Another day, another, auction house, another sale…and third time lucky.
At a time when the world and its geopolitics seem to have gone awry and make little sense, it feels right for A-gent of Style to welcome and celebrate Vincent Darré, the quirky, fanciful polymath as the parisian storyteller of fashion and design empties his now fabled maison de curiosités for a sale with Piasa in Paris today.
This eccentric creative force who worked for fashion power houses such as Yves Saint Laurent, Montana, Karl Lagerfeld, Moschino and Fendi before going solo to set up his Maison Darré to make his own quirky and whimsical furniture and designs (and many collaborations with artists such as Pierre Le-Tan and textile master Pierre Frey) is inviting us to see for the last time most of the content of his “laboratory of dreams” which have been re-staged as room sets and vignettes at Piasa auction house prior to the sale this evening appropriately titled ‘Vincent Darré, extravagance dadaist’.
Expect to find anatomical curios, anthropomorphic and skeleton pieces, antiques from the flea markets and many of his prototypes and creations influenced by surrealism, cubism and dadaism with odds to Cocteau, Braque, Dali or de Chirico in unconventional juxtapositions similar to his apartment, all filled with memories but little nostalgia. The “anarchist of good taste” is ready to let go of the elements of his phantasmagorical universe to create another one. Judging by his latest idiosyncratic but fantabulous project Hotel Montana in Saint-Germain-des-Près, it is difficult to gauge whether this enfant terrible will move from audacious maximalism to restrained minimalism, and what his reinvention and reincarnation will be. Time will tell. And A-gent of Style simply cannot wait.
– Vincent Darré’s apartment –
Vincent Darré with Vogue’s Suzy Menkes who wrote the preface to the catalogue
You can view the full catalogue here
– A-Gent of Style‘s selection of the sale –
– Imagery by Piasa, Aurélien Mole, and from Piasa’s and Vincent Darré’s Instagram accounts –
Like A-gent of Style, some of you might admire (and get easily entertained) by larger-than-life characters from the world of publishing and fashion such as Diana Vreeland and Anna Winter – and documentaries about their respective career such as The Eye has to Travel and The September Issue (the newly released The First Monday in May has proven to be a very entertaining). Not many people however would have heard of another charismatic and influential editor belonging to that executive and glamourous club.
Fleur Cowles was a renowned publisher, journalist, author, artist, patron and fashionista who also maintained a position as a doyenne of both New York and London society for the better part of a century. Created in 1950, her magazine Flair was renowned for its striking design and lavish production as for its editorial content. Despite strong circulation, the colossal costs for special features, such as embossed cover cut-outs and unfolding pages that revealed hidden pictures as well as original artwork produced by the celebrated illustrator René Gruau, caused the magazine to run for only a year. To this day, Flair remains a much respected publication and copies are still highly sought after almost 70 years after the last issue went to press.
Tomorrow Christie’s South Kensington will present the collection of Fleur Cowles who died in 2009.
The eclectic collection to be offered at Christie’s South Kensington offers a rare glimpse into the private world Cowles created. She and her last husband, Thomas Montague-Meyer, together occupied two adjoining ‘sets’ at one of London’s most renowned addresses – Albany, Piccadilly – for more than 50 years. Her striking interiors remained unchanged during these decades and the auction will capture the magic of a time-capsule broken open for the first time.
The collection illustrates not only the amazing interiors Cowles created in her secluded London home, but also the amazing life the bigger-than-life aesthete lived; the auction includes everything from her 1950’s Dior hats and designs for famed Flair magazine, to her prized collection of naïf art, furniture, sculpture and works of art, as well as some of her own paintings and photographs dedicated from many of her famous friends, such as Vivien Leigh, Lady Bird Johnson and the Duchess of Windsor – she counted amongst her circle General Eisenhower, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Cary Grant, HSH Princess Grace of Monaco and the Reagans to name but a few.
Now, wouldn’t a biopic about Madame Cowles’s life be just the ticket? And imagine what her Instagram account would be like!
– The sets currently on view at South Kensington designed by Cave Interiors, Joanna Wood Interior Design and Maddux Creative –
Here is A-Gent of Style‘s selection from the collection
You can view the full catalogue here
– All images by Christie’s –
Amongst the Art deco sales of the last half century, the 1972 sale at Christie’s of couturier Jacques Doucet’s possessions is to this date of the most fabled. The Yves Saint Laurent – Pierre Bergé sale of 2009 at Christie’s was equally historic as it reached 373,935,500 euros with Eileen Gray’s ‘Fauteuil aux Dragons’ reaching an incredible 21,905,000 euros. Then in March 2014 the Felix Marcilhac sale came along courtesy of Sotheby’s and sent A-Gent of Style in a state of stratospheric elation with its ravishing museum-quality masterpieces (and an unforgettable cover feature from The World of Interiors).
And a week ago, without much fanfare, Henri Chwast came into A-Gent of Style’s life. Unbeknownst to him, Henri Chwast was the creator of the first “concept” fashion shop in Paris, Mérédith, which he opened with his wife Anne-Marie on the Rue de Passy in 1961, offering pieces of a select group of international designers. But Chwast was also a collecting pioneer who, in the early 1970s, rediscovered and championed many artworks of the 1920s, from artists and designers such as Eileen Gray and Jean Dunand. A secret collector, known only to several big Parisian dealers, he died almost 25 years ago, leaving intact his compact collection consisting of about sixty masterpieces created by a small number of first-rate artists including Clément Rousseau, Pierre Chareau and Bernard Boutet de Monel.
Today, Sotheby’s Paris will be unveiling this tastemaker’s remarkable collection of hidden treasures kept away for thirty years, now appearing on the market for the first time and remaining decidedly modern. The works, carefully chosen for their exceptional quality, make up a perfectly consistent ensemble of rare and precious group of 46 lots, expected to reach between 3-5 million euros. Their rarity, prestigious provenance and the dialogue created between them establish it as one of those truly legendary Art Deco collections. These pieces have been through the hands of the movement’s greatest advocates: the legendary Art Deco Galerie du Luxembourg, Félix Marcilhac, Alain Lesieutre, Maria de Beyrie, Bob and Cheska Vallois and Karl Lagerfeld.
During the 1970’s, Henri Chwast started collecting works of the 1920’s period after being introduced to the glories of Art Deco at the 1972 Jacques Doucet sale. Patiently and meticulously, he acquired iconic works by the major artists of Art Deco, mainly Dunand, Gray, Rousseau and Chareau. This connoisseur with a highly specific taste limited his collection to a small number of works, focusing on the crucial, the ground-breaking and the unique. The selection constituted by Henri Chwast’s discerning eye is a perfect illustration of aesthetic explorations during the 1920’s: a mix of luxury and modernity. Through his choices, Chwast established himself as a trail-blazer who, in the 1970’s, fully realised the importance of creations from this period, and sought to capture their essence.
This collection, housed for three decades in a family environment reflecting the collector’s discreet personality, is striking for the majestic quality of each work. It also provides an overview of the founding figures of Art Deco including some of the most active patrons of their time such as Madame Agnès (a customer, collector and close friend of Jean Dunand), Madame Labourdette (wife of the famous coach builder Jean-Henri Labourdette) and the Maharajah of Indore (a prominent figure in the 1920’s artistic milieu).
Time will tell but this collection, though rather small, has all the ingredients to become a truly legendary ensemble that will be remembered as one of the most iconic sales of Art Deco.
You can see the full catalogue here
And a short video:
Below, A-Gent of Style‘s selection from the catalogue:
JEAN DUNAND – unique eggshell and lacquered wood fire surround, 1926 / 200,000-300,000 euros
PIERRE CHAREAU – ‘LP 180’ or ‘Masque’ alabaster and iron table lamp, c.1922-23 / 20,000-30,000 euros
JEAN DUNAND – Madame Agnès, unique lacquer, eggshell, ivory and silver leaves panel, 1926 / 112,000-167,000 euros
PIERRE CHAREAU – SN31 also called ‘La Religieuse’ (as it looks like a nun’s wimple), a mahogany, alabaster and metal floor lamp, c.1928 / 300,000-500,000 euros
CLEMENT ROUSSEAU – Macassar, ebony and kingwood veneer, oak, shagreen, mother-of-pearl, ivory and silvered metal chest, c.1925 / 245,000-356,000 euros
PIERRE CHAREAU – ‘MB405’ and ‘SN3’ a Rio rosewood and iron desk and stool, c.1926-1927 / 200,000-300,000 euros
JEAN DUNAND – a six panel lacquered wood and eggshell folding screen, c.1925 / 100,000-150,000 euros
PAULE LELEU – a wool carpet, c.1950 / 2,000-3,000 euros
JEAN DUNAND – a lacquered wood armchair, c.1924 / 80,000-120,000 euros
Deux Figures a Genoux, a lacquered panel, 1929 / 80,000-120,000 euros
‘Nu de dos’, a lacquered panel heightened with gold and silver’, 1929 / 60,000-80,000 euros
PIERRE CHAREAU – ‘LA 254’ a pair of iron and alabaster wall sconces, c.1925 / 30,000-50,000 euros
CARLO BUGATTI, ‘Cobra’ a pair of partially painted vellum and metal chairs, 1902 / 100,000-150,000 euros
PIERRE PATOUT – a stained mahogany and bronze armchair, c.1934 / 3,000-5,000 euros
DIM (Decoration Interieure Moderne) – a Rio rosewood and burr Rio rosewood veneered cabinet, 1925 / 3,000-3,350 euros
TAMARA DE LEMPICKA – ‘Nu Feminin’, a pencil on paper / 8,000-12,000 euros
EILEEN GRAY – a unique pine and lacquer vase, c.1920 / 250,000-350,000 euros
ARISTIDE MICHEL COLOTTE – a crystal bowl, c.1930 / 1,500-2,000 euros
RAOUL LAMOURDEDIEU – a patinated and silvered bronze, onyx, glass and metal floor lamp, c.1925 / 7,000-10,000 euros
JEAN GOULDEN – a silver, glass and enamel table lamp, 1926 / 80,000-120,000 euros
MAURICE JALLOT – a macassar, ebony veneer, oak, shagreen and ivory cabinet, c.1927 / 20,100-27,900 euros
JOSEPH CSAKY – ‘Jeune Fille’ a patinated bronze sculpture, 1964 – 4,000-6,000 euros
CLEMENT ROUSSEAU – occasional table, c.1925 / 78,000-100,000 euros
JEAN DUNAND – a lacquered metal and eggshell vase, c.190 / 70,000-100,000 euros
CLEMENT ROUSSEAU – Three rosewood veneer, shagreen and ivory occasional tables, c.1920-25 / 78,000-112,000 euros
EILEEN GRAY – ebonised oak, sycamore, glass top, ivory handles table-desk, 1919-1922 / 220,000-320,000 euros
BERNARD BOUTET DE MOVEL – S.A.R Le Maharadjah d’Indore, an oil on canvas / 200,000-300,000 euros
Bernard Boutet de Monvel
Madame Agnès’s showroom, 1927
– All images courtesy of Sotheby’s –
“I love light and I hate to see windows cluttered up by kilos of fabric, however precious it might be! A window is an opening on the exterior – a link to life.”
It wasn’t until he received the catalogue of the forthcoming Piasa sale last week that A-Gent of Style discovered for the first time Lilou Grumbach-Marquand and fell instantly head over heels for her work. Keen to delve into her work, A-Gent of Style could not find much information (online) about the already ever secretive and private artist. But going through the sale catalogue proved to be a revelation and a treat.
Madame Grumbach-Marquand has been making sublime screens, partitions, blinds, canopies, banners, beds and kimono stands for the last 20 years and has been adored by leading decorators such as Peter Marino, Jacques Grange, Frank de Biaisi but also Diane von Furstenberg for whom she has made a veiled four-poster bed.
PIASA auctioneers are paying tribute to her exceptional talent by offering a score of her remarkable creations on October 25 in Paris, a rare chance to see and own her private creations. The lucky ones who will be in Paris from tomorrow Friday 21 October will be able to see the pieces at the sale exhibition prior to the auction.
Her every designs are unique and made by hand from a luxuriant and fine range of unusual materials – ribbons, braid, tassles, silver or amber balls, gingko leaf, passementerie, fiber, silk, linen, metals, plant fibres, edging of Indian sari. They result in spectacular and refined creations infused with a sense of poetry, and her influences of the far and middle east mingle with European and French sensibilities whilst having subtle echoes of India, Turkey, Africa or Japan. The main thing is that each material guarantees ‘the purest transparency.’ The screen is a time-honoured element of decoration, filtering light and transcending interiors by redesigning their contours.
Now living in Paris’s Marais district, Lilou Marquand had the privilege of being Mademoiselle Coco Chanel’s closest collaborator for fifteen years (for several weeks she waited for Mademoiselle Chanel outside the Ritz, wearing a Chanel dress. Chanel finally noticed her and gave her a job). In the proximity of the « grande dame » of couture, known for her refined sense of colour and her flawless eye for details, Lilou Marquand’s own sensibility quickly developed and so did her obsession with lightness and light. Using her apartment as a creative studio, Lilou designs and creates projects for clients the world over. She recently created an enclosed space for Diane Von Fustenberg, which was on display at the Von Fustenberg’s studio in New York.
You can view the catalogue here.
There is a very important event not to be missed at the moment in London.
Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler are currently celebrating until December 5, 2016 artist Jeremiah Goodman and hosting his first London show in the iconic Nancy Lancaster’s Yellow Room, Brook Street. This exhibition, beautifully curated by Dean Rhys Morgan, is slightly tinted with emotions as it the last time one will be able to visit this incredible place before the company moves their headquarters by the end of the year to Pimlico Road (the room has already been stripped of all its furniture). Consider it the end of an era. If you haven’t been yet, this is your last chance.
Jeremiah, as he is simply known, is the famed watercolour and gouache illustrator revered within the interior design and architectural communities for his rare ability to infuse empty rooms with warmth and personality. He has worked in some of the most exclusive enclaves in the world and has been commissioned by an illustrious clientèle ranging from the world of literature and theatre (Edward Albee, Greta Garbo, Sir John Gielgud), music (Richard Rodgers), fashion (Yves Saint Laurent, Elsa Schiaparelli, Diana Vreeland, Carolina Herrera), art (Cecil Beaton, Pablo Picasso), interior decoration (Dorothy Draper, Billy Baldwin, David Hicks, Mario Buatta), socialites (the Rothschilds, Betsy Bloomingdale), royalty (The Duchess of Windsor), politics (the Reagans), to name but a few, and more recently influential people such as Bruce Weber and the Reed-Krakoffs.
Back in New York, the unstoppable artist – a true gentleman with whom I have had enjoyable conversations on Instagram – can be found every day at his drawing board in his Upper East side apartment working on private commissions but also on commercial assignments for advertisements, catalogues and artworks. His work is in the permanent collections of both the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Bust in bronze of Jeremiah by Richard Frazier, 1953
His stylish and studied renderings have been published in some of the most distinguished publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, House & Garden, Vogue, Vanity Fair magazines, The New York Times and Interior Design magazine whose covers he illustrated every month for 15 years from 1949 until 1964. He received in 1987 the prestigious Hall of Fame Award in recognition for his contribution in the field of Interior Design. Throughout his career, Jeremiah also embarked on numerous furniture design and product design projects such as fabrics and wallpapers.
A-Gent of Style adores the enchanting, moody atmosphere and unique air of mysticism that emanate from Goodman’s plates of artwork. There is a great sense of emotions, drama and ephemera in each of his watercolours but also depth and movement despite the static nature of this medium. One can’t but admire the way he captures light and shadow, and infuse rooms with warmth and personality, consequently giving them vitality and life.
Jeremiah’s prolific body of work throughout the decades: