March 27, 2017 / Property Spotlight

Betsy Bloomingdale: The Art of Entertaining

On the eve of the Bloomingdale auctions, Luxury Defined spoke with Michael Moore of Christie’s on how to match individual lots with luxury real estate

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Betsy Bloomingdale (1922-2016) was not only a standard bearer of style, she was virtually her own brand. Bearing the eponymous surname of her husband’s family’s department-store enterprise, she was also a prominent socialite and member of President Reagan’s “kitchen cabinet.” Now, the magnificent Bloomingdale collection will soon be auctioned both online and in the saleroom by Christie’s. 

Photography Credit: Photographer unknown, courtesy of the Estate of Betsy Bloomingdale.Luxury Defined interviewed Michael Moore of Christie's, who has spent the last 18 years producing auction events nationally and globally, from Art Basel to Aspen, from London to Shanghai. Michael has produced numerous event-driven auctions for prominent charitable organizations including singer Bono’s RED Auctions. His passion for creating unique and compelling experiences for collectors has led him to curate travel programs in cities including Paris, Prague, Madrid, and Beijing.  Michael’s eye for capturing the right object for the right circumstance and setting is a practiced one, and we’ve asked him to suggest some appropriate placements and flourishes for a handful of notable Bloomingdale objets and furnishings, and how to create an “event” around them.

Perfect Design Pairings for a Wine Party

South African Wine Country Estate
Cape Town, South Africa 

Located in Franschhoek, in one of the most beautiful wine producing valleys in the world, this exceptional property overlooks a beautiful dam and enjoys unparalleled views of the Franschhoek valley surrounded by wine producing vineyards.Michael Moore envisions hosting a wine party in the living room, furnished with William Haines accessories.

Award-winning architect Stefan Antoni designed this chic estate in South Africa’s Franschhoek wine district. The gleaming residence is noted for its expansive high-ceilinged living areas, grand terrace, and muted color schemes.

Christie’s Moore suggests staging a wine party in the living room. “I’d deploy the suite of green-painted metal and outline-quilted floral seat furniture [Lot 141] in this room—together with the other William Haines accessories like the standing lamp [Lot 139] and the white marble low table [Lot 140].”

<b>A Suite of Green-Painted Metal and Outline-Quilted Floral Seat Furniture</b><br/>by William Haines, Circa 1960<br/>Comprising two upholstered and green-painted metal sofas, a pair of upholstered and green-painted metal chairs and a laminate veneered corner table<b>A Green Patinated Bronze and White Marble Low Table</b><br/>by William Haines, Circa 1960

Moore also suggested adding a bit of “California flair” to the proceedings: “I’d serve some of my favorite wines—Colgin, Eisele, and Araju. Of course, we would decant and serve from the group of cut-glass decanters [Lot 233].”

<b>A Group of Nine Cut-Glass Decanters and Stoppers</b><br/>20th CenturyAs for entertainment, he’d go out on a limb and draw from the L.A. talent pool: “It would be a real treat if I could persuade artist Mark Bradford to be host D.J. and play through sunset on the terrace, with a surprise performance by the street-dance innovator Lil Buck.”

Setting the Foundation for Artful Entertaining

Celebrity English Country Estate
Saddle River, New Jersey

This majestic property with panoramic vistas is perfect for grand entertaining.Michael Moore can picture hosting an artistic fundraiser at this home, furnishing the dining room with a George III Mahogany dining table.

This fully renovated and expanded Saddle River English Country Estate is an ideal residence for entertaining in the grand traditional manner. The home’s colorful, dramatic interiors have been beautifully staged by Mark Polo for the Urban Dweller.

I would love to see what a contemporary chef would do with Mrs. Bloomingdale's famous peanut butter and bacon hors d'oeuvres.

Michael Moore envisions this home as a fitting venue for an artistic fundraiser or event: “Mrs. Bloomingdale’s early George III Mahogany dining table [Lot 61] would work perfectly for the dining room in this home,” he says.  “I can imagine a very lively dinner served using the Royal Copenhagen porcelain “Flora Danica” service [Lot 62] to honor, for example, the artistic advisory board of an outstanding artist-led local nonprofit.”

The dining room at Mrs. Bloomingdale’s Hollywood Regency villa, featuring the Early George III Mahogany Gate-Leg Dining Table with the 'Flora Danica' Part Dinner Service.<b>A Royal Copenhagen Porcelain 'Flora Danica' Part Dinner Service</b><br/>20th Century, Blue Wave and Green Printed Crown Marks, Pattern No. 20<b>An Early George III Mahogany Gate-Leg D-End Dining Table</b><br/>Circa 1760

Moore suggests that the board members could be treated to a post-dinner performance curated by the organization’s founder. “Mrs. Bloomingdale famously celebrated arts and culture in her time, and it would be fitting to continue that gesture with our great artists of today and tomorrow,” he adds. For dinner, Moore would be tempted to ask his favorite chef, April Bloomfield, to reimagine one of Mrs. Bloomingdale’s dinner menus. “I would love to see what April would do with Mrs. Bloomingdale's famous peanut butter and bacon hors d'oeuvres,” he laughs.

Décor for an Aegean Alfresco Reception

Summer Breeze
Mykonos, GreecePerched on a hill above the famous southern beach of Agrari, this elegant villa exudes luxury and warmth, and is only a short stroll from white sand and crystal clear waters.Perched on a hill above the famous southern beach of Agrari on the Greek island of Mykonos, this elegant yet rustic villa exudes luxury and warmth and is only a short 300-meter stroll from the white sands and crystal-clear waters for which Agrari is well known. Completed in 2001 and renovated in 2014, the property has three main structures stunning terraces that surround the house, with the main terrace affording a vantage of the Aegean as seen beyond a dramatic infinity pool. 

“I would host a cocktail party on the terrace, furnished with the suite of William Haines bronze patinated furniture."

Michael Moore envisions Summer Breeze as the perfect setting for an end-of-summer / early autumn party for the art crowd, after London’s Frieze and the Venice Biennale art fairs. “I’d host a cocktail party on the terrace, furnished with the suite of William Haines bronze patinated furniture [Lots 121-122 pictured below, and Lots 129, 130, 131 and 132], as well as the pair of gorgeous chaise longues [Lot 126] spread throughout.”

<b>A Suite of Bronze Patinated Metal Furniture</b><br/>by William Haines, Circa 1960<br/>Comprising a faux-bamboo sectional sofa, four armchairs and a coffee table<b>A Suite of Bronze Patinated Metal Furniture</b><br/>by William Haines, Circa 1960<br/>Comprising a circular table and six armchairs

Moore could serve guests champagne, cocktails and canapés created by Spain’s celebrated Can Roca brothers. “Seu Jorge, the Latin American performance artist, could make a special appearance and perform with the ocean in the background,” in Moore’s perfect scenario for the venue.

Michael Moore is Vice President, Director of Events and Traveling Exhibitions, North America.Michael Moore is Vice President, Director of Events and Traveling Exhibitions, North America. Michael joined Christie’s in 2016, but has spent the last 18 years in the auction world producing events.  During this time, he has conceptualized and executed hundreds of events annually across the region, from Art Basel to Aspen, in addition to international programs throughout Europe and Asia.  His latest project is overseeing the operation of Christie’s new gallery in Beverly Hills opening April, 2017. He has produced numerous event-driven auctions for prominent charitable organizations including Bono’s RED Auctions and The Big Egg Hunt. His passion for creating unique and compelling experiences for collectors has led him to curate bespoke travel programs in cities including Paris, Prague, Madrid, Shanghai and Beijing.  Michael is most known for bringing world-renowned chefs from restaurants like Noma in Copenhagen to New York to prepare their first-ever dinner in the United States.

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Jeffrey Burbank
is the Western and Asia Pacific Marketing Manager at Christie’s International Real Estate

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