The Collection of Art Historian and Designer Sterling Boyd
A great eye is rarely confined to a single category. For Sterling Boyd, the synthesis of his extensive knowledge and impeccable style was a personal collection of art and antiques that brought together beauty and history.
We will be offering selections from the Collection of the late Sterling Boyd in several of our current and upcoming auctions. Boyd was an art educator turned interior designer. After earning his doctorate in art history at Princeton (to which the proceeds of the sale of his collection will donated), Boyd took a series of teaching positions at Washington and Lee University and Wake Forest, where he chaired the art department. Next, Boyd worked on educational programs for the North Carolina Museum of Art. Finally, after decades in art and academia, Boyd pivoted his professional attention to interior design, where he could bring his knowledge of history to bear in creating rich, layered interiors that felt at the same time rooted, classic, and original, never trendy or superficial.

Boyd grew his personal collection over many years. His time at Princeton gave him ready access to dealers and galleries in New York, and he traveled extensively. Boyd's friend P. Gaye Tapp, designer and author of How They Decorated, who met Boyd when they both worked at Ethan Allen, recalls that what was going on where Boyd lived or visited was an influence on what he collected. For instance, when the artist Aaron Shikler, who painted John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy's official portraits, was spending time in Winston Salem while Boyd taught at Wake Forest, Boyd purchased a portrait from the artist, which Tapp now owns.
Gregory Ivy (NC, 1904-1985), Gray Hills
Tapp's memories of Boyd include many instances of these types of connections. Several paintings from Boyd's collection that will be offered in our Modern Art & Design Auction were painted by Gregory Ivy, the first department chair at UNC Greensboro, and Tapp's mother's art instructor when UNCG was still the Women's College. A signed photograph of Eudora Welty that Boyd gifted to Tapp was taken by Tapp's childhood piano teacher's son. As well as generous, Tapp describes Boyd as the consummate gentleman, full of elegance and energy.
Boyd was a self-professed Francophile, but his art and antiques include pieces from a broad range of countries and periods. A painting by 20th century artist Jules Olitski hung on his wall adjacent to a 19th century Chinese ancestor portrait, which was flanked by Japanese, Mexican and African wooden masks. The clear through line of Boyd's collection is an insatiable curiosity about the world, history, and the material expression of culture. Boyd never stopped collecting, because the world never stopped being interesting.
Large Mexican Gray Bearded Dance Mask
Below are featured items from the collection of Sterling Boyd offered in The July Estate Auction, as well as the upcoming Modern Art & Design Auction and The Signature Fall Auction.

The July Estate Auction
Thursday, June 15th
10:00am (EDT)

Modern Art & Design
Thursday, August 19th
10:00am (EDT)
Catalogue to be posted Friday, August 6th

The Signature Fall Auction
Saturday, September 18th
9:00am (EDT)
Catalogue to be posted Wednesday, September 1st