Going, going, gone
Bargain hunters, auction lovers, collectors, connoisseurs and fans of classic fashion, we don’t mean to alarm you, but Christie’s is currently hosting an auction of Hubert De Givenchy’s sprawling interior and fine arts archive.
Taking place in a series of events from June 8th-23rd, this once-in-a-lifetime sale has seen the famed auctioneer pull out all the stops to shift such impeccably-curated gear from the designer’s last two residences: the Hôtel d’Orrouer in Paris and the Manoir du Jonchet in the Loire valley, and yes, they are every bit as elaborate as they sound. Of course, there’s the hosting of live auctions, a needs-must when you’re in possession of multi-million dollar artworks, but there’s also a curated, illustrated sale guide, featuring essays and overviews of the available works, and a walk-through exhibition – complete with recreational gardens – to display the designer’s most iconic home furnishings as they once were. Beloved by an icon.
Kurt Schwitters, Für Tilly, (1923)
From cabinet trinkets to multimillion-dollar paintings – the auction house recently sold Albert Giacometti’s Femme Qui Marche (1936) on behalf of Givenchy for $28,419,297, setting the record for the most expensive work sold at auction in France this year – the ride has been crazy, but also beautiful and terribly illuminating. “It has been immensely inspiring to see Hubert’s taste and all that he created with Philippe Venet so admired and appreciated by clients across the world,” says Charles Cator, Deputy Chairman of Christie’s International. “All these objects will take with them a part of his spirit as they find their way to new collections and new collectors.”
Though his couture fashions commanded a fierce and regal air of refined glamour at all times, at home, Givenchy’s tastes lay in the baroque. The designer accumulated countless artefacts from the 17th and 18th centuries, marrying a gold-accented Louis XV bureau and mahogany Louis XVI cylinder desk with modern artworks such as Kurt Schwitters’ colourful De Stijl masterpiece, For Tilly (1923), or the lonely charm of Joan Miró’s The Passage Of The Migratory Bird (1968), in his provincial hangouts.
Besides a range of art spanning several centuries, the auction also boasts a staggering selection of single-seat chairs (440 to be precise), as well as lavish curtains, lampshades, porcelain animals, telescopic pedestals, vintage crockery, tapestries, almanacks, and the centrepiece of any cosy home: a pair of gold damasked steel calligrapher scissors from 19th century Turkey. Givenchy was just like us, and though this kinship is slightly marred by the lack of IKEA utensils found in his cutlery drawers, the power of this lot lies in the extraordinary every day, highlighting a life lived to the most exuberant of conclusions, surrounded by surreal and beautiful things.
Lots from Hubert de Givenchy – Collectionneur: Hôtel d’Orrouer et Manoir du Jonchet are available to view here, with the Christie’s Paris exhibition ending this week