An exhibition of items belonging to Joan Didion is happening in upstate New York


An emblem of American literature, the late Joan Didion passed away in December of 2021 at the age of 87 from Parkinson’s disease at her home in New York.

Still regaled as one of the most important authors within the national literary canon, Didion’s entire aesthetic has been dissected by fashion magazines, the literati sect and even New Yorkers who claimed her as one of her own despite her much-chronicled love affair with the city of Los Angeles.  

Now, almost a year since her passing, Didion’s essence is being honored at Stair Galleries in Hudson, New York, where her estate sale auction will take place on November 16. Before then, now through November 15, selected items belonging to the famous writer will be on display at the same gallery.

Exhibition hours vary by date but all proceeds from the show held at the auction house at 549 Warren Street by South 6th Street will benefit patient care and research of Parkinson’s and other movement disorders at Columbia University, and the Sacramento Historical Society for the benefit of Sacramento City College scholarship for women in literature.

Among the various items on sale are works by Ed Ruscha and Patti Smith, plus a selection of photographs of Didion herself by the likes of Annie Leibovitz and Julian Wasser. 

As for the furnishing and decorations from the author’s apartment, you can expect to gaze at her American oak, walnut and bird’s-eye maple partners’ desk (estimate: $800-$12,000), a late Regency ebony inlaid mahogany Pembroke table (estimate: $1,000-$1,500) alongside porcelain and collectibles amassed by her and her husband, fellow writer John Gregory Dunne, throughout their travels. 

Perhaps most notably given her fans’ interest in the sorts of everyday objects that allowed Didion to flourish as a legendary cultural voice, the exhibit will also feature her IBM Wheelwriter 5 typewriter (estimate: $800-$1,200), some writing ephemera from her desk (estimate: $200-$400), blank notebooks (estimate: $100-$200) and her George III-style inlaid mahogany cylinder writing desk (estimate: $300-$600). The New York Times offers a preview of the sort of objects that visitors can expect at the Hudson exhibit right here

We’d be remiss not to mention that Didion’s instantly recognizable Celine sunglasses will also go to auction. The estimated price of the faux-tortoiseshell pair is $400 to $800.



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