Saturday, July 28, 2012




Sothebys NY -Property from the Estate of Brooke Astor July 20 - Cecil Beaton Archive-1.jpg
Brooke Astor in her heyday
Sothebys NY -Property from the Estate of Brooke Astor July 20 - Cecil Beaton Archive-1.jpg
Stunning emerald suite which I adore!
Sothebys NY -Property from the Estate of Brooke Astor July 20 - Cecil Beaton Archive-1.jpg
Her comfortable and luxurious home in Holly Hill
Sothebys NY -Property from the Estate of Brooke Astor July 20 - Cecil Beaton Archive-1.jpg

Chinese gilt bronze lion clock
Sothebys NY -Property from the Estate of Brooke Astor July 20 - Buddhist Altar Pieces-1.jpg
Buddhist altar deities

Of course all this will be deadly dreary and blatantly boring if there are no lawsuits among the beneficiaries. And there are! Just to make us peasants pat ourselves on our backs and say just as well we are not so rich though in our heart we wish we would be far richer as we would make sure such shenadigans would not occur.

Anyway she married thrice, each time to rich scion of some fabled fortune or company so she scored on this. I never get to marry at all since this is the wish of Buddha and Jesus Christ and who am I to argue with the gods but at least they gave me Dedione Kee, my 1.5 month old adopted French son. My first son also named Dedione Kee, died on 4 May 2011 aged 13 years and I got the new replacement Dedione on 7 May 2011.

Where are we?

Oh, Brooke Astor. I love her famous quote; "If I go to Harlem or down Sixth Street (poor areas of New York) and I am not dressed up or wearing my jewellery, then people feel I am talking down to them. People expect to see Mrs Astor, not some dowdy old lady, and I don't intend to disappoint!"

Wow, said like some hardcore fashion trooper! I love this and another of her quote, "I now feel like a public monument"!

Suffering from dementia before she died, Brooke Astor signed various  wills and codicils that were hotly contested by her sole heir and son Anthony Marshall who at 87 years old is not exactly a naughty playboy cruising the wateringholes of the world in some flashy Ferrari. He went to court using a walking stick and looked rather decrepit and ailing, poor thing. But at least he led a life of unfettered luxury from the day he was born.

His fortune and inheritance have been slashed. He will get RM 55 million but his legal fees are nearly RM 36 million!

This sordid story started when Brooke Astor's only heir and son, Anthony Marshall, stood to inherit some RM 100 million, with the rest going to charity when he died. This should have been enough since at 87 he really did not need to dough to go clubbing nightly or pay for prostitutes.

However there is a feminine spanner in the works in the form of his wife Charlene who was detested by Brooke Astor and seen as the manipulative, greedy harlot or some such epithet. I cannot say for sure as I have never met her.

In 2002, Anthony Marshall and his lawyer Francis Morrissey got Brooke Astor, then suffering from dementia, to sign several codicils to the main will, giving Marshall extra power of execution and allowing him to leave much of the fortune to any charity or anyone, especially his younger and third wife!

This led to criminal prosecution and in 2009 Marshall and his lawyer were found guilty of grand larceny, fraud and all sorts of naughty things. Marshall appealed which is now pending though his sentence should be 1 to 3 years and at his age and condition, he would probably die in prison so the court may place him under house arrest and he need not have appealed. But I am not a lawyer...

On 28 March 2012, a settlement was reached. From the original RM 210 million, Marshall would get only RM 100 million which is more than what I have.

Sadly, he will now get a mere RM 9 million!

Meanwhile, Anthony Marshall's son Philip also had little to gain. It was Philip who testified against his father Anthony in court as he filed for guardianship over his grandmother, opening the can of worms over his father's chicaneries and mistreatment of Brooke Astor. In court, Philip testified that his father forced Brooke Astor to sleep on a couch stained with dog urine! If true, he should be cooked in boiling water for being such a unfilial son!

Now, RM 300 million has been released for charities and include Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, Prospect Park and New York Public Library.

Sotheby’s New York, 24 & 25 September 2012


July 2012 Sotheby’s New York auction of Property from the Estate of Brooke Astor – beloved philanthropist and legendary figure in New York society – will be held on 24 & 25 September 2012. The sale will comprise fine and decorative art from Mrs. Astor’s Park Avenue apartment in New York City and her Westchester County estate, Holly Hill, as well as a selection of jewelry from her personal collection. The approximately 800 items in the sale will be on exhibition in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries beginning 17 September.

In keeping with her unwavering commitment to numerous New York institutions and causes, Mrs. Astor selected 
a number of charitable organizations to benefit from her estate, including The New York Public Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Pierpont Morgan Library, The Animal Medical Center of New York, and New York City Schools, in addition to various charities in Maine.

"Brooke Astor’s enthusiasm for every detail pertaining to the furnishing and decorating of her rooms is charmingly effective. No one can equal her gaiety of spirit, her joyous laughter, and her keen wit.”
– Albert Hadley, famed decorator who designed rooms for both
Holly Hill and the Astors’ Park Avenue apartment.

As Mrs. Astor surrounded herself with objects she loved, each of the works on
 offer this September reflects her life and passions: from Chinese lacquer furniture, clocks, mirror paintings and export porcelain that recall her early years in Asia when her father was stationed abroad, to the drawings and  paintings of dogs – many depicting her own – that demonstrate her love for her animals, to the lion brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels that evokes the iconography of The New York Public Library, an institution she championed for decades.  The rooms and contents of both residences display a mix of comfort and refinement and reveal a woman of taste who would embody the New York of her time. 

Mrs. Astor’s duplex apartment in the Rosario Candela designed
building at Park Avenue and 73rd street is one of New York City’s most famous residences, and housed the iconic library that is one of the most photographed rooms in the history of
 American interior design. Mrs. Astor hosted American  presidents, foreign dignitaries, and influential cultural figures and members of society in the celebrated rooms, which she decorated to serve as an inviting space for raising funds for her numerous charitable causes.

The furniture and decorative arts from the residence
represent a mix of styles and periods, evidence of the
worldly eye of their collector. The furniture on offer in the
September auction features English and French pieces from
both the 18th and early-19th centuries, as well as Chinese
lacquer furniture primarily dating to the Qing dynasty. Fine
art from the apartment is highlighted by strong groups of
both Old Master drawings – including works by Giovanni
Battista Tiepolo, Canaletto and Nicolas Lancret – and
Chinese export reverse-painted glass pieces.

Mrs. Astor’s stone manor set on more than 60 acres in
Westchester County was designed in 1927 by architect Paul
William Delano. With the same approach she took to her
New York City duplex, she filled Holly Hill with furniture,
decorations and personal effects that very much reflected
her tastes and interests. For example, Mrs. Astor’s love for
her gardens at the estate carries through to the many of the
floral-themed pieces on offer.

In keeping with the natural setting, Mrs. Astor filled multiple walls with pictures of dogs, which will form a
significant selection in the September auction. Additional highlights of the fine art from the Westchester estate
include Henri Fantin-Latour’s The Red Rose and The White Rose (ests. US$80/120,000 each), and
Maurice Prendergast’s Sitting on the Rocks (est. US$300/400,000).

Sothebys NY -Property from the Estate of Brooke Astor July 20 - Cecil Beaton Archive-1.jpg
A view of the drawing room in Mrs. Astor’s
New York City apartment, including a selection of
Old Master drawings and Chinese export porcelain
A view through the drawing room
into the library at Holly Hill

Assembled primarily in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s, Mrs. Astor’s
personal collection of jewelry evokes her role as a renowned New York social figure, with pieces appropriate for every occasion both day and night. In addition to examples by each of the best designers of the 20th century – including Van Cleef & Arpels, Verdura, Cartier, Buccellati, David Webb, Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., and Bulgari – the September auction will also feature a strong group of stones. Highlights will include an Emerald and Diamond Ring set with a Colombian emerald weighing 22.84 carats (pictured right, est. $100/150,000), an Emerald and Diamond Necklace,
circa 1965 ( est. $250/350,000), and the wonderful articulated 18 Karat Gold, Fancy Colored Diamond, Coral and Ruby Lion Brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels, New York ( est.

Sothebys NY -Property from the Estate of Brooke Astor July 20 - Cecil Beaton Archive-1.jpg
Estimated at RM 750,000 to over a million ringgit---my favorite piece!
Sothebys NY -Property from the Estate of Brooke Astor July 20 - Cecil Beaton Archive-1.jpg
Chinese gilt bronze lion clock
Sothebys NY -Property from the Estate of Brooke Astor July 20 - Buddhist Altar Pieces-1.jpg

Buddhist altar pieces

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