HENRI CHWAST & SOTHEBY’S: UNVEILING A 30 YEARS’ OLD COLLECTION of ART DECO MASTERPIECES






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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).



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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.

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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

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PIERRE CHAREAU – ‘LP 180’ or ‘Masque’ alabaster and iron table lamp, c.1922-23 / 20,000-30,000 euros


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JEAN DUNAND – Madame Agnès, unique lacquer, eggshell, ivory and silver leaves panel, 1926 / 112,000-167,000 euros

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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

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CLEMENT ROUSSEAU – Macassar, ebony and kingwood veneer, oak, shagreen, mother-of-pearl, ivory and silvered metal chest, c.1925 / 245,000-356,000 euros

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PIERRE CHAREAU – ‘MB405’ and ‘SN3’ a Rio rosewood and iron desk and stool, c.1926-1927 / 200,000-300,000 euros

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JEAN DUNAND – a six panel lacquered wood and eggshell folding screen, c.1925 / 100,000-150,000 euros

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PAULE LELEU – a wool carpet, c.1950 / 2,000-3,000 euros

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JEAN DUNAND – a lacquered wood armchair, c.1924 / 80,000-120,000 euros


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JEAN DUNAND 


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Deux Figures a Genoux, a lacquered panel, 1929 / 80,000-120,000 euros
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 ‘Nu de dos’, a lacquered panel heightened with gold and silver’, 1929 / 60,000-80,000 euros


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PIERRE CHAREAU – ‘LA 254’  a pair of iron and alabaster wall sconces, c.1925 /  30,000-50,000 euros


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CARLO BUGATTI, ‘Cobra’ a pair of partially painted vellum and metal chairs, 1902 / 100,000-150,000 euros


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PIERRE PATOUT – a stained mahogany and bronze armchair, c.1934 / 3,000-5,000 euros


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DIM (Decoration Interieure Moderne) – a Rio rosewood and burr Rio rosewood veneered cabinet, 1925 / 3,000-3,350 euros


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TAMARA DE LEMPICKA – ‘Nu Feminin’, a pencil on paper / 8,000-12,000 euros

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EILEEN GRAY – a unique pine and lacquer vase, c.1920 / 250,000-350,000 euros

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ARISTIDE MICHEL COLOTTE – a crystal bowl, c.1930 / 1,500-2,000 euros


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RAOUL LAMOURDEDIEU – a patinated and silvered bronze, onyx, glass and metal floor lamp, c.1925 / 7,000-10,000 euros

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JEAN GOULDEN – a silver, glass and enamel table lamp, 1926 / 80,000-120,000 euros


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MAURICE JALLOT – a macassar, ebony veneer, oak, shagreen and ivory cabinet, c.1927 / 20,100-27,900 euros


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JOSEPH CSAKY – ‘Jeune Fille’ a patinated bronze sculpture, 1964 – 4,000-6,000 euros

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CLEMENT ROUSSEAU – occasional table, c.1925 / 78,000-100,000 euros


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JEAN DUNAND – a lacquered metal and eggshell vase, c.190 / 70,000-100,000 euros


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CLEMENT ROUSSEAU – Three rosewood veneer, shagreen and ivory  occasional tables, c.1920-25 / 78,000-112,000 euros


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EILEEN GRAY – ebonised oak, sycamore, glass top, ivory handles table-desk, 1919-1922 / 220,000-320,000 euros


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BERNARD BOUTET DE MOVEL – S.A.R Le Maharadjah d’Indore, an oil on canvas / 200,000-300,000 euros


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Bernard Boutet de Monvel

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Madame Agnès’s showroom, 1927

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– All images courtesy of Sotheby’s –

 

 

 

 

LILOU GRIMBACH-MARQUAND – SCREEN SAVER – and PIASA





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“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.”


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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. 


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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.




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You can view the catalogue here.


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MUSEE DES ARTS DECORATIFS: a PIERRE FREY RETROSPECTIVE and a WALLPAPER TRIBUTE in PARIS





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Fresh from the enthralling whirlwind of events surrounding this January instalment of the Paris Déco Off – for which A-Gent of Style was a jury member – and all its peripheral launches, openings and bashes, A-Gent of Style will particularly remember the private event last week of the jaw-dropping Pierre Frey exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs as well as the Museum’s own tribute to 400 years of its own archive wallpapers. If you missed out on all the fun last week, A-Gent of Style would urge any wall hanging enthusiast to jump on a Eurostar this spring even for the day.


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The first major tribute ever paid to this major figure in interior decoration, Tissus Inspirés takes us chronologically through eighty years of creation, highlighting the skills and knowledge defining the Pierre Frey spirit and vision. The presentation of fabrics and wallpapers is complemented by works from the museum’s permanent collections and creations by contemporary artists brought together specially for the occasion and showing the considerable impact that Pierre Frey has made on current artistic practices. Celebrating this unique company’s history and identity, this exhibition takes visitors behind the scenes of a furnishing fabrics and wallpaper publishing house to reveal its sources of inspiration and production methods.

 

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This exhibition features the finest creations produced by Maison Pierre Frey since 1935. In the Study Gallery’s six rooms, it brings together some two hundred works from the creator’s collection illustrating the eclecticism and artistic collaborations that have characterized its history. Born in 1903, Pierre Frey started out in the furnishing fabrics world at the age of seventeen as a cutter for Maison Burger. He later became director of Maison Lauer, where he met the designer Jean Chatanay, with whom he created their own company. In 1937, he bought his partner’s shares in the firm and founded Maison Pierre Frey at 47 rue des Petits-Champs, where the company’s registered office still is today. The production values he established have remained unchanged thanks to his three grandchildren and his son, Patrick Frey, in charge of the company since 1975.

 

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The first room shows the stages and techniques involved in creating and producing a textile and the fabric publisher’s profession. Every Pierre Frey creation is a close collaboration between designer, weaver and printer, all of whose commitment is vital in achieving the company’s high quality standards. From the sketch to the finished product, the wealth of patterns, colours and materials of the pieces on display explore the creator’s stylistic identity. In the next rooms emblematic Pierre Frey textiles and wallpapers are presented alongside works from the Musée des Arts décoratifs. Their association emphasises the historical and artistic contexts in which they were created and evokes the tastes and tendencies of former times.

This historic approach to Pierre Frey’s work is revisited by a contemporary vision emphasising its modernity and topicality: four capsule collections by contemporary designers paying tribute to Pierre Frey. In the space covering the period from 1935 to 1959, Julien Colombier has created a printed fabric whose vivid colours react differently to ultraviolet light, creating a changing perception of the material in function of the lighting. In counterpoint to Pierre Frey creations from 1960-1979, Benjamin Graindorge’s wallpaper explores the problems of visual perception using the pixel as basic unit in spirit of the Op Art artists of the early 1970s. Marcel Wanders revisits Pierre Frey productions from 1980 to 1999 by reinterpreting the ever-present theme of the flower, and Nao Tamura, reflecting on Pierre Frey fabrics from 2000 to 2015, draws on her own universe to create a Jaquard Loom fabric, produced by the Pierre Frey factory in northern France, in which nature is omnipresent. The exhibition ends with a homage to Pierre Frey by seven artists of different nationalities working in different fields. They were asked to reflect on key Pierre Frey concepts: colour, ink, history, texture, pattern and the rustling of the fabric. Julien Salaud, Peter Gentenaar, Michelle Taylor-Dorset, Paule Riché, Kumi Yamashita, Memo Akten and Label Dalbin pay tribute to and metamorphose Maison Pierre Frey’s creative combination of tradition and modernity and project it into the future.



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And one floor up from the Pierre Frey exhibition, you will find the museum’s tantalising collection of wallpapers covering four centuries.


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Revealing the wealth of the Wallpaper Department’s exceptional collection, Faire le Mur features three hundred emblematic pieces selected from the reserve collection of more than 400,000 items. The exhibition juxtaposes and compares wallpapers from different periods and origins to illustrate the broad range of styles and skills in use from the 18th century to the present day. It shows wallpaper’s major role in the history of the decorative arts, whilst highlighting some of the jewels of the largest wallpaper collection in the world.



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