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Once upon a time, in a world not so long ago when the whole of New York was decorated in chintz and floral prints, I met Mario Buatta. I had just started working at Sotheby’s and a whole new world opened up to me. I had my first glimpse of some of the finest interiors and met a few of the world’s most renowned decorators. My first encounter with Mario took place with my father, who was also a ‘character’, and an impasse between them ensued for the next ten years.

Despite this, I often found myself in houses that Mario was working on, as we shared many clients, including Malcolm Forbes and the Johnsons, to name just a couple. And throughout the eighties I would visit other clients and see the trademark floral prints and chintz on the walls. It is amazing how one can be inspired and learn so much from just being in the presence of such talent.

Fast forward to 2001 when I started Stair Galleries in Hudson. We had thrown caution to the wind, put all our eggs in one basket and were holding our very first auction at Stair the next day when suddenly I had Mario Buatta on the phone, demanding a printed catalogue. ‘Mario, we don’t have any printed catalogues, the catalogue is all online…’ I said. ‘What do you mean there is no printed catalogue?’ he asked incredulously.  So we scrambled to make him a printed copy, somehow managed to get it to him the next day and he ended up bidding in our very first sale!

The hook was set and over the next few years, he became a regular bidder. Towards the end, I would say to him ‘Mario, are you sure you really need this?’ And he would always say ‘yes, of course I do.’ One of his last phone calls to the gallery was about six months before his passing and a very sweet, junior member of staff was trying to help him. Mario was clearly unimpressed: ‘I don’t know who you are but have a grownup call me back!’

It went down as a legendary moment at Stair….

-Colin Stair


DAY ONE: Lots 1 – 552        DAY TWO: Lots 553 – 995



We accept phone bids, absentee bids and live online bidding for this sale.
All bidding for this sale must be arranged prior to 5pm on Thursday, March 12.

To register for bidding by phone or absentee click here.
Register for live online bidding via or

For inquiries regarding the items in this sale please contact us at 518.751.1000 or

Time & Location

Friday, March 13 & Saturday, March 14 at 11am

Catalogue Online

Friday, February 28

Gallery Preview

Saturday, February 29 – Saturday, March 14

Gallery Hours

Monday – Thursday: 10am-5pm
Friday: 10am-5pm
Saturday: 11am-5pm
Sunday: 12-5pm

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