Esteemed Hugh Hardy’s Estate becomes the most awaited auction

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One of New York’s most influential builders put their estate for auction at Showplace. The Estate auction that got everyone’s attention belonged to none other than Hugh Hardy (1932 – 2017). He was an American builder whose influence adorns the most iconic cultural institutions of America.

Hardy was a highly revered person, especially in the manner for the restoration of architectural marvels in the United States of America. He has always been known to be entrusted with some of the most iconic and high profile restorations to date. So when his Estate went under the hammer it caused quite a buzz in the collectors’ arena.

The beautiful masterpieces auctioned this time have garnered a lot of praise and appreciation from the community of auction goers.Some of the high-status restitutions included venues such as Radio City Music Hall, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the New Victory Theatre and the New Amsterdam Theatre.

One of the most sought after items was the panoramic oil on canvas Harvest on the Roman Compagna by the American painter John Gadsby Chapman. It was sold for a grand $75,000, way higher that its estimation of $18,000. The detailed painting is captivating the more into the intricacies one goes. Gives the audience a feel of beautiful Roman landscape.

Evelyn Hofer’s black and white photograph on glossy paper also graced the auction. Santa Maria & Baptistry, Bergamo photograph was one of many, collected as works of contemporary art.

Among the myriad of things that caught the fancy of people, one item in particular was the 19th century decorative piece, the pair of French Dore Gilt Bronze Nautilus Figurative Sculptures.
The sculptures comes with horse heads, mounted patinated bronze, winged cherubs and nude figurative sculptures depicting Poseiden and the sea-queen Amphitrite on dolphins. It was sold for $5400 with 35 bids which was one of most bidded items in the lot.

Another Neoclassical piece with over 23 bids was the Neoclassical White Marble & Ormolu Mantel Clock. Made of white marble, black onyx and ormolu/gilt bronze, this mantel clock comes with white dial and black Arabic numerals. It also has Corinthian fluted columns, urns and a sculpture of an eagle.  Its pendulum is face of Bacchus- an ancient Greek and Roman fertility god, associated with the vine and wine.

This pair of Neoclassical manner five-light candelabra / table lamps were true representation of the era. Each arm has winged swan with double fishtails. The columns are standard gilt brass with square white marble bases. It stands at 31.5” H x 11” W and is visibly in perfect condition.


Since his first love was architecture and restoration of the arts, it was imperative that furniture played an important role in his collection. He was a keen collector of furniture and his diverse style are highlighted in a pair of French Rococo Giltwood Open Armchairs with C-scrolls. The chairs are adorned with flowers and leaf motifs. The arms and legs terminate in scrolls and is typical of mid-18th century (Louis XV) era with carved details.

Similarly, in the category of furniture, his collection would be incomplete without a wooden commode. And the one which took up an eminent place in his collection was Jean-Francois Coulon French Louis XV Bombe Commode. The 1750’s commode is complete with a marble top, two fitted drawers over a single long drawer and decorative veneer work. It has cast ormolu handles. The drawers are adorned with decorative accents at corners and feet, stamped on both frontal corners and under the marble-top “F Coulon”.

The architect though heavily influenced by the neoclassical was a man of eclectic tastes. It has  been reflected resplendently throughout his collection. Like the Judaica repousse silver Karah Passover Pesach Seder set.  With six ceremonial food cups and three shelves for matzah. It also has double doors, engraved with Hebrew letters. And each cup and a door marked,”835.” It weighs at approx 201.25 ozt and was sold for $6000 !

Enamored by art, his distinguished taste reverberated in his collections. From the ancient to the  contemporary, from fine art to photographs and oil paintings dating back to the 15th century. He was also known for and prided himself on his collection of designer items, the likes of which included Alexander McQueen, Gianni Versace, Donna Karan, Emilio Pucci among others. Not only couture but the accessories collected by him over the years went up on the auction.

The sale which went up early March was a treat for collectors worldwide. This also gave his admirers a glimpse into the world of this contemporary and dynamic figure. The auction was one of the most awaited events and had many keen eyes on the lookout. So, when the collection of one of the most influential architects in the world goes up for auction, the bidding world notices, pauses and takes a deep breath !

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Deepa Shrestha
Deepa Shrestha
Senior Writer and Editor

Deepa Shrestha is a writer at Auction Daily whose favorite lots range from murals to postcards. She earned her MBA in entrepreneurship and also has a background in sociology and photography. That includes five years as a photojournalist for Thomson Reuters.

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