The Desmarais Collection under the hammer at Christie's Classic Week
April 5, 2019: Paul Desmarais Sr. (1927-2013) was the former CEO of Power Corporation of Canada, and Jacqueline Desmarais (1928-2018) was a philanthropist who was recognized as one of the most important patrons of Quebec's arts scene. Taking note of this influential couple’s prolific furniture and home décor collection, Christie's is presenting The Desmarais Collection: A pied-a-terre in New York, which encompasses a remarkable selection of furniture, paintings and porcelain that will be offered in a dedicated sale on April 30 in New York, during the Classic Week series of sales.
The collection is from the New York pied-a-terre of the distinguished Canadian couple, which was decorated by the acclaimed interior designer Juan Pablo Molyneux. Comprised of more than 150 lots, the collection features a sumptuous and sophisticated group of French 18th and 19th century furniture by many of the best makers such as Riesener and Weisweiler, Sèvres porcelain, silver and paintings including works by the artists Francois Boucher and Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun. The also features a selection of deluxe upholstered custom furniture and accessories specially ordered by J.P. Molyneux Studio, with luxurious fabrics by makers such as Prelle and Antico Setificio.
Juan Pablo Molyneux, said: "It was a great pleasure working with Monsieur and Madame Desmarais on their New York home. Jacqueline Desmarais reflected a very strong personality in her taste, and had a very sophisticated approach when selecting styles, colors and objets d'art. We worked side-by-side to produce the correct environment for this exceptional collection of 18th and 19th century period furnishings."
Among the collection highlights the Riesener commode is a spectacular work: a Louis XVI masterpiece in ormolu and lush naturalistic marquetry that Jean-Henri Riesener made for the hôtel du Garde-Meuble (the administration in charge of furnishing royal residences) in 1774, the year he was appointed cabinetmaker for the King. It is estimated at from $700,000 to $1,000,000.
Other highlights include an elegant early 19th century vase from Russia's imperial stone-cutting workshops ($100,000-200,000) and one of the most complete 18th century Sèvres porcelain services still in private hands, decorated with images from the Comte de Buffon's Natural History of Birds ($120,000-180,000). Eighteenth-century paintings include a beautiful Portrait of a Young Girl by Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun ($50,000-70,000), and Vénus et les amours ($150,000-200,000) by François Boucher, First Painter to the King under Louis XV.