BEHIND THE SALE
A collection of exquisite French antiques goes under the hammer in Paris
In a chateau outside Paris, an American heiress built a magni!cent collection of French furniture, paintings and decorative arts. When the pieces came up for auction last December, bidders "ocked from around the world, as Caroline Wheater discovers…
Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris’s eighth arrondissement is glitzy at the best of times but became a glowing beacon of taste last December, when Sotheby’s mounted a four- day exhibition at its headquarters to showcase the exquisite cha!els of an American family. The title alone was enough to induce swooning among Francophiles: ‘ Une Dynastie Américaine en Europe – Collections Eleanor Post Close & Antal Post de
Bekessy’. The exhibition’s importance was underlined by the appointment of Patrick Hourcade, Artistic Director at the Palace of Versailles, as Scenographer, in charge of layout. At the show’s heart, Patrick chose four giltwood fauteuils à la reine (open armchairs) in golden silk ( pictured right), stamped by Louis Delanois, one of the most renowned French seat-makers of the 18th century, who made chairs for King Louis XV, no less.
During the four days, over 1,500 people "led past the elegant Delanois chairs (sold for €60,000), not to mention a pair of gilt-bronze mounted Blue- John vases, c1820-30 (sold for € 40,000), a Beauvais tapestry (sold for € 100,000), and four life- size terraco! a "gures of the Four Seasons (sold for € 77,500), plus other "ne candelabra, paintings and porcelain. In doing so, they also caught a $eeting glimpse of the collection’s founders, Eleanor Post Close (1909- 2006), and her son, Antal Post de Bekessy (1944- 2015), whose passions for antiques and art were on show.
The subsequent two- day auction, held on 19th and 20th December, drew 1,000 collectors, dealers and institutions from 20 countries, like moths to a $ ame. Slated to
The sublime 18th-century country house, Pavillon d’Artois in Vaux-sur-Seine, belonging to the late Eleanor Post Close.
FROM TOP Eleanor Post Close and her son, Antal, as a young boy; one of four candelabra c1900 that sold for 21,250 for the set; a Sèvres soft-paste porcelain Déjeuner du Roi from 1764 sold for 15,000; a giltbronze tulipwood, amaranth, satiné and holly commode made 8,750.RIGHT The Sotheby’s exhibition set.