The Collection of Helen Sonnenberg Tucker

01/19/2023     English & Continental Furniture & Decorations

NEW YORK, NY -- Doyle is honored to auction the Collection of philanthropist Helen Sonnenberg Tucker in a series of upcoming auctions beginning with the sale of English & Continental Furniture, Silver & Decorative Arts on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 at 10am. The property comprises exceptional furniture, decorations and art from her elegant duplex apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Much of the furnishings and art were inherited from Mrs. Tucker’s parents, the noted collectors Benjamin and Hilda Sonnenberg.

A true American success story, Benjamin Sonnenberg built a fortune as a pioneering publicist for such clients as CBS, Philip Morris, David Sarnoff, Lever Brothers, Samuel Goldwyn, Pan Am, Squibb, Pepperidge Farm and Federated Department Stores. For over forty years, the Sonnenbergs entertained grandly in their townhouse on Gramercy Park South. Originally built in 1845 for Whig politician William Samuel Johnson, it was later owned by Gilded Age railroad magnate Stuyvesant Fish and his wife, the irreverent society hostess Mamie Fish. In 1931, the Sonnenbergs rented the first two floors, and in 1945, as their fortune grew, the Sonnenbergs acquired the entire townhouse, merging it with the adjacent building to create the 37-room Sonnenberg Mansion.

A passionate collector with a keen eye, Benjamin Sonnenberg was also an enthusiastic Anglophile, traveling to England on buying trips several times each year. He enlisted acclaimed interior decorator Dorothy Draper to help with the initial design. English paneling, antiques and art filled the grand rooms, evoking the stately homes of the Edwardian era. The Sonnenbergs entertained frequently and lavishly, mixing old-money New York with Cafe Society, until Mr. Sonnenberg’s death in 1978.

Their daughter Helen Sonnenberg Tucker (1926-2022) was a lifelong philathropist and passionate humanitarian. She was the president of the Gramercy Park Foundation, through which she supported Lincoln Center, Alliance for the Arts, the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America, Manhattan Theatre Club and many others. She was a board member and co-chair of the benefit dinner at the New York Public Library, and vice chair at the Municipal Art Society. She served on the boards of the Victorian Society Scholarship Fund and Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts. She was a boardmember of MacDowell artists residency program and was co-chair of the New York National Benefit for 18 years.

English & Continental Furniture, Silver & Decorative Arts
Auction Wednesday, January 25, 2023 at 10am
Exhibition on view January 21 - 23