The 1920s, saw an impressive set of Russian émigrés arrive in New York, of whom Sonia Colefax was one of the most engaging. The daughter of a successful fisheries merchant appointed by the Tsar, Sonia begun life in Russia but left before the Revolution with only her books and school uniform. After a brief post-war marriage in Germany she began a new life in New York in 1922, immediately enlisting a compatriot to build her a Russian dacha on Long Island, which would become a mecca for Russian musicians, artists, intellects and bohemians. Sonia had installed there stunning paintings by Mikhail Nesterov and Alexander Moravov, and continued to build her collection in the States and Europe between 1924 and 1930. A passionate and discerning collector, she also acquired works by early American painters, glassware, and early American and English furniture.
Of the numerous figures drawn by her magnetic character was Peter Colefax, whom Sonia met towards the end of the 1920s and was married to for over 25 years. Peter was the eldest son of another remarkable lady of her era, Sybil Colefax, famous today as a founding partner of the interior design company Colefax & Fowler.
Source: Sotheby’s Catalogue