forms. Christie’s is honored to have been entrusted with this landmark auction—to share the story of her fascinating life and connoisseurship,” says Winnetka’s Cathy Busch, Head of Christie’s Midwest. While New York was home, Radziwill kept an apartment in Paris, too, but it was previous residences such as in London and designed by renowned Italian architect Renzo Mongiardino that influenced a consistent aesthetic of deep solid colors balanced with chic bold patterns. “I like to create rooms which are essentially traditional—and then add touches of the bizarre and the delicious,” Radziwill once said, “… and when I buy something, I do so with the intention of keeping it forever. I’m constantly falling in love with objects, and they follow me around the world.” That same fascination for the treasures and their steward, her fine and decorative art, books, costume jewelry, photographs, and memorabilia, highlight a dedicated catalogue and accompanying exhibition prior to the October 17 auction, when they will travel on to new places and patrons.
For more information, visit christies.com.