Graham Shearing is a quintessential English eccentric who settled in Pittsburgh after careers in law, journalism and even a stint as a monk. But in his two decades in America’s industrial capital, he acquired a lot of works of art and furniture. Trusting his eye, he was able to leap before he looked into what he was buying:
His collecting philosophy is buy first, research later, but that gut instinct is tempered by a well-trained eye for European and American art, china, unusual furniture, Old Master prints and silver. There are 378 lots from his collection in this auction and many more to come in subsequent sales.
“He can spot good Islamic metalwork as well as a good David Hockney print. He is indefatigable about going to every sale,” said Tom Sokolowski, director of The Andy Warhol Museum.
Mr. Shearing lives in an apartment he decorated for his longtime friend, Dan Fawcett, a television executive based in Santa Monica, Calif. After more than 20 years in Pittsburgh, Mr. Shearing has decided to move to Los Angeles.
He has consigned more than 1,000 artworks and objects to Dargate, plus 4,000 books, including a copy of Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway” with E.M. Forster’s bookplate. You’ll find everything from 18th-century Tournay porcelain to etchings by Giovanni Piranesi to a rare work by the late Joseph Fitzpatrick, a Pittsburgh artist who was Andy Warhol’s favorite teacher. […]
If Mr. Shearing had a title, it would be Master of Mise-En-Scene. The Oakland apartment is a skillful layering of American, English and European Arts and Crafts. Silver candelabrum are perfectly placed on the dining room table; wilting red roses droop over the sides of silver mint julep cups, which make great low vases.
“You have to be sensitive to different styles before you can start mixing them. Otherwise, it looks like a mish-mash,” he said.
Mr. Shearing’s passion, nurtured in England’s antique shops and markets like Portobello Road, was aided by an indulgent aunt. He grew up in Norwich, about 120 miles from London, in a Georgian farmhouse set on arable land, where his family raised crops that were in great demand after the food rationing of World War II.
Treasured Objects Up for Sale as Collector Makes LA Move (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)