The exquisite collection of Hubert De Givenchy

Christie’s announced the full list of 1,229 lots in the much-anticipated Hubert de Givenchy Collectionneur, which will be auctioned live in Paris and online between June 8 and 23.
Hubert de Givenchy’s life and work exemplified a constant and successful quest for an ideal, that of classical beauty, as a passionate aesthete deeply rooted in his country’s culture. The extraordinary variety and richness of works in the Hubert de Givenchy Collectionneur perfectly represents the world-renowned couturier’s deep passion for objects and impeccable taste, ensuring that these auctions will be a must-see event as well as a tribute to the great collector. The collection is expected to cost around 50 million euros in total.
Selected highlights from the auctions as follows:
For Hubert de Givenchy, each object had a life of its own, appreciating its seduction and the memory which originated from it. For him, appreciation and engagement came not only from the beauty of the object, but also from its provenance, and the auctions are filled with such pieces of prestigious provenance.
In the 1950s, the young couturier began his “second career” as an art collector. From the collection of Coco Chanel, who invited him regularly for dinner, comes a superb Regence console (estimate 60,000-100,000 euros), while from the collection of Jose-Maria and Misia Sert comes a rare Italian neoclassical console table, probably the work of Torinese craftsmen active at the court of Savoy (estimate 12,000-18,000 euros).
From the “Palais Murat”, the home of a very important collection visited by the royal families of the 19th century, comes a shaped porphyry potpourri vase , probably acquired by the King of Naples around 1780 (estimate 60,000-100,000 euros). Of Imperial provenance are a pair of monumental girandoles attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire for Tsar Paul I of Russia (estimate 700,000-1,000,000 euros). These sculptural pieces surrounded the access to the garden at his Paris home, the Hotel d’Orrouer. In the same salon, any visitors’ eye was drawn to a set of Regency ormolu-mounted vases attributed to Vulliamy & Son delivered around 1807 to the 1 st Earl of Harewood (estimate 100,000-150,000 euros). Today, the name of Hubert de Givenchy is synonymous with a prestigious provenance, sought-after by the most discerning collectors.
From fashion to decoration, Hubert de Givenchy approached his projects as an architect, as did his mentor Cristobal Balenciaga. Architecture embodies Givenchy’s ideal of balance, harmony and majesty, and is therefore omnipresent in many of the pieces included in the Collection, as it is the case with a superb baroque bronze censer from Augsburg (estimate 30,000-50,000 euros), and a pair of late Louis XV candlesticks attributed to Pierre Gouthiere (estimate 60,000-100,000 euros).
Architecture is also present in paintings, such as Hubert Robert’s The Pool in the Terms (estimate 12,000-15,000 euros) and the Landscape with Obelisk and Colonnade (estimate 250,000-350,000 euros). In Givenchy’s bedroom at Hotel d’Orrouer the neoclassical lines of the monumental desk by Roentgen are perfectly matched by those of a mechanical box by the same artist (estimate 8,000 – 12,000 euros), and a Louis XVI commode by Pierre Garnier (estimate 200 000-400 000 euros).
For Hubert de Givenchy, “every object is the result of an encounter, of love at first sight”. Chairs – which are represented by more than 400 examples -, occupy a very special place in this Collection. Not hesitating to declare himself “madly in love” with a Louis XVI fauteuil, de Givenchy was also seduced by a pair of bergeres stamped by Georges Jacob from the same period (estimate 15,000 – 25,000 euros). Equally, he appreciated the lines of a pair of Regence armchairs, formerly from the collection of Lady Baillie at Leeds Castle (estimate 100,000 – 200,000 euros). Often Hubert de Givenchy reupholstered furniture with modern textiles such as a Louis XVI bergere by Nicolas-Quinibert Foliot with a designed textile by Georges Braque (estimate 6,000-10,000 euros), transcending periods and styles. The sale also includes a number of more modern seat models from the 20th century, including Decour bergeres from the grand salon of the Manoir du Jonchet (estimate 800-1,200 euros).
Hubert de Givenchy also liked to be surrounded by representations of animals . They were omnipresent and gave life and majesty to the interiors he designed. For example, the Gazelle by Jean-Marc Winckler watched over the guests in the dining room of Hotel d’Orrouer (estimate 1,000-1,500 euros).
Hubert de Givenchy had three deer heads added to the facade of the Jonchet in honour of his patron saint, and in 2011 he generously donated the casts that allowed the restoration of the Cour des Cerfs to the Chateau de Versailles. Posthumously, the large stag by Francois Pompon, was donated to the Chateau de Chambord, having originally decorated the grand salon at Manoir Jonchet. In the park of the Manoir du Jonchet, lived a splendid pair of bronze deer , executed in 1964 by Janine Janet, gifted as a present by Cristobal Balenciaga (estimate 80,000-120,000 euros each).
And approaching the house, visitors were greeted by Francois-Xavier Lalanne’s Oiseaux de jardin (estimate 400,000-600,000 euros each), while a 1973 turtle by the same artist slumbered in Hubert de Givenchy’s bedroom (estimate 20,000-30,000 euros). Furthermore, the park held five sculptures by Diego Giacometti (estimate 20,000-30,000 euros each) immortalising Bucky, Lippo, Sandy and Assouan, Hubert de Givenchy’s canine companions. Animals were also to be found at the Hotel d’Orrouer, where a pair of 19th century gilded copper Tibetan deers were placed on the mantel piece of the main salon (estimate 20,000-30,000 euros).
Hubert de Givenchy’s eye was equally drawn to Domenico Piola’s monumental 1695 painting Alexander and the Family of Darius (estimate 80,000-120,000 euros), Max Ernst’s luminous, tiny 1961 Untitled (Soleil) (estimate 50,000-70,000 euros), and the elegant minimalism in Robert Courtright’s 1972 painting Untitled (estimate 10,000- 15,000 euros).
In the Collection, representations of the human figure abound, whether a pair of busts of emperors in the Antique style (estimate 250,000-350,000 euros) or the portrait Grande tete de Katia by Henri Matisse (estimate 7,000-10,000 euros). Keeping with the collector’s concept of architecture and fashion, fabric and clothing were important, as in the portrait of an Indian dignitary, luxuriously dressed in 17th century Persian fashion (estimate 60,000-80,000 euros)
Hubert de Givenchy had always loved imposing furniture and especially large armoires and bookcases. The auction offers two superb armoires, the first dating from the Louis XIV period, made in the Boulle technique, with ebony marquetry, and the second a replica made by Michel Jamet at de Givenchy’s request to form a pair (estimate 50,000-100,000 euros, the pair).
Furthermore, the Collection includes a splendid commode, attributed to Joseph Poitou (estimate 250,000-400,000 euros) as well as an important selection of pieces by Diego Giacometti, a close friend, including a Console oiseau et coupelle from 1976 (estimate 400,000-600,000 euros). Collectors will also be able to acquire an imposing contemporary travertine and granite dining table (estimate 8,000-12,000 euros) which comes from the Manoir du Jonchet.
A true leitmotif of the interiors created by Hubert de Givenchy, the colour green is undoubtedly not foreign to the feeling of serenity and calm evoked by all visitors entering Hotel d’Orrouer or the Manoir du Jonchet. Green is omnipresent in the Collection, and the salon on the second floor of the Hotel d’Orrouer is named in its honour.
A natural sponge, painted in green by Charles Sevigny (estimate 2,000-3,000 euros) is a nod to another great master of the art mixing modern and classical works, Charles Sevigny. He decorated Hubert de Givenchy’s first apartment, in addition to those of the Empress of Iran and Bunny Mellon. (IANSlife)

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