This once-in-a-life time event represents the first time that the extremely private Dr. Weber, founder and director of Bard Graduate Center, who has devoted her life to the study and advancement of the decorative arts will pass these museum-quality treasures from her extensive 20th century furniture collection on to the next group of design enthusiasts.
Having recently sold her Upper East Side townhouse that housed the collection, Weber no longer has the space nor lives the lifestyle that includes such pieces as a rosewood and parchment-wrapped dresser by Osvaldo Borsani; a dramatic glass chandelier by Max Ingrand for Fontana Arte originally commissioned for the Italian Pavilion of the 1958 Worlds Fair in Brussels; a ca. 1955 pair of Pierre Dunand lacquered accordion doors featuring an elegant motif of deer and ducks that were originally commissioned by Jules Leleu for a home in Rio de Janeiro as well a iconic designs by Andre Sornay, Emile Jacques Ruhlmann and Carlo Bugatti.
Rather than send them to auction, Weber is exhibiting and selling them in a public forum with all proceeds from the collection, estimated at approximately $3 million benefiting the Bard Graduate Center Scholarship Fund.
The Scholarship Fund provides essential financial aid while creating invaluable formative opportunities such as internships and research travel for young scholars. The Fund also covers public programs for adults, seniors, student and family audiences and an outreach suitcase program that travels to schools within the metropolitan region.
Weber is widely credited with establishing the decorative arts as a serious academic discipline. In 1993, she founded (and funded along with her then-husband the billionaire George Soros) the Bard Graduate Center program in the decorative arts and design history. So far more than 360 students have earned advanced degrees at the BGC.
To help her mount this exhibition Weber has enlisted long-time friends and fellow design enthusiasts architect and interior designer David Mann who created the décor for several of her homes and Benoist F. Drut managing partner at Maison Gerard who has advised her over the course of her career. Mann is creating an original mise-en-scene for the sale – an elegant living room décor that highlights how to live with these incredible pieces in a comfortable modern setting. Drut is co-curating the exhibition with her.
“I am sorry to see these treasure go, ” said Weber. “I have lived with these pieces for more than fifteen years and they are like old well-loved friends, ” says Weber. “The ideal buyer would be someone who would maintain and enjoy them in their home like I did.”
Dr. Susan Weber, founder and director of Bard Graduate Center, sales rare furniture and design from her private collection in the Collective Design fair at Skylight Clarkson Square, 550 Washington Street in Manhattan from May 13th through May 17th, 2015. It is open to the public.