The Collection of Victor Mills
Stair is pleased to offer Chinese jades from The Collection of Victor Mills, Roxbury CT in our September 7th, Friday Night Sale beginning at 6pm. Victor Mills’ passion for collecting was rooted in his love of nature in all its forms, and a special fascination with stone. His children’s fondest memories include hiking as a family in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Victor would point out different types of rock along the trail and remark on their qualities and the vast forces of nature that formed and sculpted them over millennia.
Victor was born in 1919 in Meriden, Connecticut. He came from a line of Methodist ministers on his father’s side and businessmen on his mother’s. He attended College High School in Montclair, New Jersey; Swarthmore College and Harvard Business School. During World War II, he served in the Navy in Hawaii overseeing logistics for the Pacific war effort.
The war left a deep impression on him, and he dedicated himself to the service of peacekeeping and cooperation among countries and peoples. He joined the United Nations shortly after its founding in 1945 and worked at the U.N. and its affiliate organizations in senior administrative roles up to his retirement in 1981. Much of his career was spent in New York but also included assignments in Ghana, Jerusalem, Cyprus, and Rome, Italy.
It was in Rome that he began collecting in earnest and deepened his appreciation for the marriage of stone and art. He sought out semi-precious stone boxes for their beauty and simplicity, and also worked with local artisans to create a coffee table of various stones including lapis lazuli, inspired by the Cosmati designs found in Roman churches and palazzi.
After retiring to the U.S. in 1982, Victor and his wife traveled extensively throughout the world including many trips to Asia, where he cultivated his interest in Chinese jade and other stone carvings. He was fascinated by how artists were able to work with the stone to bring out the natural patterns and color within, creating pieces of incredible intricacy, color and beauty. He was also intrigued by the stories that the pieces told or held secret: from where the stone originated; who carved them and when; and where they had been and who had possessed them over the many years since.
Over the next two decades, Victor acquired an extensive collection that brought him enormous pleasure. The majority of pieces came from galleries and dealers in New York, San Francisco and Hong Kong.
Victor’s children are pleased to continue to offer their father’s collection at Stair as part of our September sale (lots 135-157) in the hope that these beautiful pieces will continue their journey and bring the same pleasure to their new owners as they brought to their father.