Published: February 21, 2017
By Laura Beach
WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. – Millicent Rogers (1902-1953), granddaughter of Standard Oil partner Henry Huttleston Rogers, held the public’s eye in the 1920s and early 1930s. Were it not for her lasting influence as a designer, collector and tastemaker, the tempestuous society beauty might have been dismissed as the Paris Hilton of her day. She married and divorced an Austrian count, an Argentine sportsman and an American stockbroker before settling down to a quiet life in Taos, N.M. Her heirs had the generosity and wit to establish Taos’s Millicent Rogers Museum, home to her unsurpassed collection of Native American jewelry, among other treasures.
The second of Millicent Rogers’ three sons, Arturo Peralta Ramos Jr, and his wife, Jacqueline, lived mainly in New York and Taos. Arturo died in New Mexico at 87 in December 2015; Jacqueline followed him in September 2016. Their combined estates headline what is sure to be a lively sale at Charlton Hall on March 2.
The worldly Peralta Ramos Jr shuttled between Europe and the United States, attending, among others, the posh Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland and Staunton Military Academy in Virginia. He studied briefly at the University of Virginia. As an adult, he pursued a variety of business interests. There may have been a clandestine nature to his work on behalf of the United States government. Known to have served the Lyndon B. Johnson administration, the lifelong traveler and manuscripts collector took great interest in foreign affairs.
A Californian by birth, Jacqueline Blanchard Peralta Ramos attended Hollywood High School, did some modeling and loved competitive riding until a back injury forced her to give it up. A 2001 story in The New York Times describes Jacqueline as a racehorse breeder fond of wearing, and removing, her mother-in-law’s extravagant jewelry.
The Arturo Peralta Ramos estate at Charlton Hall consists of 182 lots of art, antiques, manuscripts and documents. Some family pieces are known to have belonged to Millicent Rogers or her parents and can be identified in vintage photographs. Property from the estate of Jacqueline Peralta Ramos is sprinkled throughout Charlton Hall’s 88th anniversary sale, which continues on March 2 with material, including some very fine artwork, from the estates of Dorothy Greene Owen, Sue Rogers Johnson and other consignors. A live, unreserved Style + Design auction is planned for March 3. Charlton Hall wraps up three days of selling on March 4 with an online-only auction of property from various owners.
The two Peralta-Ramos estates feature the contents of the couple’s 760 Park Avenue apartment in New York City. “Two hundred-plus boxes arrived here after Jacqueline passed away,” notes Kinga Bender. Charlton Hall’s director of fine and decorative arts says her firm will conduct subsequent sales of Peralta Ramos property.
From Arturo’s estate, an Eighteenth Century Imperial Chinese gilt-bronze knife in a carved white jadeite scabbard is estimated at $30/50,000. Millicent Rogers is listed in the provenance.
Featured among several dozen pieces of European furniture, decorations and lighting is an early Nineteenth Century French Empire ormolu-mounted burl ash meuble d’appui. Attributed to Joseph-Marie Benard, it is expected to bring up to $15,000.
American art enthusiasts might consider a still life of fruit attributed to Rubens Peale ($10/15,000) or “Squirrel Hill Farm,” a landscape by Pennsylvania folk artist John Kane ($6/9,000).
“Many lots were gifts from Arturo to Jacqueline. Some have a Millicent Rogers connection,” says Bender. Among three late additions from Jacqueline’s estate are “January Bills” by David Gilmour Blythe (1815-1865). Millicent acquired the painting, estimated at $15/25,000, from Macbeth Gallery. There is also a 1902 pastel by Everett Shinn and a pencil drawing by Eugene Delacroix.
A mix of family memorabilia and items relating to Arturo Peralta Ramos’s professional endeavors and collecting interests range from a photo inscribed by Mark Twain to Mary Rogers, Millicent’s mother, to a German Reich signed emergency decree of 1933. The latter may fetch $30,000.
Rounding out the weekend are paintings by Maurice Prendergast, Thomas Hinckley and George Forster. A 1964 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III from a South Carolina collection is estimated at $20/30,000.
“It is going to be an exciting sale,” Bender says.
The auctions start at 11 am on Thursday and Friday, March 2 and 3. An opening night cocktail reception is planned for Saturday, February 25, from 4 to 7 pm. The auction preview is March 1, 10 am to 5 pm; March 2 and 3 from 10 to 11 am, and by appointment.
Charlton Hall Galleries is at 7 Lexington Drive. For information, 803-779-5678 or www.charltonhallauctions.com.
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