NEW YORK – Sotheby’s has unveiled the full auction contents of The World of Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, which will be offered across a series of auctions this June in New York. The series of sales, consisting of more than 300 individual items that the legendary actors assembled and enjoyed throughout their 50-year marriage, will offer a window into the personal and professional lives of the famed couple who were also dedicated philanthropists. Drawn primarily from their residence in Connecticut, the Sotheby’s sales will offer film and entertainment memorabilia, automotive and racing collectables, family photographs, antique furniture and fine decorative arts collected by the couple – in addition to two of Newman’s highly coveted Rolex wristwatches. Together, the auctions will illuminate the two worlds that Woodward and Newman occupied: the glamorous lifestyle of a Hollywood power-couple, and their private life where they surrounded themselves with the people, objects and philanthropic causes they cherished the most.
The World of Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman is divided into three separate sales; Important Watches on June 9 – which is highlighted by three watches that were frequently worn and much loved by Woodward and Newman; A Life and Legacy, spanning May 31 to June 12, which features memorabilia from Woodward and Newman’s careers as well as the art and objects that they surrounded themselves with; and finally High Speed, taking place between May 31 and June 13, which is a sale entirely devoted to Newman’s extensive legacy in the car-racing world. In addition, a selection of movie posters and other works from the collection will be available on Sotheby’s Buy Now marketplace.
The exhibition will be open to the public at Sotheby’s New York galleries from June 1 – 11, alongside Sotheby’s Luxury Week exhibitions of jewelry, watches and luxury handbags and accessories.
A Life & Legacy, Online Auction | May 31 – June 12
The Westport, Connecticut home of Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman encapsulates the life they built and shared together with their family: full of love, humor and a sense of adventure. The Life & Legacy sale features a curated selection of the memorabilia, furniture, fine art and decor that the Newman family amassed and lived with for decades on end.
Film and Entertainment Memorabilia
The film and entertainment memorabilia on offer features material associated with projects spanning Woodward and Newman’s careers in film and television. Highlights include scripts and award certificates associated with iconic films such as Rachel, Rachel, The Hustler and The Color of Money; movie props such as the pair of metal shackles from Cool Hand Luke and a coat rack from the 46th Academy Awards’ Best Picture winner, The Sting, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford; and wardrobe items, including a pair of brown boots that Newman wore in the shootout scene of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, as well as the red velvet dress worn by Joanne Woodward in The Three Faces of Eve and the purple sequin gown worn onstage in her 1988 production of Sweet Bird of Youth.
English and Continental Furniture, Decor and Fine Art
The auction includes a selection of furniture and decorative art, including 19th-century American folk art portraiture, 18th-century American and English furniture, and an assortment of decorative art from the couple’s residences in Connecticut, where they would often gather their famous friends and family for holidays, special occasions and regular movie nights at a spot they called ‘The Barn.’ Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman’s furniture includes an array of antique-inspired forms demonstrating both their zest for travel and cosmopolitan lifestyle, as well as their comfortable home life where they could relax and be with one another. Regulars on the antique and decorative art fairs in Connecticut, their art was equally cosmopolitan and eclectic but also reflected their idiosyncratic sense of humor – particularly seen with the American ‘Hollywood Producer’s’ tin pig bench, which was situated in Newman’s office. Clea Newman recalls that her “Dad loved to pull pranks on his friends. One of his favorite bits was making everyone who arrived late sit on the pig bench for their meeting. He was a real stickler for time.”
The sale also includes a bespoke Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co. oak billiard table, which was located in the couple’s New York City apartment and often used by Newman with friends and colleagues. This beautiful figured oak table was manufactured in the early 20th century and is fitted with a Monarch cushion. The table is also being offered with a set of 15 pool balls and a Western-style embroidered cover.
A custom Fast Eddie pool cue made for Newman in the 1986 film The Color of Money also appears in the sale with an estimate of $2,000-$3,000. In the sequel to the 1961 film The Hustler, Newman reprises his role as Fast Eddie Felson, a pool hustler who discovers and mentors a young and talented pool player, Vincent Lauria, played by Tom Cruise. While the film gave rise to the pool cue brand Balabushka, it was actually the manufacturer Joss that made both Cruise’s look-a-like Balabushka and Newman’s cue with his nickname “Fast Eddie” inlaid on the center of the shaft and undulating ace playing cards along the bottom of the handle. Other billiards-related items in the lineup include several lots of signed and branded pool cues, a hanging pool rack with triangles, diamonds and chalks, and a set of four high-back spectator’s chairs.
Further illuminating Woodward and Newman’s relationship and storied 50-year marriage through the furniture and objects they surrounded themselves with is an early 20th-century cream-painted cast-brass and iron bedframe from the couple’s infamous so-called ‘F*ck Hut,’ estimated at $500-$1,000. This seemingly ordinary double bed was found and purchased by Woodward at a thrift shop, and was kept in the Newman home. In excerpts from his posthumous memoir, Paul Newman: The Extraordinary Life of An Ordinary Man, Newman recounts finding Woodward in their Beverly Hills home in a paint-covered smock after returning from their honeymoon in 1958. She led him to a small room where she had moved “some thrift-shop double bed with a new Sealy mattress,” recently re-painted by her. Woodward proudly coined the room the ‘F*ck Hut,’ and the two would spend “several nights a week and just be intimate and noisy and ribald.” Newman credits his wife by claiming she “gave birth” to the “sexual creature” inside of him, which helped him embrace his legendary sex symbol status in Hollywood. The bed and its accompanying story has gained wide attention for demonstrating Newman and Woodward’s affection, playfulness and lust.
The collection also features a selection of clothing and personal accessories worn by the couple, including a special grouping of items from their wedding ceremony in 1958, such as Woodward’s wedding dress and high heels, estimated at $1,000-$1,500; Woodward’s bespoke wedding luggage set, estimated at $1,500-$2,000; as well as a special bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild from their wedding day. The auction also offers a pair of white gloves that Woodward wore when she won Best Actress at the 30th annual Academy Awards in 1957 for her performance in The Three Faces of Eve, estimated at $500-$700.
Both Woodward and Newman were longstanding supporters of the Democratic party and its causes, from their strong endorsement for 1968 presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy (which earned Newman a spot on President Richard Nixon’s infamous “enemies list”) to their early activism in the civil rights movement.
The auction offers a number of signed letters, awards and photographs from political figures, including a copy of Nixon’s enemy list – with Newman listed as #19 out of 20 names in the memo – and with his notes on Newman’s “Radic-Lib causes,” estimated at $150-$250; a typed letter signed by President George Bush issuing a joking “pardon” to Newman, evidently relating to some misunderstanding at the 1992 Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts, at which Newman and Woodward were recognized for lifetime achievement, estimated at $1,500-$2,000; the Jefferson Award from the American Institute for Public Service in recognition of Outstanding Public Service, given to Woodward and Newman in 1994, estimated at $500-$700; and a photograph of Woodward and Newman with President Bill Clinton, estimated at $600-$800.
High Speed: Paul Newman’s Racing Legacy, Online Auction | May 31 – June 13
Newman discovered his driving abilities while playing an Indy 500 racer in the 1969 film Winning, subsequently pushing the burgeoning film star to launch a successful second career that would span more than three decades and garner multiple podium finishes. Many of Newman’s greatest victories on-track can be relived through race-worn fire suits, custom helmets and championship rings kept for years by the undeniably talented driver.
The auction also includes two of Newman’s automobiles – a 1997 Legends Racing Car, acquired by him to sponsor young drivers in the Legends racing series, estimated at $5,000-$10,000; and a one-off 1998 Volvo V90 Volvette, built in 2007 by Newman’s race team as a surprise gift, estimated at $20,000-$25,000.
Important Watches, Live Auction | June 9
While a Rolex Paul Newman Daytona is widely recognized among the most coveted vintage Rolex models, rarer still are Daytonas worn and owned by the Hollywood legend himself – with only two other examples previously sold at auction.
The two present examples to be offered this June stand out even further, imbued with sentimental and historical value imparted by pinnacle moments in Newman’s celebrated racing career: the reference 16520, estimated at $500,000-$1 million, was presented to Newman after his team won the GTS-1 class at the 1995 24 Hours of Daytona Race when he was 70, becoming the oldest driver to ever do so; and the reference 116519, bearing an identical estimate, is the last Daytona ever given to Newman by his wife, Joanne Woodward, bearing the tender inscription “Drive Very Slowly Joanne.”
These historically important watches will be accompanied by Woodward’s white gold Patek Philippe Reference 4459, engraved with her initials on the case back and estimated at $2,000-$5,000.
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