Christie’s Presents French Classicism: Selections from the Private Collection of Michael Simon

. May 25, 2011 . 0 Comments

On June 7, Christie’s New York will present French Classicism: Selections from the Private Collection of Michael Simon, a variety of over thirty superb examples of French furniture and decorative arts of the Ancien Régime, all owned by one of the most respected connoisseurs in the field. The pieces selected are characterized by all the hallmarks of Michael Simon’s professional work as an interior designer: a meticulous attention to detail, exquisite craftsmanship and beautifully selected fabrics for the fine array of seat furniture in the group. The collection will be a special feature within the June sale of 500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe.


Louis XVI Grey-Painted Canape By Jean-Baptiste Bernard Demay, Circa 1785. The floral and laurel-carved crestrail above columnar supported arms, covered in yellow silk and satin lampas, stamped twice JBB DEMAY to each side rail, 59½ in. (150.5 cm.) wide. Estimate: $50,000 – 80,000.

Acclaimed for his knowledge of 18th-century French decorative arts, the New York-based designer Michael Simon has created exquisite interiors for clients across the United States and overseas. His superb designs for private residences have been featured in The New York Times, Architectural Digest, House & Garden and numerous other publications both here and abroad. He has also served as a consultant to such important historic restoration projects as the Morris-Jumel Mansion (Manhattan’s oldest residence) and the bedroom suite of Edith Wharton’s The Mount. While Mr. Simon remains extremely fond of the works under consignment, he is editing his collection and will continue to assemble a diverse range of decorative art. The auction represents an exceptional opportunity for collectors to acquire works that have met Mr. Simon’s exacting personal taste.

Highlights of the sale will include:

A late Louis XVI ormolu and rock crystal twelve-light chandelier, circa 1790
Estimate: $100,000 – 200,000

Chandeliers in gilt-bronze, hung with precious rock crystal and cut-glass, were prized objects in the 18th century and were reserved only for the most elite of patrons. It is therefore extremely rare for surviving examples to appear on the market. The Wrightsman Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for instance, one of the finest collections of French Furniture in America, only has one chandelier from the Louis XVI period, which interestingly features similar spiral-twisted arms issuing from a pierced central rim as on this splendid example.

A Louis XV gilt-tôle and wrought-iron mirror, circa 1740
Estimate: $30,000 – 50,000

This charming mirror is also extremely rare, as the vast majority of French mirrors from the 18th century are in gilded wood rather than gilt tôle (or tin), as on this example. Its extremely sinuous, mouvementé outline and organic form embody the whimsical spirit of the rococo style of the 1740’s.

A Louis XVI gray-painted canapé by Jean-Baptiste Bernard Demay, circa 1785
Estimate: $50,000 – 80,000

This superb canapé demonstrates the jewel-like precision of the best carvers of the Louis XVI period, with amazing details in its pierced, garlanded cresting. It almost certainly originally formed part of the same suite as a group of seat furniture by Demay in the Wrightsman Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which includes a sofa of identical form, but with a gilded rather than gray-painted frame. The suite formerly formed part of the collection of the Marquise de Ganay, which was dispersed in the 1920’s.

Category: Antiques

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