She was known for her friendships with famous writers, including Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer and Harold Pinter, and for underwriting literary magazines and a publishing house. But Drue Heinz’s passions extended to painting and sculpture. In her Manhattan townhouse were works by Amedeo Modigliani, Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.
Mrs. Heinz, who died last year at 103, was the widow of H.J. Heinz II, who from 1941 to 1966 was president of the pickle and ketchup empire his grandfather started. He was the chairman until his death in 1987. “My wife is the art connoisseur,” Mr. Heinz, an avid skier, once said, adding, “I live from snowfall to snowfall.”
Now Christie’s is preparing to sell items from Mrs. Heinz’s collection in two sales — the artworks on May 13 in New York and the decorative items on June 4 in London. (A couple of items will be included in other sales in New York in mid-May.)
Some trans-Atlantic shipping will be involved. Furniture from Mrs. Heinz’s townhouse is being sent to London, and a René Magritte sculpture is being sent to New York. The sales will benefit the Hawthornden Literary Retreat, at Hawthornden Castle in Lasswade, Scotland, which she bought in the 1980s and remade as a sanctuary for writers. It was once the home of the 17th-century poet William Drummond.
“These pictures tell the story of Drue Heinz and her passion for creativity,” said Jessica Fertig, Christie’s head of Impressionist and modern art evening sales. “She certainly was well advised, but she positioned herself to see that she was buying what would be an exceptional collection. It included great moments, important moments, in each of these artists’ careers.”
The Modigliani, “Lunia Czechowska (à la robe noire),” was painted in 1919 and was pictured in a 1977 Architectural Digest feature on the townhouse, on Sutton Place. It was above a Georgian mahogany desk in a study with English velvet upholstery. Christie’s estimates that the Modigliani will sell for $12 million to $18 million. Christie’s estimates that the Bonnard, “La Terrasse,” a 1912 work also known as “Une terrasse à Grasse,” will go for $6 million to $9 million.
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