Wednesday, September 23, 2015

From painting to interior...and a collection

photo: Le style et la matière
Degas Deux hommes en pied 1867
Musée des beaux-arts Troyes
I saw this painting recently in Troyes. It is it's unfinished state that catches the eye.  The fantomatic figure is thought to be a young Count of  Lastours at age 18. Well, so, everything cannot be completed and the abandoned work-in-progress has its own appeal, a little mal-léché has its place in a world too pristine.

source: Christie's
watercolor by Serebriakoff 1946
The description of the Degas painting led me chez Christian Bérnard and Alexander Kochno at 36 rue Casimir Delavigne. While not quite pristine, it is a more peaceful space than I imagine in the dayly life the exhuberant artist couple. Everything fits - even if there are stocks of art works and books that have climbed aboard the very top of the bookcase -there is order in this detailed image. Work your way into  the corner of this St Germain des Près apartment
to find the unfinished painting on the easel.
Le détail qui tue.

source Le chat Masqué

(Whether the air of calm comes from Serebriakoff's style or the inhabitants' is another story. I'd always heard that Bébé Bérard, master of elegant illustration and wizard of enchanting decors, was rather unkempt!)

And, as one thing will lead to another, it so happens that this particular interior by Serebriakoff will go to auction as part of the ample and amazing Jean-Louis Remilleux collection of art and antiques at Christie's Paris at the end of the month. The television producer-historian-collector is quoted by AD as saying and some of us can't but agree, "antiques are not dead things. They have a lot to teach us about how we once lived and thought." 

Life is about choices though and Remilleux is now ready to let circulate some 1000 art objects and furnishings collected over a period of 30 years in order to go to the essential - the care of his 
château Digoine in Burgundy. 

"For more than 30 years, Jean-Louis Remilleux, both an art lover and passionate historian, selected the most beautiful pieces in France and Europe with great care. From Old Master paintings, drawings and sculpture to furniture, ceramics, bronzes and fine silver, more than 1,000 lots will be offered in a remarkable auction on 28 and 29 September. These lots boast the most prestigious European provenances, with pieces from the collections of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Charles de Besteigui to name a few.

This impressive collection was built around several themes, such as important historical figures, from Louis XIV to Napoléon, and the greatest art patrons, notably Charles de Beistegui and Madeleine Castaing. Last, but not least, the outstanding collection of equestrian paintings put together with passion includes pieces by Carle Vernet, Dreux, Delacroix and Herring."

for more see Christie's


  1. What an absolutely formidable collection of furniture and decorative arts that is about to be fragmented through the upcoming sale. I think I'd be devastated to let it all go, but of course understand entirely the thinking behind it.

    I adore the little watercolor by Serebriakoff and find I could sit within the interior and be perfectly happy surrounded by the books and objects that make it all so cozy. And, how nice that the Degas sits in the corner. I spent a night in Troyes many years ago on my way to Dijon and Lyon but did not have time to visit the Musée des beaux-arts. Next time I am fortunate enough to find my way there, I shall make a point of visiting thank to this terrific post. I adore the way you tied the story together into a circle.

    1. Dear Lady Domus. Thank you for your comment. I was surprised about the size of the sale and frankly, what will he put in his château once it is restored?! He doesn't seem to worry and I suppose he knows how to let go of things; he owned the chateau of Groussay (Beistigui) before this. Easy come, easy go.
      It's nice to think of you working your way across France and stopping in lesser known places.It's a wonder what can be found scattered around out there!

  2. A wonderful post….and a breathtaking collection!



  3. If they were anything like me (not that there would be much else in common!) I suppose les Messieurs tidied up a bit before the lovely painting was made. So cool to see the mysterious Degas in the background. Lovely to see you back and yes, well guessed - and diabolo menthe - since I'm in France too rarely I have to have my kiddy drink despite my advancing age! Bises!

  4. It's good to be a little régressive! And I 'export' sirop d'anis for a couple of American friends who don't want the alcohol of Pastis. You can try that next time --- if you haven't already!