The Jewelry, the Art and the Collectibles of Lauren Bacall That Are Going to Auction

Bacall in Her Apartment Library
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Bacall in 1969 in the library of her apartment at the Dakota; included in the Bonhams auction are the Italian marble-top walnut table and a late 17th century Jacobean oak coffer (far left).

Before a spring auction in New York, possessions of the late icon go on display Feb. 27 in L.A. with everything from sculptures by Henry Moore to paintings by moonlighting artist Henry Fonda.

This story first appeared in the March 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

What few people knew is that apart from her fame as a film star and fashion icon, Lauren Bacall was a cultivated collector of art and antiques, her pursuits often sparked by a personal experience. The actress, who died in August of a stroke at age 89, became interested in African tribal art after visiting the Congo and Uganda while her first husband, Humphrey Bogart, filmed 1951's The African Queen. Her collection of figurative statues was dominated by works of two artists who also were friends: Robert Graham, late husband of her pal Anjelica Huston, and Henry Moore, whom she met in 1975 in London. Bacall also got to know famed Parisian jewelry designer Jean Schlumberger and acquired many of his pieces.



The actress' keen eye for objects will be on display Feb. 27 to March 1 in Los Angeles at Bonhams auction house (7601 W. Sunset Blvd.), spotlighting a selection of the 750 Bacall possessions that will go up for bid at Bonhams in New York on March 31 and April 1. (Bacall, who left the bulk of her estate to her three children from her marriages to Bogart and then to Jason Robards, also donated 700 dresses to New York City's Museum at FIT, which will open a show March 3.) Drawn from items in her apartment at New York's renowned Dakota building — where her three-bedroom unit was put on the market in November for an astounding $26 million — the collection not only features fine majolica ceramics, Kuba and Shona tribal headrests and David Hockney lithographs but also includes quirkier items such as a painting (estimated at $600 to $800) by Henry Fonda of three hats he wore in On Golden Pond, including one, says Bonhams vice president Jon King, that "was actually given to him on the first day of filming by Katharine Hepburn, and it was Spencer Tracy's lucky hat." Adds King of Bacall, "She had a great aesthetic, and she loved forms and color." (See more images here and below.)