Ginsburg Collection Comes to Auction

NEW YORK CITY -- Christie’s presents the thoughtfully-composed collection lovingly assembled by the tastemaker, style icon, and connoisseur Ina Ginsburg.

Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network know the Ginsburg collection to be excellent.

The ensemble boasts Modern and Post-War fine art produced by blue-chip artists, including works by Andy Warhol, a personal friend and confident of Mrs. Ginsburg’s who painted her several times and even chose her as the Washington editor of his Interview magazine.

The highlights of the collection which include works by Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, Sam Gilliam, and Theodoros Stamos will be sold next November, the furniture, decorative objects, and other works of art will be presented at auction at the end of August in the Interiors sale.

From The White House and Supreme Court in Washington, to Andy Warhol’s Factory in Manhattan, few individuals so effortlessly navigated the spheres of both the old and the new as the Viennese-born collector and patron of the arts, Ina Ginsburg.

Born into a comfortable Jewish family in Vienna, Ms. Ginsburg fled to America during World War II, settled in Washington and by the early 1950s was bringing a dose of Continental cachet to a city not known for style.

The Georgetown home she shared with her husband, David Ginsburg, a liberal lawyer who had helped shape Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and later helped found Americans for Democratic Action, was a dinner destination for the politically powerful during five presidential administrations: those of Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon.

Among her usually left-leaning guests were Hubert H. Humphrey, W. Averell Harriman and the occasional Supreme Court justice.

Besides giving exclusive dinner parties, however, she helped raise the profile of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts through her work as trustee of the American Film Institute and the Washington National Opera, both of which held events there. She often wore Dior, de la Renta or Courrèges while doing it.

Elegant, quick, and always charming, she exuded an Old World refinement that secured her place as one of Washington, D.C.’s most esteemed hostesses and public figures.

Behind the Continental exterior, however, was a fiercely intelligent woman in conversation with many of the greatest artists, politicians, and thinkers; from dinners with President John F. Kennedy, to Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, Andy Warhol, Treasury Secretary G. William Miller, or the Crown Prince of Lichtenstein.

In her six decades as a doyenne of Washington society, Ina Ginsburg brought an international flair and, above all, a commitment to art and ideas that left the nation’s capital forever changed.

Ina and Andy

Ina Ginsburg’s life and legacy were forever changed by her close relationship with the Pop artist and provocateur Andy Warhol.

The friends were first introduced at a dinner she agreed to hold for the artist in 1975. “I received a call from a young friend whom I liked very much to ask if I’d give a dinner for his friend Andy Warhol,” Ginsburg recalled. “Then I spoke to a couple of people and they were quite disapproving. They said, ‘Are you crazy? He’s so controversial,’ but then I thought I’d be crazy to not give a dinner for him!”

Several days beforehand, orchids from the artist arrived at the collector’s door -- “a sign of very good manners,” she laughed. The unexpectedly reserved Warhol and his hostess managed to speak privately during the dinner. “We just connected,” Ginsburg said.

If the pairing of one of Washington’s most popular hostesses with an enigmatic American artist came as something of a surprise -- “It was all so far removed from my world,” the collector remembered -- it was their shared love of beauty, conversation, and new ideas that sparked an unwavering friendship. It was only natural that Warhol would depict Ina Ginsburg, a woman of beauty and distinction, in his celebrated ‘Society Portraits’ series.