Sunday, September 26, 2010
The San Francisco real estate mogul Walter H. Shorenstein and his wife, Phyllis, were of a generation whose tastes veered toward pretty Impressionist paintings. Mr. Shorenstein, who died in June at 95, was well known as a Democratic Party fund-raiser, and his wife, who died in 1994, was a passionate advocate of Asian art, not only as a collector but also as a founder of the city’s Asian Art Museum, which opened in Golden Gate Park in 1966.
Starting in November, their family will be selling more than 170 paintings and decorative objects from the couple’s estate at Christie’s in New York and Hong Kong. The collection is expected to bring more than $24 million.
“The combination of Impressionist paintings and Asian art is an unusual one,” said Conor Jordan, head of Christie’s Impressionist and modern art department in New York, who explained that the couple bought most of their paintings from blue-chip galleries in New York and Paris.
Among the best of them is Caillebotte’s “Seine à Argenteuil,” a sun-drenched scene of racing boats on the Seine from 1882. Estimated at $5 million to $7 million, it will go on the block Nov. 3 in Christie’s Impressionist and modern art auction. So will a portrait of three of Pissarro’s children in the family garden, a canvas that he painted in 1892 and that is expected to fetch $3 million to $4 million. There is also an early landscape by Seurat from 1882 that is expected to bring $1.8 million to $2.5 million and will be sold alongside four drawings and one painting from another seller. While Mr. Jordan would not say where they are coming from, experts familiar with the works say they belong to the Paris collector André Bromberg.
“Seraut died when he was only 31,” Mr. Jordan said. “So when good things by the artist come up, they are eagerly pursued.”