Spanning Old Master paintings, masterpieces of ébénisterie and menuiserie from the most talented craftsmen, rare books and great masters of contemporary art and design, the exceptional collection of Hubert Guerrand-Hermès will be presented at auction from December 13th-19th.
Hubert Guerrand-Hermès (1940-2016) was passionate about art in all its forms. A member of the famous luxury goods family, a keen sportsman and a familiar sight in the auction houses and antiquaries of Paris, his collecting activity ranged across a multitude of interests. Over the course of his life, he amassed a unique collection which he displayed in his magnificent Parisian residence, the Hôtel de Lannion. In the opulent rooms of the grand townhouse facing the Musée d’Orsay, and decorated by interior designer François-Joseph Graf, he surrounded himself with rare books and masterpieces by some of history’s greatest cabinetmakers, Old Masters and contemporary artists.
The evening auction pays tribute to his taste for the interplay between different time periods: works by Pierre Soulages, Lucio Fontana, Anselm Kiefer, and Yves Klein are presented alongside a pair of monkeys sculpted by François-Xavier Lalanne and a Louis XV chest-of-drawers by Cressent. His passion for history and hunting is reflected in the scenes in paintings by Alexandre-François Desportes, Hubert Robert, Alfred de Dreux, and Honoré Fragonard. The collection also showcases abstraction and sculpture, as shown in the basement of Hôtel de Lannion, where a majestic painting by Pierre Soulages hangs beside an Homme debout (Standing Man) bronze by Germaine Richier.
The former Parisian home of the Hubert Guerrand-Hermès collection, Hôtel de Lannion is a testimonial to the architecture and opulence of the Ancien Régime. Built in 1754 by Jean Damun, architect to the Prince of Conti, the mansion is laid out according to the traditional Parisian townhouse floor plan “between courtyard and garden”. Like a tribute to the true purpose of Hôtel de Lannion – which is to showcase the great decorative arts – Hubert Guerrand-Hermès called upon the decorator François-Joseph Graff when he took possession of the space. The designer had to incorporate a large collection including 18th-century decorative arts, post-war painting, and contemporary sculpture and design, with a certain taste for hunting.
Hubert Guerrand-Hermès was passionate about Marie-Caroline de Bourbon-Sicile, Duchess de Berry, an icon of the 19th century. A free and unconventional woman, from her early years in Paris the Duchess de Berry played an active role in cultural life and aroused the curiosity of the artists who gravitated around the court of Charles X. Through her many purchases at the Salons, she encouraged many of the painters of her time and built up a first-rate library. The bindings she commissioned made her library one of the most admired of the period, and were all masterpieces from the golden age of French bookbinding. An artist herself, cultured, free and passionate, the Duchess of Berry inspired many painters and designers. Like men of letters such as Chateaubriand, Dumas and Lamartine, many painters wanted to put her at the center of one of their works. Over the years, Hubert Guerrand-Hermès has collected works that once belonged to the Duchess, as well as porcelain and books, trying to recreate the Duchess’s fantastic library in his hotel in Lannion.
The final sale includes works of art dating from the 16th to the 20th century. Hubert Guerrand-Hermès was a collector and patron of the arts, with a taste for both major and emerging artists. He liked to mix materials: sculpture, painting, drawing, silverware and miniatures.
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