Anthony Bourdain Auction: More Information

By Karen

OCTOBER 3 UPDATE: You can now preview photos of everything up for auction and see opening bids at iGavelAuctions.

Two hundred-fifteen items from Anthony Bourdain’s estate will be auctioned online October 9-30 by Lark Mason Associates on their website, iGavelAuctions. Items may be previewed beginning October 2.

People.com reproduced many of the photos The New York Times (subscription only) ran of some items believed to be most grabby for Bourdain’s fans, including his writing desk, a jacket he was given by the Navy when he was rescued from Beirut in 2006, and a chef’s knife made especially for him in South America in 2016.

During the auction period, Lark Mason will have some of the items on exhibit in the firm’s offices in New York; New Braunfels, Texas; and Savannah, Georgia.

It’s being widely reported that 40% of the proceeds will fund the Anthony Bourdain Legacy Scholarship at his alma mater, the Culinary Institute of America. Barron’s added that this honor was established “in partnership with chefs Eric Ripert and José Andrés in June.”

The remainder of the proceeds will go to Bourdain’s estate.

Lark Mason estimates the market value of the items to be between $200,000 and $400,000. I personally think we’re looking at a sale that will easily fetch seven figures.

I’ve learned from a trusted source that many of the items were selected because Bourdain acquired them after he separated from his wife Ottavia in 2016. They have little sentimental value for his family nor associations with his life as a husband and father.

The item that stands out to me is the creepy painting Tony bought a week before he died titled, The sky is falling. I am learning to live with it, by John Lurie.

Tony visited the artist at his home for the Lower East Side New York episode, which was the last aired Parts Unknown. Lurie made Tony two hard-boiled eggs. Tony’s assistant Laurie Woolever revealed to the NYT that Tony paid $19,000 for that painting.

Here’s the brief list of items with estimated values the iGavel site provides…

  • Brad Phillips (Canadian), Cristine and Me as Still-Life, oil on canvas, 2016 ($2,000-$4,000)
  • John Lurie (American, b. 1952), This Party Sucks, watercolor on paper ($1,000-$2,000)
  • Peter Lovig Nielsen teak flip-top desk, Denmark, 20th century ($800-$1,200)
  • Custom Bob Kramer steel and meteorite chef’s knife ($4,000-$6,000)
  • Chrome duck press from the Paris episode of The Layover ($200-$300)
  • Vietnamese blue-and-white ceramic tall bottle form vase, with cover ($250-$450)
  • Original typed manuscript or early draft for A Bone in the Throat ($700-$1,000)
  • Simpsons script for Bourdain episode, “The Food Wife,” with signed inscriptions to Bourdain ($800-$1200)

I have been able to obtain another partial, but more extensive, list. Here are some small items Cats Working readers might be interested in bidding on…

  • White chef jacket
  • Zippo lighter engraved, “No Reputations. Desert Special 2011”
  • Art pottery ceramic green umbrella stand
  • Framed photo and note from Billy Joel to Bourdain, dated 2005
  • Molded glass ceiling light fixture
  • Two dark blue ceramic lamps

Art will figure prominently. The titles of works Bourdain collected say a lot. Here are more…

  • Phillips, Eat, Pray, Get the Fuck Out, watercolor on paper
    • Tan Lines in March, watercolor on paper, 2013
    • Just Jumping, oil on canvas
  • Lurie, The Judge was hypnotized by alcohol, jet print on rag paper
  • Ralph Steadman (British, b. 1936), Rats in the Kitchen, artist’s proof inscribed to Bourdain, 2009
    • Hunter S. Thompson, Twisted Meat Artist, artist’s proof
    • The Brain of Hunter Thompson, silkscreen, artist’s proof
  • Etching, Street View from Saigon, and a print of Angkor Wat Ruin
  • Les Ruines d’Angkor, Indochine, modern
  • African carved wood and metal ritual figure, Congo
  • Nepalese carved and lacquered wood mask, and a Tibetan silver decorated animal skull

There’s also some furniture, ostensibly from his last apartment in the Time Warner Center because the pieces are all dated 2016, including…

  • Shell Lake Woodcrafters Sap soft maple black shelf or media center
  • Stickley Mission Style one drawer nightstand
  • Stickley tall bookcase

And a wood vanity with drawers and mirror, a tall mahogany dresser, a walnut credenza, and a small red and black low table.

My list also has seven sets of cuff links and three watches, including a Rolex and a pocket watch.

I’m told this is by no means the entirety of Anthony Bourdain’s possessions, regardless of media reports about how sparingly he collected things. The bulk of his belongings are still in his estate’s custody.

However, what the family is parting with will allow future culinary students to travel and study abroad and give Bourdain’s fans who wish to do so an opportunity to purchase material things that he touched and which touched his life.

33 Responses to Anthony Bourdain Auction: More Information

  1. Adelep says:

    Karen, you done good! I feel much better about the auction, and I think you’re right — these items should fetch much more than $200-400k. I’m asking myself if I had the wherewithal, would I bid on anything. I think the one thing would be the street scene etching of Saigon. Tony was always so happy in Vietnam; that’s how I’d like to think of him.

    I’ll bet there’s a certain underemployed Italian, chain smoking and banging her head against some wall, because she won’t get any of the proceeds.

  2. Donna says:

    Adelep-I hope that bitch is flat fucking broke

  3. catsworking says:

    Adele, I would LOVE to have the desk, although I’ve got nowhere to put it. I’ve got a little postmaster’s desk in my bedroom with little cubbies on top that I bought for writing, although it turned out to be more of a cat perch.

    The list I got was only about 25% of what’s on the block, so there are probably other things you’d like.

    This morning I read a story about the auction from a publication in Kenya that slanted it to be “solely” to support the family, as if Ottavia and Ariane will starve if this stuff doesn’t sell (which we know it will). It mentioned the scholarship as secondary.

  4. catsworking says:

    Donna, there are some people on Twitter keeping tabs on the skank and she appears to be 1) out of work, taking whatever little gigs she can get, and 2) without a man to support her. Apparently, she just revived her Instagram account after several months of silence, and she’s got a birthday coming up (44) on the 20th.

    I agree she’s probably chewing tinfoil at the thought of missing out on Tony’s auction profits.

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I’m free to travel again. In the past three years, I’ve only spent a total of 4 nights away from home, and never outside of Virginia. I’ve been a prisoner. I know I did it to myself, but I’ve not been there in the end for other cats and I promised Adele I’d be there for her. But I will confess I was pretty much at the end of my rope by last week when it all came to a head.

    So YES! Let’s get together in DC soon. I CAN DO IT!! (I don’t know if Morgan has written me off after last year. She’s been pretty scarce around here.)

  5. Adelep says:

    Gosh, I’d love a trip to DC, but I’m not traveling. My sister has a very rare form of head and neck cancer, and though it’s slow growing, she keeps getting infections, and I’m afraid to leave town. But if you ever make it to Chicago, you get the Adele tour and drinks at The Old Town Ale House.

  6. Ida says:

    Hey, I think the auction is a good idea. I don’t doubt this has been carefully thought through and discussed and that the most important items stay with family and close friends. The auction is a good way of also getting some items out to whomever in the public may have an interest in purchasing something that belonged to Tony. I think this is normal practice. You have to get rid of the things somehow as you can’t get keep it all. So if some of it can go to an auction, why not? I saw on artist John Lurie’s page that he wasn’t happy that his paintings that he sold to Tony were being auctioned. I guess he’s partly disappointed because he felt it was a personal thing between him and Tony and partly he seems dissatisfied with the price. This has also led some of his followers to say some nasty things about Ottavia/’whoever would do this’. I think this extremely petty. While I understand that Lurie might have liked Bourdain and was happy he bought his artworks, he is in no way in charge of his belongings and shouldn’t be such a sourpuss about it. I get that he feels it’s being sold for less than it was worth, but again, it’s not his business to decide what a grieving family sell the belongings of a dead family member for. Lurie was definitely sad last year when Bourdain died but he also defended/supported Argento on his Twitter, at least in the beginning. And by his own admission he didn’t even know Bourdain that well, apparently they’d only met recently and just a couple of times. So he can’t really claim to have been close to him and therefore can’t really expect special attention from the family. But it’s not so much Lurie’s reaction, he’s known to be a bit erratic at times and has had some pretty full on outbursts on Twitter before about several matters. Some of his followers made some pretty mean comments. I actually posted in response to one of them because I thought his comment was nasty and unnecessary. Bottom line is, it’s no one’s business but the family’s what they do with Bourdain’s items. And I actually think the family has been nothing but respectful, whereas certain famous people who maybe knew him a little but not a lot has been quick to use his name in interviews, and of course then there’s AA.. but that’s a whole other tangent.

  7. catsworking says:

    Adelep, so sorry to hear about your sister. I follow the Geriatric Genius on Twitter and he’s hilarious. Would love to get a chance to meet him.

  8. catsworking says:

    Ida, welcome back. Haven’t seen you here in a while.

    If Lurie is upset, it’s premature. Any numbers attached to the paintings are just assessed values. The bidding could go much higher than the pieces are worth. He got $19K out of Bourdain for “The sky is falling” alone. If he’s worried about where his work goes next, he should buy it back.

    As I said in the post, Lurie knew Bourdain well enough for Tony to go to his house to film a scene for Parts Unknown and give him exposure on national TV. Between that and purchasing his work, I don’t know what more Bourdain could have done for the man.

  9. Ida says:

    I agree, unfortunately there are several people who vehemently defend her and buy into her narrative that Tony was already depressed and you shouldn’t blame AA for his demise. It’s frustrating. She’s so clearly a shitty person – maybe not at first, depending on who you are, if she feels you’re of use to her, she’ll lure you in. I look at her and see a psycho. But a lot of people seem to like her. Lydia Lunch said that AA was born into abuse and that she’s a special person.Yeah, she’s ‘special’ alright. But in a really shitty way. I simply can’t feel sorry for her. She’s done too much damage. And she’s too much of an unsavoury character for me to be able to feel any sympathy for AA. I wish Tony had been more streetwise than he pretended to be. He always said he was, but I suspect he wasn’t – at least not when it came to women. I think he was easily conned because of his, self-confessed, enthusiastic nature and his addictive tendencies. AA is an example of that – she appealed to his knight in white armour-tendencies and she grabbed hold of his addictive ‘gene’ and kept him in a headlock until he was entirely spent.

    Here’s the excerpt from the Lunch-interview:

    ‘You appeared on the final episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown and he wrote the introduction to So Real It Hurts. Did you two make friends on the Lower East Side?
    I didn’t know him back then. We probably traveled in very different circles. I came to know him through his essays years later. He read something I wrote for Asia Argento and he contacted me about the Lower East Side episode. We met and he was fantastic. We shared a lot of the same musical heroes. After meeting him, he asked me to be on the show and I thought he could write the introduction. Because he gets me. He did. It was the last thing he wrote.
    How was working on Asia Argento’s film The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things?
    There was a lot of tragedy surrounding that film. It was a great experience, though. I did the still photography for it. That was the most valuable thing for me. Asia is a very special person. I wish she could end the cycle of abuse she was born into, which is something I’ve been striving to my whole life: to not be a victim of circumstances beyond your control that you were born into. To try and find a way to survive and strive beyond it’

    Well yeah, AA keeps surviving and striving. It’s the people that have to endure her that don’t.

    https://www.ssense.com/en-gb/editorial/music/ladies-who-lydia-lunch

  10. dellachiara says:

    I agree completely with your comments on this, Karen, and Ida’s as well.

    Re: AA – a lot of people come from a cycle of abuse (me included). That does not mean we become evil psychopaths/sociopaths who find enjoyment in emotionally torturing and destroying others. AA admitted to doing just that in an old interview I read several months ago. She only wanted a man if she couldn’t have him, once she got him, she destroyed him. She is an extremely damaged, mentally ill person, one best steered clear of, and I feel sorry for her children who can’t get away from her (at least not yet – but by then the damage will sadly be done and another “cycle” of abuse will come into play).

    The other day I was looking at Ottavia’s Twitter, seeing if she was posting at all. In some old tweets she’d sent a year or so ago she commented that life would be pure hell for Tony if he said even a slightly kind word about her, Ottavia. The implication was that AA was insanely jealous, which I can well see her being. She wanted him to break all ties to his family, I think even his child. It still breaks my heart that Tony was attracted to that Roman puttana. His love of the dark side pulled him in, sucked him in, and it destroyed him, as it often does.

    I feel comforted by knowing that Ariane and Ottavia are encircled by a close group of loving and supportive friends who know the truth; the Ripert’s, Jose Andres, and others, and who are continuing Tony’s legacy through this auction and scholarship for the CIA. Thank you for keeping us updated, Karen.

  11. catsworking says:

    dellachiara, your comment went to spam for some reason. Glad I checked and found it. Agree totally. I think it’s more common than not for people to overcome hellish childhoods and not become psychopaths.

    I think I know the interview with AA you’re referring to. She liked to have affairs with her costars out of boredom during a film shoot, then would dump them. They meant nothing to her. It seems pretty clear that she hates men. She just sees them as means to an end. Sleep with them for money, fame, whatever they can give her.

    Bourdain met AA in April 2016 while he was still living with Ottavia, although they were doing their separate things. He didn’t move out until September, most likely after an ultimatum from AA because she was itching not to be “the other woman,” and to be recognized as his girlfriend, which happened the following February, after the holidays, which Tony probably spent with his family. I think he also did his will in December, and AA wasn’t in it. He also never divorced Ottavia.

    So, AA got him to compromise himself a LOT, but never completely sank her hooks into him. No way would he have given up his daughter. It’s probably one of the reasons she cheated on him. Maybe she was hoping he’d be so ga-ga jealous that he’d propose and promise to get a divorce. That way she could lay claim to his bank account. I think it was always about the money. She never loved him. She’s never loved anybody. She’s basically a hooker who will do anything for money.

  12. Joan Lazzerini says:

    dear karen and the cats i was so sorry to hear about your adele. i know how hard it is i lost my 20 yr old cat max to kidney disease. i hope u will console yourself by knowing that u gave her a happy life and the love she gave u will not disappear but take up residence in a corner of ur heart sincerely, joan lazzerini

  13. catsworking says:

    Joan, thank you. The initial shock has worn off and now we’re just all sad. Adele definitely had every good day of life I could possibly give her. Since she’s been gone, I’ve realized what a vast quantity of canned cat food I was wasting trying to give her something she would eat, and how many tons of kitty litter the kidney failure soaked through.

    Having only Max and Roc is almost like not having a cat, their needs are so small and simple. But I would have done anything for my girl, so it was worth it in the end.

    When you have a cat for two decades, it causes tremendous upheaval in your life and routine, like losing a close family member. You know the feeling.

  14. MorganLF says:

    Karen sorry, for your loss.Having said that….
    You know me!!!
    Of course I will meet you and Donna in DC again!!!

    I helped arrange our meeting with Tony and his wife Ottavia..and for sure,I was the one who who grabbed us front row seats at the DC Food Fight 2 years running!
    Oh come on remember Brooklyn?
    I am so willing to meet with you and any of the gang in DC.

    Do you remember the crack hotel we staid in in 2011? At least it was a block from the venue…and you and Ottavia spoke for hours…after we drank martinis in the hotel bar and I got beaned by a drunk kid and his backpack?

    So miss, I’m in.

  15. MorganLF says:

    BTW…I happen to know, your source and provenance for items being auctioned…is impeccable.

    There is nothing I fancy. Except the pictures of him and me and us. I remember standing next to him and recalling him telling me (cryptically) he was leaving the Travel Channel …also his breath smelled of salami.
    But he was still fine.

  16. MorganLF says:

    Ps: Adele I wouldn’t mind a trip to Chicago ..especially to the Old Ale House. The Geriatric Genius is my current muse. He’s funny as shit.
    I’ve blown thu Ohare a few times, years ago but never been downtown.Always for business and usually in Oak Park or other burbs. I don’t really like to fly …but there’s always a reason to reconsider.
    I love DC cause I can take the Choo choo and it’s a mere few hours from Jersey.
    Meanwhile I now have 3 great nephews..one born 4 weeks ago.

    Last week Sweet baby James was in the hospital with a scary fever..a spinal tap was done at 3 weeks…very tense..but He’s home now.
    In November my niece will deliver twin boys..her toddler is two and a half (smart and cute as shit ).
    Therefore, by Christmas I will have 5 Little boys under 3!!!
    Already there is smoke coming off my credit cards!!
    I have to say it’s a glorious time.
    I am shall always be Auntie Mame….
    “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers..are starving to death!”

    I am girding my loins…with all these babies ..I may have to change diapers…uuuugh I’d rather take them to Lincoln Center!!

  17. MorganLF says:

    Adele I assume your sister is the grandma of your adorable great nephew..who you corrupted with his first hot fudge sundae.

    Really sorry to hear she’s ill. Hang in there. It’s a shitty road ahead.

  18. Adelep says:

    Thanks, Morgan! Yes, my sister is Prince Benjamin’s grandma. He’s one of the few bright spots in her life. Pam(my sister) is a real fighter, but due to tongue reconstruction surgery, she can’t eat (she gets nutrition through a port in her chest), and her speech is impaired. She’s bearing it all with much more grace than I would. I’ve never met Bruce Cameron Elliott, but I know people, who know him. If you, Karen or Donna haven’t read it and want to read an interesting Chicago book, I can’t recommend Devil And The White City enough. Some of the places mentioned in it are part of the Adele tour of Chicago

    Apropos of nothing, I just looked on Instagram and saw that AA has bleached most of her hair blonde and hacked it off. It caused me to remember Tony saying he had a strong preference for brunettes.

  19. catsworking says:

    Morgan! You’re back!

    Yes, you and Donna and I need to plan a get-together. My time is pretty open now, so do you want to do something in October, or try to hit the same event we went to in November? Was it called the Food Fight?

    Let’s email and see what we can figure out.

    I do remember every bit of that momentous meeting with Ottavia and Tony.

  20. catsworking says:

    Morgan, OMG, five babies! Your family is breeding like rabbits. (And I only mean that in the nicest way.)

    I’d be open to a trip to Chicago. I’ve been there once before many, many years ago for business. I also have an uncle who lives in Joliet who has invited me several times but I’ve never made it.

    O’Hare is a zoo. I’ve had it as a layover flying to Europe. But I haven’t been ANYWHERE in three years, and that’s so not like me. I’m stir-crazy to get away.

  21. catsworking says:

    I think AA’s new hairdo makes her more hideous than ever. My guess is she’s going gray or she’s seen recent pictures of herself looking haggard as a brunette so she’s trying to downplay the contrast with the wrinkles and bags on her face.

    There are pictures out there of her in a bikini at the beach flexing her scrawny arms. Between the chopped off hair, the gap in her teeth, and bones sticking out everywhere, she looks like a little boy. Could confuse for the boys she pounces on, or maybe she’s going for a Peter Pan persona. According to Twitter, she seems to be in the process of grooming her next victim with a familiar pattern. He’s a brunette.

  22. Adelep says:

    Karen, Morgan, Donna,

    I just wish I had a large enough apartment to invite you to stay. O’Hare is a nightmare, but I think it’s easier just to leave it, than it is to change planes.

    Ida; do you read Italian, or is there a way to translate on an iPhone? (Luddite question, I know). I can usually figure it out on the computer. In any case, on the Rome Parts Unknown episode, I also remember AA saying that she never voted, and socially conscious, but besotted Tony just nodding. I know many personality disordered people are good in bed, but sweet Jesus, what else was there?

  23. Madeline says:

    Out of everything, I am surprised to hear that this Bob Kramer knife is being auctioned off. I figured that would’ve been given to his daughter.

  24. catsworking says:

    Madeline, interesting point. I happen to know that the art is going because no one in his family wants it. He bought it in his last few years, so they have no attachment to it. But the knife? Maybe it’s too painful a reminder, or Ariane just thinks it would benefit someone else more to have it. Also, they’re holding the auction to fund a scholarship, so the more they raise, the better.

  25. Madeline says:

    @catsworking That is true on your last point.

  26. Shannon says:

    There’s a lot I’ve been thinking about saying here, but I’ll settle on this…

    I can totally understand how it seems there is only one way out in a relationship with a sociopath, because I am in it right now. I have considered the worst option many times, but I found many more reasons to go on. But once in a while, you are literally on a knife’s edge, and the odds could go either way.

    I’m feeling good for the moment though, so… about that auction…

    I think there are millions of us who would love to get something but I have no money. I hope someone in this community gets something cool.

  27. catsworking says:

    Shannon, I hope you can find a way out and stay safe in the meantime. I think if Bourdain had let himself “cool down” for five or 10 minutes, or even dragged himself down to dinner with Eric, he’d still be alive today. The bad decision of a split second changed everything and left the world reeling.

    I saw a CBS video of the auction yesterday. They’ve got a room in NYC full of his things.

    https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/10/07/anthony-bourdain-property-auction/

    The desk is there, the crazy blue painting, books, lamps. A rack full of his jackets. The worn leather jacket looks like the same one he wore in his last episode of Parts Unknown. He had tons and tons of sunglasses.

    What interests me the most are the early manuscripts he kept. I think some are from high school papers he wrote. (I’ve got my own in binders dating back to 8th grade.)

    I was surprised to see a painting by Jacques Pepin on the block. The prices for everything are very low, IMO. I don’t know if I’m going to bid. I’ve got a few autographed books, some photos of us together, a letter he wrote me. I feel like having anything more personal might feel creepy. I’ll keep an eye on it and see how it goes.

  28. MorganLF says:

    Karen you always had a maternal feeling for Ottavia. I always found her funny feisty and up to the challenge of being Mrs. Bourdain. With English as her second language, she was crisp funny and very amusing.
    Having met her and him a few times I can say this..she’s lovely. She always acknowledged me with a kiss and a hello..as did Tony.
    She clearly remembers the Cats Working gang from many years ago with fondness.
    We must do a DC trip. I have to wait till the twins are born…so it will be a minute..next spring?
    Donna hope your on board.
    Class act all the way.

  29. catsworking says:

    Morgan, I think it was Donna who suggested a reunion this time. I’m in!

    Haven’t checked on the auction lately, but just saw an article saying the chef’s knife bidding has topped $20K.

  30. Lorraine Villeneuve says:

    Some of the more personal items like clothing really bothered me and drove his death home all over again. I wish we could get more information on how Ottavia and Arianne are doing. I’m sure they are great but I miss seeing her out and about. Did Nancy ever make a comment about his death?

  31. catsworking says:

    Lorraine, I was just checking on the auction myself. The clothes aren’t drawing too well, with the exception of a few items like the chef’s jacket and the jacket he got from the Marines in Beirut with the special personalized patch on it. I thought the distressed leather jacket would be much higher, since it seems to be the one he wore in the very last episode of Parts Unknown on the Lower East Side of New York.

    As far as I know, Ottavia and Ariane are doing fine, moving on, and keeping themselves of the spotlight on purpose because they want a normal amount of privacy now that they’re no longer a celebrity family.

    I’ve never seen any comment from Nancy aside from some she made once in an article. She said Tony had contacted her after he had a health scare while traveling alone in France. I can’t remember if that was before or after he died. I’m thinking it must have been before, because I have no idea how she reacted to his death.

  32. muller says:

    Just watched no reservations uruguay. very enjoyable. he seemed to have it all.

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