Sotheby’s Unveils The Wolf Household Assortment: The Most Necessary Assortment of American Artwork, Sculpture, Ornamental Arts, and Design Ever to Seem at Public sale

Sotheby’s Unveils The Wolf Household Assortment: The Most Necessary Assortment of American Artwork, Sculpture, Ornamental Arts, and Design Ever to Seem at Public sale

“It’s a particular honor to have a good time the life and legacy of my household who collectively had been extraordinarily obsessed with artwork and objects of excellent craftsmanship. My dad and mom, specifically, devoted their lives to pursuing the issues that impressed them, whether or not personally, professionally, or as collectors. As collectors, they had been devoted buddies and supporters of museums and establishments, and had been pushed to increase their data of American artwork and the objects they liked.  The gathering is a tribute to their curious spirit and keenness for discovery, which they in flip instilled in me and my siblings from an early age.”

Mathew Wolf

NEW YORK, 13 January 2023 – Erving and Joyce (Pleasure) Wolf had been pioneers in all features of life, and their exceptional journeys, starting with their upbringings at a Wyoming Air Pressure Base and in Brooklyn, in some ways, epitomize the romantic beliefs of the American Dream, from their whirlwind courtship of simply over two weeks to constructing the Wolf Land Firm and Inexco Oil Firm from the bottom up amidst the backdrop of the American West, and way more.

One of many guiding rules that outlined their seven many years of marriage was the Wolfs’ shared ardour and love of American artwork and objects. A mirror to their insatiable curiosity, wide-ranging pursuits, and decades-long friendships throughout the artwork group, the huge assortment that stuffed the Wolf’s Fifth Avenue residence is exclusive in its superlative high quality and unparalleled depth. Replete with greater than 1,000 particular person works that adorned its rigorously curated areas, the rooms of the house every highlight a unique a method and time interval whereas creating a novel concord that ties all of them collectively and evokes the grandeur and authenticity of museum interval rooms. The house exudes an easy model that could be a testomony to Erving and Pleasure’s pure capacity to reside with and care for his or her assortment, from work adorned with probably the most elegantly carved frames to works on paper preserved to their highest integrity to beautiful ceramics positioned across the residence.

The Wolf Household Assortment is comprised of a exceptional breadth of remarkable works of advantageous and ornamental arts, with extraordinary examples of work and watercolors, sculpture, early American furnishings, silver, Chinese language export porcelain, design, and jewellery.  In its spectacular totality the gathering embodies the spirit of American artistry, design, and craftsmanship, spanning the 18th via twentieth centuries. Every distinctive area within the Wolf dwelling permits for conversations and pure connections between work and objects which give an intimate window into American historical past, from the Colonial Period to the Arts & Crafts Motion to the avant-garde artists of the Stieglitz Circle within the early twentieth century.

Becoming of their long-standing place throughout the American artwork group, the Wolfs went on to notably endow The Erving and Joyce Wolf Gallery within the American Wing of The Metropolitan Museum of Artwork – the place Joyce was a founding member and each had been a part of the William Cullen Bryant Fellows – and later made contributions to the Denver Artwork Museum and the Nationwide Gallery in Washington, D.C, defining their legacy as stalwart buddies of American artwork within the truest sense.

Estimated to comprehend in extra of $50 million, The Wolf Household Assortment will likely be provided at Sotheby’s New York starting this April throughout an historic sequence of single-owner gross sales (see full schedule under), all collectively constituting one of many largest and most vital non-public collections of American artwork to ever come to public sale. 

The sale sequence will launch with a season-defining Night Sale, The Spirit of America, showcasing a choice of the Assortment’s high masterworks in advantageous artwork, sculpture, furnishings, Chinese language Export porcelain, silver and twentieth century design. The Spirit of America would be the first sale of its variety to current masterpieces from these various gathering fields in a single public sale, adopted by a sequence of cross-category reside and on-line gross sales curated to replicate the narratives and dialogues throughout the gathering.

Sotheby’s Unveils The Wolf Household Assortment: The Most Necessary Assortment of American Artwork, Sculpture, Ornamental Arts, and Design Ever to Seem at Public sale
The Wolf Household Fifth Avenue residence that includes Winslow Homer’s On the Seashore at Marshfield, 1872; The Necessary Gibbs Household Chippendale Block and Shell Carved Mahogany Kneehole Bureau Desk, Newport, Rhode Island, Circa 1770. Picture Courtesy of Sotheby’s

The Wolf Household and their Amassing Journey

Erving (1926-2018) was born in Nebraska and raised in Cheyenne, Wyoming the place his father, Leon, was the tailor on the Francis E. Warren Air Pressure Base, whereas Joyce (1927-2022) was raised in Brooklyn, New York, about as removed from Cheyenne as potential. After honorably serving within the Navy and stationed in Guam throughout World Struggle II, Erving met his future spouse in Denver shortly earlier than she proposed to him solely days after assembly one another, and so they had been married in 1951. A short courtship and an everlasting love served as the inspiration for an exceedingly affluent partnership in life and enterprise. 

Erving obtained bachelor’s levels from Northwestern College and Notre Dame and earned a regulation diploma from Northwestern College. He practiced regulation in Cheyenne earlier than being drawn to the oil and gasoline business. In 1951, the identical 12 months he married Joyce (née Mandel), he based the Wolf Land Firm, which later grew to become the Inexco Oil Firm. Below Erving’s management, Inexco found Wyoming’s 200-million-barrel Hilight Oil Discipline and its four-trillion-cubic-foot Madden Fuel Discipline, one of many largest pure gasoline reserves in the USA, in addition to the Key Lake Uranium Mine in Saskatchewan, Canada, which as soon as produced 15 % of the world’s uranium.

Though Joyce was born and raised in Brooklyn, the West performed an necessary half in her life. The day after their marriage ceremony, Joyce and Erving returned to Cheyenne, the place all three of their kids had been born, after which moved to Denver for eleven years. She was instrumental in constructing and overseeing the household’s cattle ranch in Ridgway, Colorado, the place she spent nearly each summer season, whereas Erving, who grew to become a captain of business, led the Wolf Land Firm.

Becoming of their successes, the couple started their gathering journey within the Nineteen Sixties with American Indian rugs, pottery, and jewellery from buying and selling posts within the 4 Corners space. The Wolfs embodied the connoisseur mannequin of gathering, one constructed on scholarship, endurance, and a way of life with artwork that speaks to the timeless high quality of the works of their assortment.

Practically twenty years later, Joyce and Erving grew to become main benefactors of the nation’s biggest museums and different establishments, instilling a ardour and curiosity of artwork to those that stick with it their legacy. The couple donated quite a few works of American artwork to The Metropolitan Museum of Artwork, the place Joyce was a founding member of the William Cullen Bryant Fellows, and The Erving and Joyce Wolf Gallery was devoted within the museum’s American Wing in 1980. In 2001, Erving Wolf was elected an Honorary Trustee of The Metropolitan Museum of Artwork.

Of the main presents made to The Metropolitan Museum of Artwork, two are notably important – a big silver presentation vase made in Philadelphia by Fletcher and Gardiner that was given in 1825 to Governor DeWitt Clinton to commemorate the opening of the Erie Canal, and Martin Johnson Heade’s 1859 portray The Coming Storm, a masterpiece of American Luminism.

The couple additionally loaned and gave American artworks and sculpture to the Denver Artwork Museum and to the Nationwide Gallery of Artwork in Washington, D.C. in honor of their late daughter, Diane Wolf. Together with his brothers, Erving donated the Leon and Dora Wolf Legislation Constructing on the College of Colorado Faculty of Legislation, in honor of their dad and mom.

Iconic collectors at a time when Individuals had been simply starting to protect their very own historical past, the Wolfs had been staples in Sotheby’s salerooms. With their kids in tow, the couple would sit for hours whereas taking within the distinctive rhythms of our auctions and studying easy methods to determine artwork and objects of remarkable artistry and high quality. Every bit being a small a part of this story, The Wolf Household Assortment grew because the household’s pursuits continued to increase into the subsequent era. They bestowed their curiosity and fervent ardour for gathering onto their kids who every carried this via to their private {and professional} lives.

A Glimpse Contained in the Assortment

American Artwork

“Few collections so seamlessly bridge the currents of American artwork throughout centuries as does the Wolf assortment, which, via this rigorously chosen group of work and sculptures, articulates a novel story of American historical past from Colonial America via the twentieth century. It’s a deeply private assortment that splendidly captures the breadth of the Wolf’s areas of curiosity and their deep and abiding ardour for American artwork.”

Kayla Carlsen, Sotheby’s Head of American Artwork

William Merritt Chase

In the Studio

oil on canvas
29 by 23 ½ in. (73.7 by 59.7 cm.)
Executed in 1892
William Merritt Chase Within the Studio oil on canvas 29 by 23 ½ in. (73.7 by 59.7 cm.) Executed in 1892. Picture Courtesy of Sotheby’s

The American work from The Wolf Household Assortment are unmatched of their distinctive high quality and broad scope. They symbolize the easiest from a variety of durations, topics, and types spanning the historical past of American artwork, from 18th century portraits to nineteenth century landscapes to twentieth century modernism. The centerpiece of this huge and necessary assortment is William Merritt Chase’s masterpiece of American portray, with portrait highlights by John Singleton Copley and Gilbert Stuart—founding members of the American artwork scene within the 18th and nineteenth centuries—in addition to depictions of the American panorama, together with Hudson River Faculty work by Sanford Robinson Gifford and Worthington Whittredge. European influences representing the cultural interchange that occurred within the 18th and nineteenth centuries are embodied in works by Winslow Homer and John La Farge, with work by American modernists Maurice B. Prendergast and Charles Demuth highlighting the technical, cultural, and inventive achievements of the twentieth century.

Moreover, a rigorously curated choice of necessary bronzes in The Wolf Household Assortment surveys the best choices of American sculpture by probably the most famend artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and is among the many most spectacular non-public holdings of American sculpture ever assembled. As with the broader assortment, the American bronzes span numerous geographic areas and historic durations in a way that presents a complete examine of American historical past via sculpture. The vary of the gathering contains a number of works by Paul Manship and Augustus Saint-Gaudens, providing a novel perspective into their practices. 

twentieth Century Design

“The Wolf Assortment is exclusive in that it encompasses legendary treasures of American artwork and objects throughout all time durations and genres. The gathering of American Prewar Design is unparalleled in its artistry, high quality and pedigree, and brings the narratives inside this exceptional assemblage into the fashionable realm.  Within the earliest and early life of this market, Erv and Pleasure had the good imaginative and prescient and foresight to amass a few of the most defining and traditionally necessary works ever created by Louis Consolation Tiffany, Frank Lloyd Wright and Greene.  The gathering stands as a real testomony to their distinctive style, ardour and connoisseurship.”

Jodi Pollack, Sotheby’s Co-Worldwide Head of twentieth Century Design

Greene & Greene

Monumental Lantern from the Entry of the Robert R. Blacker House, Pasadena, California

Circa 1908

Iridized and opalescent glass, mahogany, ebony, abalone, copper, fruitwood and silver inlays

23 in. (58.4 cm) drop
Greene & Greene Monumental Lantern from the Entry of the Robert R. Blacker Home, Pasadena, California Circa 1908 Iridized and opalescent glass, mahogany, ebony, abalone, copper, fruitwood and silver inlays 23 in. (58.4 cm) drop . Picture Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Rife with masterpieces of twentieth century design, displaying the inventive development and lineage of expertise from the Colonial Period to the twentieth century, The Wolf Household Assortment marks probably the most important providing of American prewar design to look at public sale in a era. The gathering options a few of the most necessary historic works by the quintessential artists and designers who outlined the twentieth century, notably Louis Consolation Tiffany, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Greene & Greene. As seen throughout genres, the Wolf design assortment speaks to a connoisseurial standards of the very best order outlined by supreme artistry, masterful craftsmanship, and impeccable provenance.  

American Furnishings

“Erving and Pleasure Wolf assembled a exceptional, best-in-class assortment of American furnishings, with definitive examples from the best makers of their time. This assortment epitomizes the last word achievement in craftsmanship in Colonial America and celebrates not solely the enduring and timeless high quality of those items, which had been lovingly lived with, but additionally the Wolf’s dedication and keenness for the craft, as they thoughtfully constructed their assortment over many years.”

Erik Gronning, Sotheby’s Head of Americana

The Important McMichael-Tilghman Family "Acme Of Perfection" Chippendale Carved And Figured Mahogany Scalloped-Top Tilt-Top Tea Table
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Circa 1755
The Necessary McMichael-Tilghman Household “Acme Of Perfection” Chippendale Carved And Figured Mahogany Scalloped-High Tilt-High Tea Desk Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Circa 1755. Picture Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Among the many highlights of American furnishings in The Wolf Household Assortment, three examples representing the main furniture-making facilities in America throughout the 18th century – Newport, Rhode Island, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Boston, Massachusetts–are every singular masterpieces of American craftsmanship from this era.

Chinese language Artwork and Exports

Meticulously assembled by Erving and Joyce Wolf for the reason that Seventies, The Wolf Household Assortment’s Chinese language and Chinese language export ceramics holdings make up one of many landmark ceramics collections of its variety. Comprising Ming and Qing porcelains, the Assortment contains important examples of 18th century works, together with many broadly revealed best-of-type items previously within the collections of James A. Garland, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller Jr., Laurance S. Rockefeller, Nelson A. Rockefeller, J. M. Hu and François Hervouët, amongst others. 

Notable items embody a powerful pair of Famille-Verte ‘Phoenix and Qilin’ vases; a big Famille-Verte ‘birds and legendary beasts’ rouleau vase; three Chinese language export ‘Hong’ punch bowls; a blue and white pilgrim flask, Ming dynasty, Wanli interval circa 1610-20, embellished with the arms of Spain; and a number of works that includes designs by Dutch 18th century artist Cornelis Pronk together with a uncommon lavender floor five-piece garniture and a pair of ‘torchbearers’ wall sconces. The wide-ranging and complete assortment is likely one of the most vital teams of Chinese language export porcelains to look at public sale throughout the final thirty years.


The 2 largest classes of silver in The Wolf Household Assortment are the American Colonial silver and the Artwork Nouveau silver line by Gorham Mfg. Co. referred to as Martelé. The main lot from the Colonial silver is the set of three beakers by Paul Revere, Jr., the outstanding silversmith who’s finest often known as the good patriot of the American Revolution. The Charles LeRoux tankard is an exquisite instance of an early New York tankard. It has the entire ornamental parts that the most effective early 18th century New York tankards are identified for: cut-cardwork ornament across the base, a deal with utilized with a baluster and with a solid cherub terminal, a corkscrew thumbpiece, and a canopy with formed and engraved rim.

The ingenuity and ability of American silversmiths is additional celebrated within the Wolf assortment by the in depth group of silver by Gorham, one of many largest and most necessary American silver producers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, second solely to Tiffany & Co. Specifically, they collected Gorham’s Martelé line, which was the corporate’s American interpretation of the French Artwork Nouveau model. Martelé interprets “to hammer”, and with the whiplash curves of the Artwork Nouveau model, this line evokes the shaping of silver from its molten state. An elaborate terrapin silver suite which features a coated tureen and set of twelve matching bowls is probably the most spectacular group of Martelé silver within the Wolf’s assortment.  


Just like the advantageous and ornamental artwork within the The Wolf Household Assortment, the jewels replicate a lifetime of connoisseurship and an appreciation for uncommon, usually one-of-a-kind designs. The overwhelming majority is signed by esteemed makers, from creative creations by René Boivin, Jean Schlumberger, and JAR to traditional types by Van Cleef & Arpels, David Webb, and Harry Winston.  Maybe the best triumph of the Assortment is the in depth choice of Van Cleef & Arpels mystery-set jewels – probably the most spectacular of its variety ever to look at public sale – with eight beautiful examples from quite a lot of durations in sapphires and rubies.