AN EXCEPTIONAL COLLECTION – Mise en scène by Emilio Terry, Christie’s Paris, 9, avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris, 15th September 2016
I feel quite sure that many of the visitors to this year’s Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris will take the time to pop-in to Christie’s to at least view, if not bid, on some of the lots in this remarkable sale.
It is of a collection assembled by three generations of collectors which was brilliantly and harmoniously brought together, in an hotel particulier, by the renowned architect and decorator Emilio Terry (1890-1969). This was one of his last projects and as many of you will know he also worked on the Hotel de Chanaleilles and the Chateau de Groussay and other projects.
As these pictures reveal it is a marvellous combination of museum-quality period pieces and later examples, unified by Terry’s skilful handling of them in a neo-classical style setting of his own making which he referred to as ‘Louis XVII’. As Christie’s France’s, Head of the Furniture and Works of Art department, Simon de Monicault commented: “Collections that were laid out by Emilio Terry, major decorator of the 20th century, rarely come to the market. This beautiful hotel particulier has remained intact since Terry’s work in the 1960’s, and grandly brings together 17th and 18th century masterpieces and the neoclassic décor, so characteristic of his work. Pieces have continually been selected by the collectors to fit Terry’s setting, as shown by the works of Christian Bérard and Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, acquired directly from the artists”
Visitors immediately became aware of Terry’s sensitive skill when they entered the hall and were greeted by Carpeaux’s Le Génie de la Danse seen against the background Terry created for it. Bought from the sculptor’s daughter in 1927 it is expected to reach between €600,000-1,000,000. Only one other version is known of this figure which was designed for the façade of Garnier’s Paris Opera.
In the salon is an elegantly simple Louis XVI bureau plat by Philippe-Claude Montigny (€400,000-€600,000), drawings by Christian Bérard (1909-1942) and a set of eight cabriolet armchairs by Georges Jacob (€200,000-300,000) which were formerly in the Paris home of Sir Richard Wallace (of Wallace Collection fame). In the dining room are a pair of Qing Dynasty large china vases and covers and a Louis XIV armoire while in the ‘salons des laques’ is a Louis XV black and gilt Chinese lacquer commode stamped by Jean-Baptiste Fromageau (€100,000-200,000), and an extremely rare pair of 18th century Sèvres porcelain and ormolu-mounted vases-cloches, known as “Vases Dulac”. Their covers can be turned upside down to reveal three-arm candelabras.
Among the many pictures are a pastel by Vigée Lebrun, an oil by Jean-Louis Demarne, landscapes by Stanislas Lépine and portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence and Raeburn.
While it is marvellous that a new generation will have the chance to acquire such treasures there is also perhaps a tinge of regret that these seductive rooms will no longer be extant but who knows what good future homes await them.
Sale: Thursday 15 September 2016 at 2:30pm.
Public viewing: Thursday 8, Friday 9, Saturday 10 (10am.-6pm.), Sunday 11 (2pm.-6pm.), Monday 12, Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14 (10am – 6pm.) and Thursday 15 September (10 am.-12pm.)