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Christie's to auction late Lord Weidenfeld's art collection

Peer owned important old masters and 20th-century works valued at over £1.4 million

    Christie’s is to auction the art collection of the late Lord Weidenfeld.

    George Weidenfeld, who became Baron Weidenfeld of Chelsea in 1976 and was well known as publisher and philanthropist, was also an avid art collector.

    Born in Vienna in 1919, he left the city before the outbreak of the Second World War and settled in London. In 1948 he co-founded Weidenfeld & Nicolson, which published many landmark biographies and novels, including the British edition of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita in 1959.

    Throughout his life, he also held diplomatic and philanthropic posts, significantly as political advisor and chief of cabinet for Chaim Weizmann, the first President of Israel.

    Lord Weidenfeld began collecting art shortly after the war and continued to acquire significant works throughout his life.

    The auction features important old master paintings and drawings, an important group of 20th-century works on paper – with a strong concentration on artists from his native Vienna – together with sculpture, furniture, decorative arts and soft furnishings.

    Highlights from his collection of 20th-century works on paper will be on view at Christie’s London from Thursday to Monday next week, ahead of the preview of the full collection in May. The collection is expected to realise in excess of £1.4 million.

    Lord Weidenfeld was one of the few people to coax revered antique dealer Geoffrey Bennison into taking on a decorating commission, by agreeing to decorate Lord Weidenfeld’s Chelsea Embankment apartment. The result was such a success that Lord Weidenfeld kept the property unchanged for more than 40 years.

    Some of the furniture and ornaments supplied by Mr Bennison are also up for auction as part of the collection, including a Lord Weidenfeld’s desk, which dates back to 1820.

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