The design auction season in New York is approaching, and the three major houses offer a wide array of material, which I will be covering in the next two weeks. Sotheby’s is offering a rare collection of furniture, designed by T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings for Casa Encantada. These pieces allow a glimpse into one of the most celebrated houses in America, and to the classicist vocabulary of the celebrity decorator. While Robsjohn-Gibbings created some of the country’s most publicized homes for such patrons as cosmetics empress Elizabeth Arden, automotive heiress Thelma Chrysler Foy, media magnate Walter Annenberg, and socialite Doris Duke, it is the 43-room Casa Encantada which had become his most ambitious project. Created for socialite Hilda Boldt Weber on a hill overlooking Los Angeles in Bel-Air, he created two hundred exquisite pieces of furniture, five of which will be offered by Sotheby’s in its Important Design sale next month. The style he devised in the interior of Casa Encantada was praised in the press as ‘sans époque,’ but what you won’t find in the auction catalogue is the fact that both Zsa Zas Gabor and Elizabeth Taylor enjoyed these pieces. Two years after its completion, Hilda Boldt was forced to sell the mansion, and for the next decades, it was occupied by Conrad Hilton, Gabor’s husband and Taylor’s father in-low (from her first husband Nicky Hilton Jr.).
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