British auction and private sale house Christie’s is all set to bring under the hammer the Desmarais Collection: A pied-à-terre in New York on April 30. Belonging to the late Canadian couple Paul and Jacqueline Desmarais, the pied-à-terre had been decorated by internationally acclaimed interior designer Juan Pablo Molyneux.
The opulent collection comprises more than 150 lots and includes a set of 18th and 19th-century French furniture, paintings, portraits, and exclusively decorated porcelain.
The Desmarais Collection going under the hammer on April 30 includes some spectacular work. Among the highlights are a Riesener commode, a Louis XVI masterpiece in ormolu and lush naturalistic marquetry made by Jean-Henri Riesener for the hôtel du Garde-Meuble (the administration in charge of furnishing royal residences) in 1774; an early 19th century vase from Russia’s imperial stone-cutting workshops; and 18th century paintings including a portrait of a young girl by Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, and Vénus et les amours by François Boucher, First Painter to the King under Louis XV.
Paul Desmarais was ranked by Forbes as the fourth wealthiest person in Canada and 235th in the world in 2013.
Former CEO of Power Corporation of Canada, Paul Desmarais Sr. (1927-2013 and philanthropist Jacqueline (1928-2018) were recognized as one of the most important patrons of Quebec’s arts scene. At the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Jacqueline sat on the board of directors. She was named an officer of the Order of Canada in honor of her philanthropic contributions.
Commenting on the auction, Will Strafford, Senior International Specialist of European Furniture and Decorative Arts, said: “Christie’s is proud to offer this superb collection of French furniture, paintings, and Sèvres porcelain on behalf of the Desmarais family, one of Canada’s leading families, noted as much for their acumen in the business world as for their generous philanthropy. The The Desmarais Collection furnished their New York pied-à-terre in the Pierre hotel, and was the result of their long and fruitful collaboration with the noted interior designer Juan Pablo Molyneux.”
Recalling the association, Juan Pablo Molyneux commented: “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.”
The selection also uncovers deluxe upholstered custom furniture and accessories specially ordered by JP Molyneux Studio, with luxurious fabrics by makers such as Prelle and Antico Setificio.
Every year, Christie’s conducts around 350 auctions in over 80 categories while covering all areas of decorative and fine arts, with prices ranging from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s also offers online sales and has a worldwide presence in 46 countries.