Auctions | November 7, 2010

Dominick Dunne Estate Auction, Nov. 20

On November 20th, Stair Galleries will offer the estate of the late Dominick Dunne. Legendary reporter, novelist, producer, and television personality, Mr. Dunne was one of America’s most respected and recognized media figures, “whose celebrity,” according to the New York Times, “often outshone that of his subjects.”

From an early age, Mr. Dunne longed for the glamour and intrigue of Hollywood, a world quite removed from his upbringing in West Hartford, Connecticut. Drafted into the Army at age eighteen, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery.

Following World War II, Mr. Dunne attended Williams College, founding a theater company with classmate, Stephen Sondheim. His early work in live television eventually led him to Los Angeles, where he transitioned from television executive to movie producer of such ground breaking films as The Boys in the Band and The Panic in Needle Park. Personal and professional failures, however, led to a precipitous fall from grace in Hollywood, followed by the murder of his daughter.

But, out of this tragedy, Mr. Dunne found his voice and achieved his greatest success as a writer. He chronicled the worlds, criminal and otherwise, of the rich and famous, both as a novelist, publishing such best sellers as The Two Mrs. Grenvilles, An Inconvenient Woman and People Like Us, and concurrently as a special correspondent for Vanity Fair, for which he is credited with setting the tone and style of magazine. His fame reached an even wider audience as the host of Court TV’s Dominick Dunne’s Power, Privilege and Justice. In August of 2009, Mr. Dunne died after a long battle against cancer, but his work lives on, including a posthumously published novel, Too Much Money.

Mr. Dunne was known for his impeccable taste in clothes and décor. His homes, a terraced penthouse with sweeping views in midtown Manhattan and a colonial style saltbox overlooking a tidal cove in Hadlyme, Connecticut, perfectly represented his evolved sensibilities. Both were laden with books and an unusual array of objects, including a group of fine Chinese Export porcelain, purchased over his lifetime from such noted dealers as Colefax and Fowler in London. Many pieces in the collection were originally purchased by Mr. Dunne and his late wife for their Beverly Hills house, the scene of legendary parties, where the powerful and beautiful of the Hollywood set mingled with the cream of old Los Angeles society. Each treasured object held personal meaning and with it always an intricate and often hilarious story.

This sale will include furniture and decorations from both homes, as well as many books written by his contemporaries, most signed or inscribed by the authors, a selection of Hollywood memorabilia and photographs, and his beloved green Jaguar convertible, “Audrey.” Mr. Dunne’s very personal collection is a true reflection of his colorful life and career.

Previews begin on Friday, November 12th, and run through the morning of the sale on the 20th. A fully illustrated catalog will be made available online 10 days preceding the sale. For additional information about the sale please contact Natalie Brown through email or by phone.