It is exceptional: a woman who collects Dutch old masters. Baukje Coenen, specialist in seventeenth-century painting at Sotheby’s in Amsterdam, cannot easily recall another example. “Ty Scheumann was a particularly tough lady,” says Coenen about the American collector. Early next year, Sotheby’s will auction its collection in New York, which mainly consists of paintings made in Amsterdam.
That the auction house proposed a preview of the so-called single owner sale at a historic location in Amsterdam was one of the reasons for the Scheumann heirs to award the sale to Sotheby’s, says Coenen. For security reasons, the auction house does not want to be published in the newspaper where the private preview is being held. From Thursday to Sunday, the Scheumann collection can then be viewed by appointment at the Sotheby’s office in the capital.
Theiline “Ty” Scheumann died in December at age 90 in her hometown of Bellevue, Washington. She left a still life with oysters by Willem Claesz. Heda at the Seattle Art Museum, an institution in her hometown for which she did board work. Twelve other works from her collection – still lifes and forest, city and seascapes by well-known old masters such as Aert van der Neer, Frans van Mieris and Jacob van Ruisdael – will be presented on January 26 in New York as The Ty Scheumann Collection be auctioned. The auction house estimates the proceeds at at least eight million euros.
Ty Scheumann came from a good family. Her grandfather William Pigott founded a trucking company in Seattle in 1905 which, under the leadership of her father Paul, grew into multinational Paccar, one of the largest manufacturers of heavy trucks in the world – the Dutch DAF is one of the company’s brands. Her stepfather John McCone was director of the CIA’s foreign security service during the Cold War in the early 1960s.
Ty Scheumann himself also stood her ground, according to the obituaries that appeared in American media at the beginning of this year. She had five children with her first husband, who died young. She loved the outdoors: she enjoyed hunting and fishing, played tennis and golf, rode horses, had a pilot’s license and, at the age of 69, was still crossing the North Atlantic by sailboat. She also kept many pets, including the hippo Gertrude.
In the equestrian world Ty Scheumann was known as a breeder and trader. She founded the Grousemont Farms stud. There she bred several racehorses of international caliber that sometimes changed hands for millions of dollars. Her most famous racehorse, Noble Nashua, won several major American races and was sold to a syndicate of breeders for $11 million in 1981.
The collection of Dutch old masters belonging to friends of her parents, Ed and Hannah Carter (bequeathed to the LACMA in Los Angeles in 2009), inspired Ty Scheumann to start collecting herself. Baukje Coenen: „Scheumann only wanted Dutch old masters of the highest quality. An increasingly complicated task, because those paintings are coming onto the market less and less and often go to museums.”
Top piece from the Scheumann collection is a genre painting by Frans van Mieris the Elder, a small A4 panel completed around 1667 of a young woman who wants to seal a letter with a touch-up pen. Van Mieris was a fine painter who wanted to represent reality as accurately as possible. He did so in a detailed style, reportedly sometimes using brushes with only one hair. The portrait of the young woman has a target price of 1.5 to 2 million euros.
Five other paintings received target prices of around a million from Sotheby’s. A small forest landscape by Jacob van Ruisdael, a forest view by Aert van der Neer and an Amsterdam canal by Jan van der Heyden should each yield 1 to 1.5 million. A painting with the whaler Prince Willem by the Rotterdam maritime painter Lieve Verschuier and a small, but fine seascape by Willem van de Velde the Younger were both estimated at 800,000 to 1.2 million.
In addition to old masters and horses, Ty Scheumann was passionate about American football. According to the Seattle Times On the weekend before her death, she was still watching the television coverage of one of her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks. They lost 20-10 to the Los Angeles Rams.
The Ty Scheumann Collection can be viewed from Thurs to Sun by appointment at the Sotheby’s auction house in Amsterdam. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org and 020-5502200
A version of this article also appeared in the newspaper of September 21, 2022