The art that inspired Joan Didion is up for auction
Essayist and novelist Joan Didion has become an American icon thanks to her ability to take an unyielding and observant look at any subject, whether it’s the 1960s counterculture scene in her state native of California (Advance to Bethlehem1968), or her own significant grief over the loss of her husband and daughter in the same year (The Year of Magical Thinking, 2005). Her prose is precise and evocative, in the form of personal essays, concise political explanations, novels and screenplays – including several on which she collaborated with her husband, John Gregory Dunne. His death late last year at the age of 87 was mourned by many as the passing of a legendary scribe of his age.
For those with a Didion-shaped hole in their hearts, an upcoming sale of her property at Stair, an auction house in Hudson, New York, is a chance to get as close to the famous writer as possible. “An American Icon: Property of the Collection of Joan Didion” will feature selections of artwork, home decor, furniture and books from Didion’s personal homes. The auction is set to take place on November 16, and a full catalog will begin on October 31. There will be an exhibit at a public gallery in Hudson, starting Nov. 4, for those interested in viewing the items in question.
“We are delighted to offer items from Joan Didion’s collection to auction,” Colin Stair, president of the auction house, said in a statement about the upcoming event. “It is an honor to be in the house where one of America’s great writers lived and worked, and to hold a sale of his fine art and personal possessions.”
According to the auction house, highlights of the sale include works by Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis, Ed Ruscha, Jennifer Bartlett, Vija Celmins, Patti Smith and Eric Fischl. There will also be various portraits of Didion, by Brigette Lacombe, Annie Liebovitz, Mary Ellen Mark and Julian Wasser. More personal items include selections from her book collection, two different desks, and collectibles from the couple’s travels.
“Once we did our initial tour, we could see themes and commonalities between her work, her writing, the art she collected, and then the objects and things she lived with,” said Stair Fine Arts Specialist Lisa Thomas. Architectural Summary. “It all really told the story of who she was as a person, how she wrote and what was important to her.”
Didion knew better than anyone how hard it is to say goodbye to it all, but anyone struggling to say goodbye to their memory can look forward to the staircase auction and a chance to find something that belongs to him.