Hail, Anthony!

Permalink         Comments (4)        
Posted September 25, 2013. Filed in Anthony Hail, Classic Elegance, Neoclassical

Anthony Hail, that is – the late, great arbiter of classical restraint who ruled over the San Francisco Bay Area’s design cognoscenti beginning in the 1950’s until his passing in 2006, fashioning timeless interiors for elite patrons. On October 8th select lots of furnishings and objets d’arts from the estate he shared with his late partner, Charles Posey (who passed in March), will be offered by Christie’s, including some personal items such as monogrammed Louis Vuitton trunks. I decided to write this post in part because I was rather surprised to find very few photos of at least two of the residences I’m aware he inhabited over the course of the past several decades in San Francisco – one on Russian Hill, and the last in Pacific Heights. Somewhere I know I have photos of his Russian Hill residence but, alas, I cannot find them. But more pertinent to this story is the apartment he left behind in 2006 to his partner, Charles Posey, for which the contents of the Christie’s auction originate.

Anthony Hail San Francisco Apartment

Architectural Digest published a special issue, Collector’s Edition: Designer’s Own Homes, in September, 1998. This was the last time the Hail-Posey residence was photographed for a magazine feature. The photos of his Pacific Heights apartment illustrates Hail’s brand of classicism with a penchant for Scandinavian antiques informed by twelve years of living in Denmark. Of the living room, above, Hail commented “Most everything is eighteenth century”. A fantasy painting by Paolo Porpora surveys a collection of French armchairs. The a pair of mirrors are Danish.

Anthony Hail San Francisco Living Room

A late 17th-century watercolor of a pheasant from Louis XIV’s menagerie at Versailles is mounted on an easel on the left; two Ptolemaic-period ibis flank the Louis XVI trumeau.

Anthony Hail San Francisco Living Room

Eighteenth-century architectural works line a wall in the living room. Hail noted “I have no prints, only drawings”. A 19th-century ladder stands near a Swedish Neoclassical clock; on the bureau plat is a François Clouet drawing.

Anthony Hail Entrance Hall San Francisco

The entrance hall, which doubled as a dining room, is furnished in the tradition of grand European houses. A 17th-century Flemish tapestry hangs at left and a group of English drawings is arranged around a Swedish Neoclassical mirror at right.

Anthony Hail San Francisco Apartment

Though half the size of his Russian Hill residence Hail commented that his new apartment “had great potential  — high ceilings, nice cornices and baseboards.” In a corner of the entrance hall, above, a red-lacquered Chinese trunk is placed between a 19th-century American gilt chair and a Danish oval-back chair.

Anthony Hail San Francisco Entrance Hall

An 18th-century Russian candlelit lantern is reflected in a Swedish mirror gilded with the crest of the Vasa family in the entrance hall. Hail was also keen on Oriental porcelain – a collection of blanc-de-chine is displayed on a Swedish commode beneath the mirror.

Anthony Hail Bedroom San Francisco

Hail brought with him the Louis XVI leather covered bed from his Russian Hill residence and painted the walls of his bedroom a similar blue to that which he had previously had. Hail explained “Jefferson had a blue room with white trim at Monticello. That was my inspiration.”

Hail-Posey Bedroom San Francisco

Charles Posey’s bedroom opens to a garden that so reminds me of our own townhouse in the Netherlands. A non-electrified green Russian lantern hangs over a Neoclassical bed with a leather bed cover.

Anthony Hail and Charles Posey

Anthony Hail, on the left, and Charles Posey in their Pacific Heights apartment.

Photography by Mark Darley and Steve Whittaker, Architectural Digest; September, 1998

For more information on the Anthony Hail and Charles Posey auction at Christie’s visit their website. For a glimpse at their Russian Hill home pick up a copy of San Francisco Interiors by Diane Dorrans Saeks with photographs by Alan Weintraub, published in 1995.


4 Responses to Hail, Anthony!

  1. September 29, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Great minds think alike! I prepared a post last week regarding the Hail auction. It will post tomorrow. I think there are many of us who are highly anticipating this sale.

  2. luc
    October 6, 2013 at 5:24 am

    Hi, great interior design. Must be the result of a live well spent. If you ever find the photo’s of the Russian Hill house 🙂 regards from Europe, luc

  3. Cristopher
    October 18, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Jennifer- yes, indeed! I apologize for the late reply. Comments haven’t been forwarding to my inbox as they should. So tell me, did encounter that something special you just can’t live without?!

  4. Cristopher
    October 18, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Thank you Luc – I certainly will should they resurface.