Sotheby’s to Offer Property from the Collection of Robert Isabell Sotheby’s to Offer Property from the Collection of Robert Isabell Legendary Event Planner’s Collection of 20th Century Design Will be sold in New York on December 17, 2009
News-Antique.com - Sep 10,2009 - On December 17, 2009, Sotheby’s will offer property from the collection of noted event planner, Robert Isabell (1952-2009). For more than twenty years, Mr. Isabell was at the helm of nearly every major event hosted by the upper echelon of society; lending his spectacular taste and creativity to charity galas, club openings, magazine launches, White House Christmases and society weddings, birthdays and funerals. His imaginative style always struck the right chord, whether the event was lavish or understated, and it was with that same level of refinement and care that he created a unique retreat for himself in Greenwich Village. In it, he meticulously juxtaposed important pieces by American studio designers Harry Bertoia, Paul Evans and Phil Powell, with prime examples by the French masters of the midcentury: Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand and Serge Mouille.
He punctuated the space with lush greenery and playful Pop and Contemporary lighting from Vernor Panton to Tokunjin Yoshioda. Together, the offering of approximately 130 lots is estimated to sell for $1.5 million and proceeds will benefit the Gerald B. Lambert Memorial Foundation, Inc. for the sole purpose of maintaining and preserving the Oak Spring Garden Library and Greenhouses in Upperville, VA. Prior to the auction, the collection will be exhibited in Sotheby’s 10th floor galleries from December 12-16, 2009. Robert Isabell’s career began in a Minneapolis, Minnesota flower shop. By the 1970s he was in New York working for famed event planner and florist Renny Reynolds, whose clients included Studio 54, before going out on his own in the mid-1980s. Since that time, he designed birthday celebrations for Bette Midler and Saul Steinberg, holiday celebrations at the White House for the Clintons, weddings for Caroline Kennedy and the Miller sisters, charitable galas for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York City Ballet, and events of all type and size for friends and clients such as Ian Schrager, Bunny Mellon, Lally Weymouth, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Katherine Graham, Sarah Jessica Parker, Whitney Houston and Calvin Klein, among others.
Behind this persona was a thoughtful and private person who created a dazzling retreat in lower Manhattan that reflected his love of nature and design. He combined a modern, six-unit building with a 19th century blacksmith’s shop, ingeniously bringing the outdoors in by enclosing an existing courtyard. The resulting structure was a unique series of both intimate and soaring spaces conceived in stone, concrete, steel and glass. Mr. Isabell’s collection of 20th Century Design was an extension of this fascination with nature and light, iron and steel. Nearly all of Mr. Isabell’s collection dates to the post-war period, and it was his unique approach to curating the intermixing American studio movement and French mid-century industrial design that helped defined his aesthetic. well as many of their contemporaries. Evans, the New Hope contemporary of George Nakashima, is known for the intricate and sculpted metal facades of his furniture. Mr. Isabell’s collection includes a diverse group of significant works from Evans’ most noted series including one of his