PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston September 2022

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passions made her a lifelong student of art history. She grew up on a peach and walnut farm in the Sierra Foothills of Northern California — driving and fixing tractors made her very practical, she said. After she met and married Gordon (they eloped to Las Vegas), Ann spent decades studying anthropology and paleoanthropology. For more than 40 years, she was at the center of international art and antiques, first as a student, later as a serious buyer. For years, she worked on archaeological digs in Ethiopia and Egypt to study ceramics, carving, antique textiles. Her private plane, the Jetty, came in handy for worldwide research and study trips. Ann's first brush with high-level decorating was with Albert Hadley and his partner, Sister Parish, who decorated Ann's Pacific Heights house when her four sons were young. She briefly commissioned John Stefanidis to decorate guest rooms. The California firm Leavitt & Weaver advised on her complex vision for the living room and decorated the Jetty. When Ann completed the decoration of the Gettys' San Francisco residence, then launched her design firm, her knowledge of textiles, design, and antiques came into even sharper focus. She had a panoramic view of design — from arcane aspects of Chinoiserie and late-19th-century Napoleon III-influenced Turkish decor to Hyderabad embroidery, Russian and Indian textiles, Venetian baroque styles, and princely Sicilian verre églomisé furniture. When her design firm received inter- national attention in the late '90s, it did not go unnoticed in the design world. "Why is she setting herself up as a professional decorator? She doesn't need the money," sniped one huffy California decorator. It was a rare retort, as everyone was aware of her cultural philanthropy and support of music education in schools and of animal welfare groups in San Francisco and beyond. Ann started c o l l e c t i n g antiques seriously m o r e t h a n 40 years ago, somewhat under the guidance of Gordon's father, J. Paul Getty, who steered the couple toward classical 18th- century English antiques and art — the pieces that were being sold off from the greatest of the great English country-house collections of the time. Prices were reasonable, J. Paul said, as all the museums were at that time mad for 18th-century French, and those prices were astronomical. Every piece has a significant provenance. The chandelier in the dining room once belonged to Daisy Fellowes (Mrs. Reginald, one of the many Singer heiresses). There were porcelains from the Consuelo Vanderbilt collection and sofas from Rudolf Nureyev's Paris apartment (he was a friend). Ann reupholstered Nureyev's worn Bevilacqua sofa and used cut-off fragments for the silken patchwork curtains in the music room. A nn died suddenly the fall of 2020. In November 2021, Gordon presented the music- filled wedding reception of his granddaughter Ivy Getty to Tobias Engel with 4 5 0 i n t e r n a t i o n a l guests. The lavish and generous celebration (who could forget the dreamy John Galliano-designed c o u t u r e w e d d i n g dress) was orchestrated by Stanlee Gatti with gorgeous pale pink roses and multiple bands and dance floors. It was the last big bash at the Getty residence, the final hurrah before everything was expertly recorded by Christie's and sent on its way to New York. The Christie's sale for The Ann & Gordon Getty Collection will be held over four evening and day auctions in New York from October 20 through 23. Proceeds, expected to be upwards of $300 million, will benefit the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation for the Arts, dedicated to supporting arts and science organizations. Top: The Getty dining room with copies of Badminton chairs of which the Gettys own two originals. A promenade of Tiepolo-style murals line the walls. Above: On tabletop, 18th-century French porcelains and rock crystal objects. Left: From the sale, a pair of George II mahogany and parcel-gilt armchairs, and an enameled gold wine cup, India, Jaipur, 19th-20th century. 72

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