The Collection of Mrs. John Gutfreund, Murray House, Villanova, PA
Saturday, March 23, 11:00 am
We are delighted to offer for sale property from Murray House, the finely decorated late Federal estate of Mrs. John Gutfreund, Villanova, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Gutfreund spent years accumulating the rich collection that graced the beautiful bones of her fieldstone house, sifting through local country auctions and yard sales and raising a paddle at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Her collection reflects the warm, cozy and eclectic home she created, combining 18th century French furniture with modern pieces like English upholstered chairs from Howard & Co. Some of the pieces from her Henri Samuel-designed Paris apartment are highlights in this auction, including an early Louis XV Chaise Lounge, a Napoleon III Fire Screen, a Louis XVI Ormolu-Mounted Marble Mantle Clock and a Modern Blue and White Flatweave Carpet.
Other highlights are a rare group of German Glass Beadwork Table Tops, designed by Johann Michael van Selow of Braunschweig and pressed botanicals created by Gianni Agnelli’s Scottish butler, Stuart Thornton. Mrs. Gutfreund’s notoriously good sense of humor was on full display when she placed an enormous life-size bronze crocodile in the entrance foyer at Murray House to “greet” guests as they walked through the front door. Along with her husband, John, Mrs. Gutfreund collected a small group of Americana while spending weekends on Nantucket, including two works by Thomas Willis, a selection of hooked and woven rugs, and a large group of silhouettes. The dining room at Murray House was beautifully furnished with upholstered walls by Le Manach, complemented by an Italian porcelain sunflower dinner service from the Aldobrandini family, and a pair of colorful Chinese Knodding Head Figures. Mrs. Gutfreund collected a magical mix of European furniture, decorations and Americana, creating a comfortable and stylish country retreat where she entertained her neighbors and the haute monde alike.