Although Stair Galleries is simultaneously presenting items from another upcoming auction – 20 th Century, Modern and Contemporary Fine Art, which notably includes a Liechtenstein, an illustrated book by Henri Matisse, multiple works by Andy Warhol and a literal Picasso- Everyone’s here this morning to explore Joan Didion’s estate auction.
“Enter the blue room on your right,” repeated Stair creative director Jo Olsen as the steady stream of people poured into the room. The 1,500 sq. ft. blue-gray room is divided into three distinct areas. The right wing has a living room experience, featuring an oversized Victorian-style woven rattan armchair in which Didion was photographed sitting in more than once; a low white wooden table; Mahogany Victorian style side chair. There are framed artworks, ranging from abstractions to landscapes, and a stack of coffee table books, which the auction is calling “a five-book set about California,” sit on square walnut and fruitwood tables with inlaid parquet floors — a distance from Also only a few inches off the ground. In the living area, I overheard more than one person comment on how petite some of the furniture looked, almost Lilliputian. Several women whispered about Joan’s petite stature, with one even quoting a figure, “She weighs 20 pounds.”
In the center of the room is Didion’s desk, an American oak library desk, and her IBM typewriter. Her fruitwood and metal swivel table and chair sit in the back corner, draped over a brown Loro Piana cashmere shawl. Standing at my desk, I found Jennifer Whitman from Richmond, who was working in the Hudson area. She’s grateful for the timing so she can pay homage to Didion’s personal items in real life. “Most items seem out of reach, but in dream world, I want desks for two,” says Whitman. “I’d love to own something.”
Gallery courtesy of Stair .