An auction of 200 items that once filled the home of jazz singer and actress Lena Horne sold Wednesday for $316,000, more than double the highest pre-sale estimate.
The late star’s belongings from her Manhattan apartment were auctioned at Doyle New York. They epitomized her sophisticated taste: French-style furnishing, elegant costumes, jewelry and fine art.
A sequined cardigan evening coat sold for $1,125, while a small Louis Vuitton trunk with stickers inscribed Lena Horne Hayton was sold for $20,000 — far above its pre-sales estimate of $500 to $700. And a soft leather vanity case inscribed LH was estimated at $200 to $400 sold for $6,250.
Horne’s favorite designer was Giorgio di Sant’ Angelo, and a reversible mink coat by the Italian creator was estimated at $300 to $500 but sold for $8,125. A Chanel five-strand choker of gold-tone metal links and faux baroque pearls had a $1,000 to $1,200 pre-sale estimate. It sold for $2,000.
The auction house said the estimates were based on current market values, but the celebrity provenance was the “X factor” that would determine the price at auction.
The highest priced item in the sale was a colorful abstract painting by African American artist and muralist Charles Alston, which was estimated to bring $30,000 to $50,000. But it only brought in $20,000.
Horne’s refined taste extended to the furnishings in her Upper East Side home. A Rococo-style gilt-metal and glass 12-light chandelier estimated at $1,500 to $2,500 sold for $4,375.
Horne, who was also a dancer and civil rights activist, died last May at the age of 92. She appeared on screen, stage, on records and in nightclubs and concert halls. Her signature song was “Stormy Weather,” but her vocal range extended from blues and jazz and to such Rodgers and Hart classics as “The Lady Is a Tramp” and “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.”
In the 1940s, Horne was one of the first black performers hired to sing with a major white band, the first to play at the famed Copacabana nightclub in New York City and among a handful with a Hollywood contract.
A striking figure, Horne was the subject of some of the artworks in her collection, including a 1959 portrait by Geoffrey Holder that sold for $10,625 and a 1950 bronze sculpture by Peter Lambda that brought $5,938.
The collection also includes books and photographs, among them a group of books autographed by Langston Hughes (sold for $5,000) and a selection of contact sheets by Richard Avedon taken during a photo shoot with Horne (sold for $8,750).
Source: The Associated Press.