Fall Estates Auction – September 10 & 11, 2021
Fine Art, Furniture and Decorative Objects from the Collection of Allison Kendrick, Carefully Curated for The Carroll-Crawford House, New Orleans
The Carroll-Crawford House, built in 1869 by Samuel Jamison for Joseph Carroll, is one of the most famous and striking properties in the Garden District. The three-story Italianate house is immediately recognizable due to its intricate cast iron balconies by Jacob Baumiller and distinctive pink stucco exterior. Carroll was a good friend of Mark Twain, who enjoyed many a soirée at the fabulous home where Carroll was said to have hosted lavish parties.
There have been several other notable owners, including Valentine Merz, founder of Faubourg Brewing Company (formerly Dixie Brewing Company) and Charles Crawford (whose sister, Josephine, was a well-known artist). Crawford was a celebrated local figure who reigned at Twelve Night, Atlanteans, Momus, Mystic, Proteus, Comus and Rex. He held opulent gatherings and encouraged his guests to don costumes stored in the attic as their attire for the evening. After purchasing the mansion in 2003, Allison Kendrick continued the home’s storied legacy as a space for revelry and beauty, even being named one of the country’s top party hosts in Salonniere’s 2018 ranking – a title she shared with several other prominent New Orleanians, including Julia Reed whose blockbuster estate Neal Auction offered earlier this year.
Kendrick, art patron and avant-gardiste, enlisted the help of friend and celebrated interior designer Richard Keith Langham to curate the interior of her home with furnishings designed by Langham himself, wonders from her many adventures abroad, and a superb collection of regional fine art and objets. The Crescent City, known for its laid-back charm and ebullient revelry, is well reflected in Langham’s design. As Sara Ruffin Costello writes in her book About Decorating: The Remarkable Rooms of Richard Keith Langham: “weaving cultures together, the house has all the exotica—history, mystery, beads and bourbon—that rightfully belong in this important port city.” In its long and illustrious history, The Carroll-Crawford House has served as a veritable salon and backdrop for the city’s most sensational intellectuals, artists, writers and storied guests, and one can only imagine the history this extraordinary landmark and its interiors has witnessed.
“If these walls could talk—besides telling naughty stories—the curtains, the fabrics, the custom carpets, and the myriad of details, along with the graciousness [Langham] has given us all, would say, ‘Thank you!’” – Allison Kendrick
Neal Auction is honored to offer a selection of fine art, furniture and decorative arts from the iconic collection of Allison Kendrick and The Carroll-Crawford House.
Exceptional Early Works by Clementine Hunter from the Estate of Iris Brittain Rayford (1934-2018), Alexandria, LA
Remembered fondly as a “Steel Magnolia,” Iris Brittain Rayford was the consummate strong southern woman who set a beautiful table and captivated as a storyteller. Born in Tioga, Louisiana, Rayford moved to Greenville, Mississippi following high school graduation to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse. Just a few months shy of her goal, she married Robert “Bob” Rayford, later a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force, in 1955. The couple lived a life of service to their country and traveled extensively as a family with their children while Bob was stationed all over the world fighting four tours of war. Upon retirement from the military in 1971, the Rayfords returned home to Louisiana, family, and a new career in the healthcare industry. Following her husband’s unexpected passing in 1991, Mrs. Rayford continued to work in healthcare until the mid-1990s.
She was also an active part of her community, devoted to education, engaged in social organizations, and involved with many philanthropic causes. Rayford loved to travel, exploring all seven continents, and later in life, she divided her time between Louisiana and her island home on Antigua. She had a house on Cane River near Melrose Plantation for many years and enjoyed fishing and spending time along the river. Rayford’s love of the area undoubtedly attracted her to the work of Clementine Hunter – the single focus of her art collecting.
Beginning in the 1970s, Rayford amassed a tremendous and important group of Hunter paintings, concentrating particularly on early works and those featuring daily life on the Cane River or nearby Melrose. Many of her paintings have provenance in other famous Clementine Hunter collections and have been exhibited in museum exhibitions or published in monographs on the artist. Described by Art Shiver in the introduction to Clementine Hunter: Her Life and Art by Shiver and Tom Whitehead: “In lower Manhattan in New York City we were invited into a penthouse gallery inside the private home of one of America’s foremost collectors of Hunter’s art. Likewise, only a few miles from Melrose Plantation Iris Rayford gave us access to an incredible collection of Hunter’s early art that hangs in her Cane River home.” Rayford later displayed her collection in an historic Louisiana property adjacent to her house in Alexandria, where they remained very much a beloved part of her everyday life.