CHRISTIE’S and ‘THE ART OF DESIGN’ with SIBYL COLEFAX & JOHN FOWLER




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The summer season at Christie’s South Kensington has now started, the most noteworthy landmark being, and you will all agree of course,
the feature of A-Gent of Style in the prestigious auction house’s June newsletter, which you can view in full here (shameless self-promotion).



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Additionally, following a very successful collaboration last July, Christie’s invited Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, interior decorating and antiques, Brook Street, Mayfair, to contribute to another innovative sale on 4 June that celebrates the best of interior design and decoration with an international reach and universal appeal.

A-Gent of Style is delighted to be collaborating with the two renowned houses on the feature of this sale, and he had the privilege to be given a preview guided tour of the exhibition on Thursday evening ahead of the opening to the public on Saturday.


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The Art of Design sale combines a carefully curated selection of 60 lots which exhibit the quality, elegance and world-class reputation of the Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler name alongside a collection formed over the course of a lifetime by the late Melbourne-born interior designer Lex Aitken and his partner, the esteemed fashion illustrator and designer Alfredo Bouret Gonzalez.


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Taken from their Sydney home and private collection (Aitken died last spring at the age of 83 in Sydney and Gonzalez now lives in Vancouver, having sold the Sydney home), this home contents sale will appeal to both first-time collectors and aficionados of design who will be attracted by the good taste synonymous with each contributor. The auction will include furniture, ceramics, pictures, lighting and decorative objects, forming 220 odd lots, with estimates from £300 to £80,000. The sale is led by two fine portraits, the first by Jacques-Emile Blanche (French, 1861-1942), entitled ‘Jeune fille à la fenêtre’, a charming full length oil (estimate £15,000-25,000) and a striking depiction of Mrs Moody, three-quarter length, in a white dress, holding a dog in her lap, in a landscape by British master George Romney (1734- 1802) with an estimate of £50,000-80,000 (shown here). The Romney can be seen hanging above the sofa in the Sydney home of Mr. Aitken and Mr. Gonzalez.


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Lex Aitken’s international career is reflected in the diversity of countries represented among the objects in this sale. Yet the influence of London is evident throughout as it was where he built his reputation in the 1960s as Lex Aitken Antiques, his eponymous business on the capital’s road of designers, Pimlico Road. Aitken’s integrity and flair endeared him to clients – including luminaries such as Lucien Freud, who shared his contagious enthusiasm for works of art, furniture and design.

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 In a career that spanned almost two decades which brought him worldwide recognition, fashion illustrator Alfredo Bouret Gonzalez, Lex Aitken’s long-term partner, shared his taste and connoisseurship honed in Paris where he sketched for the great couture houses, Vogue and Harpers Bazaar, capturing effortlessly with his dazzling impressions and animated lines the golden age of haute couture, and was granted unique access to the reclusive genius Balenciaga. Gonzalez moved to London where he established his boutique, ‘Mexicana’, importing peasant shirts and other Mexican wear to a delighted London audience, which included HRH Diana, Princess of Wales and Valentino.

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A-Gent of Style was fortunate to be given a guided tour of the exhibition with Charlotte Young, the sales’ specialist at Christie’s, and Ronan Sulich, Christie’s Sydney representative. A-Gent of Style shamefully knew very little about aesthetes Aitken and Gonzalez and could hardly find any information online (where else these days?!) about their incredible careers and lives except a fascinating YouTube video on Gonzalez’ s life and career (which you can view at the end of this article). So it was with great appreciation and enjoyment that Sulich, who flew in to help with the curation (he knew Aitken and Gonzalez well, and had been to their storied house on several occasions over the years) delighted us both with stories and anecdotes that brought to life the glamourous life of parties, dinners and travels the international ‘A-gay’ couple had experienced together, surrounding themselves with eclectic collectable objets over the decades. Both Aitken and Gonzalez were generous supporters of the arts and after they retired to Aitken’s native Australia, settling in Sydney, they contributed to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the RMIT University and the Powerhouse Museum, Melbourne.

The exterior and an interior from the Sydney home of Lex Aitken and Alfredo Gonzalez

The exterior from the Sydney home of Lex Aitken and Alfredo Gonzalez



The Sydney home of Mr. Aitken and Mr. Gonzalez:


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Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler antiques:


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The Art of Design exhibition at Christie’s, South Kensington:

Viewing is opened until Tuesday 3 June 5pm with a late viewing this evening until 7.30pm. The auction will take place at 10 am on Wednesday 4 June.

You can view the full catalogue here.


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Some of A-Gent of Style‘s favourite picks from the sale:

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The Alfredo Bouret Gonzalez retrospective:






A-Gent of Style would like to thank Charlotte Young, the sales’ specialist at Christie’s, Ronan Sulich, Christie’s Sydney representative, and Trudi Ballard at Sibyl Colefax & Fowler for their assistance and support.


– Photographs by Christie’s, Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler, and A-Gent of Style





CHRISTIE’S’ FEATURES A-GENT OF STYLE IN “INTERIORS CURATED”




After a few weeks of anticipation and excitement, A-Gent of Style is proud to announce the online publication today of the ‘Interiors Curated’ project he has been working on with Christie’s, now live on their website before the print publication in June of the magazine supplement.


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Some of you will now be familiar with the several collaborations
A-Gent of Style has made with Christie’s in the last six months featuring on his blog discerning sales. A couple of months ago, Christie’s Interiors, offered in
South Kensington and New York, approached A-Gent of Style to be one of their ‘Arbiters of Style’ or ‘tastemakers’ to select his favourite picks from two sales coming up in June in London.

To be presented with the unique opportunity to visit the auctioneers’ warehouses in London and make a selection from a thousand odd, one-of-a-kind objets and collectibles in various styles from antique to contemporary was a thrilling experience for A-Gent of Style.


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Choosing 5 or 6 objets out of some 1,000 wasn’t an easy task. Mindful of imagining an eclectic vignette where his six chosen objects would be harmoniously collected in one sitting room, A-Gent of Style’s criteria for his selection were based firstly on aesthetics then origins, originality, quirkiness rather than provenance and value.

Some of you will have seen a teaser on Instagram a few days ago but today,
A-Gent of Style can reveal below the screenshots of his feature which you can also view fully here on Christie’s website.

 

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Here are some of A-Gent of Style‘s favourite pieces that sadly did not make it to his final edit.

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You can view the full catalogue here



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You can view the full catalogue here



A-Gent of Style would like to thank the staff at Christie’s who have helped and supported him during this project, particularly Charlotte Stewart, associate director, whose expertise, support and enthusiasm were greatly appreciated.


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– All images by Christie’s –





20TH CENTURY DECORATIVE ART & DESIGN at CHRISTIE’S




As mentioned yesterday on the blog in the article dedicated to Phillips’ two significant sales tomorrow showcasing 19th century and 20th century important objets, today’s post will be featuring the third exhibition of an equally anticipated sale on Wednesday focusing on 20th century decorative art and design, orchestrated this time by leading international auction house, Christie’s. Never has it been more thrilling for A-Gent of Style to witness at the same in London two events celebrating some of his most cherished designers and ensembliers.


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It was shortly after meeting Tessa Kennedy last month at Christie’s, South Kensington, at the exhibition for the sale of her lifetime collection (which you can view here) that A-Gent of Style unexpectedly caught sight in a corner of the hallway of a rare Jacques Adnet desk and chair from 1950 in oak, beautiful caramel leather adorned with the designer’s trademark stitching and brass round pulls on the drawers. After some investigation, A-Gent of Style found out the Adnet ensemble would be part of a 20th Century sale scheduled for the end April, which brings us to today’s feature.


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Last Thursday late afternoon, A-Gent of Style was greeted by Jeremy Morrison, the sale’s specialist, at Christie’s King Street, who very kindly gave him a private tour of the exhibition (his team was hurriedly putting the finishing touch as he arrived) before it opened to the public the following day. Since the Michael Inchbald sale a few months ago, the space had been split in two distinct areas, both beautifully curated into elegant vignettes, one dedicated to the 20th Century Decorative Art & Design and the other to the Lalique: An Important Private Collection.


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The first sale encompasses objets from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements and also post-war and contemporary design, featuring a variety of stylish yet practical pieces suited to the collector, the interior decorator, and the private customer alike. Amongst the carefully selected works are chandeliers, mirrors, wall lights, dining tables and chairs, alongside unique eye-catching works of art including striking Art Deco figures and works in glass by some of the finest craftsmen of the 20th Century. With estimates ranging from £2,000-120,000, discerning collectors will not want to miss the opportunity to acquire quality works by the leading designers of the last 120 years. The sale is expected to realize in excess of £1,200,000 over 124 lots.

The Art Deco selection is led by one of A-Gent of Style‘s favourite furniture designers, Marc Du Plantier, whose ormolu-mounted ebonised wood and verre églomisé occasional tables, one with a mermaid motif and the other centred by a centaur, dated 1940-41, make a rare appearance (estimate £30,000-50,000). Antony Redmile’s 1970s camptastic bust, composed of shells, malachite and quartz, is of high-impact and makes a strong visual statement (estimate: £7,000-10,000). Fontana Arte’s mid 20th C rare and large circular chandelier in gilt-metal and silvered brass, with 40 lights issuing from curved candlearms rubs shoulders with Ruhlmann’s elegant dressing table, circa 1930 in mahogany and silvered metal. A-Gent of Style also spotted Lelli’s quirky and playful ceiling light, c.1954, produced by Arredoluce, in painted aluminium and brass, and last but not least, a pair of lounge chair (deceptively comfortable despite their low back. And yes, we tried them) by Leleu, circa 1960, in  silvered metal, brass and upholstery.

The exhibition is on show until 12pm this Wednesday 30 April and the auction will be at 2pm. You can view the full catalogue here.



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The concomitant sale is the single owner collection Lalique: An Important Private Collection which will also take place at Christie’s King Street on 30 April at 1pm. The calibre of this private collection bears testimony to the discerning eye of the collector and is a fitting tribute to the extraordinary vision and creativity of the master glass-maker René Lalique, who continues to enthrall an international audience nearly seven decades after his death. Distinguished from previous collections which have appeared on the market in the last decades, this collection primarily focuses on large-scale vases in rare designs and a wide spectrum of colours. In addition to the jewel-like coloured works, there are a number of exquisite hand-crafted cire perdue vases and a selection of significant display items, such as Oiseau De Feu, which features a mythical firebird and is illuminated from below (estimate: £25,000-35,000). With estimates ranging from £2,500 to £150,000, the 83 lots have a low estimate in the region of £1.5 million. Christie’s has been selling Lalique since 1971 and has offered more Lalique at auction than any other auction house internationally. In 2013, Christie’s Lalique sale in London realised over £1.3 million, the highest total ever achieved.

You can view the full catalogue here.



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A-Gent of Style would like to thank Christie’s and especially Jeremy Morrison,
the 20th C design sale’s specialist, for all their help and support.

– All photographs by A-Gent of Style and Christie’s –





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