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Patrick McCarthy Estate

Dapper, smart, witty, private, charming, mischievous, demanding, energetic, confident, chic, aristocratic. Those are just some of the words that people use to describe the late Patrick McCarthy.

McCarthy’s collection has been described as a mix of antique, modern and contemporary art and furniture. He had a keen eye for both fashion and home design, and his impeccable taste is reflected in the furnishings he surrounded himself with. Sotheby’s acquisition of items from McCarthy’s collection provides an exclusive opportunity to acquire some of the magazine mogul’s best pieces.

Born in 1951 in Dedham, Massachusetts, McCarthy earned a bachelor’s degree in history at Boston University. After spending some time traveling throughout Europe, he enrolled at Stanford to complete an M.A. in journalism. His career began in Washington, D.C. in 1973, when he started working as a reporter with Financial News Service, the news division of Fairchild Publications. In time, however, he moved on to fashion coverage for WWD (Women’s Wear Daily) in London, gradually working his way up to become bureau chief.

That position opened the door for him to become a bureau chief in Paris, where he would spend a good amount of time with John Fairchild, chair and director of the publishing brand. The friendship proved to be a fruitful one; McCarthy moved up quickly at the company, and in 1985 he was named editor of WWD and W – arguably the two most powerful publications covering the multi-billion-dollar international fashion industries. Three years later he became executive editor, then executive vice president, and when Fairchild retired in 1997, he personally selected McCarthy as his successor as chairman and editorial director.

Patrick McCarthy spent his entire reporting and editing career at Fairchild, finally leaving in 2010 when Condé Nast, the Fairchild group’s owner, moved W to its consumer magazine group. He died in February 2019 after a short illness. He was 67.

The executive’s taste for the very best was evident not only in his haberdashery – he preferred suits by Armani – but also in his living space, an apartment on Manhattan’s exclusive Park Avenue. Sotheby’s Home is offering a number of McCarthy’s furniture and art pieces for sale.

Included in Sotheby's listing of items from the McCarthy collection is contemporary art from Terry Winters, Robert Mapplethorpe, Robert Rauschenberg and more. It also includes original works from several renowned photographers, including Hungarian–French photographer Brassaï, influential photojournalist and fashion photographer William Klein and fashion and fine art photographer Lee Miller. Among other notable pieces available are The First Three Minutes, Etc. by Robert Cummings, Abstract With Trains by Shirley Irons, Eruption du Vesuve en 1810 by Jacques Rothmuller and Love I by Daisuke Takeya.

The McCarthy Collection available from Sotheby’s also includes a host of furnishings: mirrors, lamps, candlesticks, tables, a vase, cabinet, sofa, rug, stools and wall art. Particular standouts in this exclusive consignment are a geometric teapot by Matteo Thun and a collection of boxes from Hermès, Gorham, Ralph Lauren and others. A set of “ledge rock” console tables in the style of designer Emilio Terry are offered as well.

McCarthy was in the vanguard of the fashion publishing industry for decades, and his mark is still felt today in the publications he managed and skillfully brought into the 21st century. He is very much missed by his friends and colleagues. It is now possible to own a piece that once belonged to this unique man of impeccable taste.