The Dominick Dunne Estate Auction at Stair Galleries
Dominick Dunne the author of best-selling novels such as People Like Us and The Two Mrs. Grenvilles who became a household name as a television commentator during the O.J. Simpson trial— always liked being around famous people. He liked being famous himself, so he’d no doubt be pleased with the star treatment his estate is getting at Stair Galleries on Warren Street Hudson. It’s the kind of celebrity auction that used to be commonplace in Manhattan more than a decade ago before Sotheby’s and Christie’s got so grand—the type of sale that Dunne might have written about in Vanity Fair, where he was a longtime contributing editor and wrote about everyone from Claus von Bülow to Jackie Collins.
“Stair Galleries is terribly clever to have assumed the mantle of the now extinct Sotheby’s Arcade sales,” says Pete Hathaway, a longtime Sotheby’s executive who now runs Enterprise New Life in Salisbury, CT, a post-rehab extended-care facility for men who are recovering from alcoholism or drug addiction. “I can tell that Stair killed themselves recreating room settings [photo right], which, take it from me, isn’t easy when you’re dealing with someone’s zin-zin.” Dunne and Hathaway traveled in the same rarefied social circles and bonded over their having conquered their addictions. “As with any dead friend’s estate sale, I had a mix of emotions—sadness, amusement, shock and fond memories. and, naturally, I will be getting my check book out.”
The Dunne display at Stair is like a diorama that captures a bygone Manhattan era when it was common for tweedy writers (think George Plimpton, Gay Talese, Truman Capote as well as Dunne) to live in Upper East Side townhouses or midtown doorman buildings. Dunne (who knew all about WASP style from his days at Williams College) lived in a cozy penthouse apartment decorated with chintz-covered furniture, stacks of books and assorted bibelots, which is where I interviewed him when I wrote a profile called “On the Inside, Looking Out” for The New York Times in 1993. He also had a gentlemanly country house in Hadlyme, CT, where he kept his 1994 Jaguar convertible (estimate: $4,000 - $8,000) that is one of the highlights of the sale, according to last week’s story in The New York Times.The great thing about buying a piece of Dunne’s past—whether it’s a George III-style carved mahogany wood tripod table or a Victorian-style upholstered club chair and ottoman—is that whatever you purchase comes, appropriately, with a celebrity backstory.
Dominick Dunne Estate Sale at Stair Galleries
549 Warren Street, Hudson;
November 20 at 11 a.m.
Monday – Thursday, November 15 – 18,10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Friday, November 19, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday, November 20, 9 a.m. – 11a.m.