05 February 2016

Boutet de Monvel: infinite refinement




Daughter Sylvie, wife Delfina, and Bernard Boutet de Monvel "the handsomest man in Europe"(according to the American press)

Contents from artist Bernard Boutet de Monvel’s “hotel particulier”, & his studio, in the heart of the Parisian neighbourhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés is being offered for sale by Sothey's in Paris April 5th and 6th. Featured- around 300 lots, mainly paintings and drawings by the artist and his father, the famous 19th century illustrator Maurice Boutet de Monvel (1850-1913)The collection, which also comprises antique furniture, Art Deco pieces and pieces of furniture designed by Boutet de Monvel himself, sheds fascinating light on the intimate world and creative genius of Bernard Boutet de Monvel. (from a Sotheby's press release)

The Boutet de Monvel house
"Oh, that poor wisteria will never grow here" Bernard to his daughter Sylvie. 
After Boutet de Monvel's first New York show he hired fashionable Art Deco architect Louis Sue to add on a new wing to his Paris house, pushing out into the gardens, including a dining room, bedroom, and boudoir.

 Bernard Boutet de Monvel with the Place Vendome in the background, Self Portrait at the Ritz, 1932

A painter, engraver, sculptor, decorator, as well as an illustrator for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, Boutet de Monvel was one of the most celebrated portraitists of his day, as well as a master of Art Deco and American Precisionism. Boutet de Monvel rapidly became one of the favourite portraitists of the Café Society. His models went by the names of Prince Sixte de Bourbon-Parme, William Kissan Vanderbilt, Lady Plunkett, Frick, Whitney and Astor. With his unrivaled aesthetic sense, he was able better than anyone to feature them in a style close to hyper-realism, with a heightened attention for detail and technical perfection. (from Sotheby's)


LITTLE SYLVIE IN THE CRADLE ~1922

Sylvie~ Boutet de Monvel's only child



SYLVIE
1928, age 6

(1922-2015)


THE BOUTET DE MONVEL HALL

In the hall, a marble top table with iron column shape legs-designed by B. Boutet de Monvel. Coarse white linen curtains hang at the doors. The walls are white throughout the house with the exception of the Library where the walls are black. Charles X Restoration furnishings and a barometer from the same period decorate the space.

Elegant black and white marble floors, faux marble columns of green are illuminated by an octagonal glass lantern from Italy. Charles X Era appointments along with B. B. de M.'s hat rests on the bronze Empire bench.


LA SALLE A MANGER


(drawing by B de M for Harper's Bazaar, 1927)


The Boutet de Monvel dining room overlooks the garden. An octagonal table of mirror and glass was executed after a Boutet de Monvel drawing. Around the table and along the walls, black chairs in lacquer, are covered with tapestries representing a variety of vegetables. At left, there is a mirrored vitrine containing Wedgwood displayed on shelves hanging over a glamorous chain mail (camouflaged) radiator. Faux painted marble columns contrast with the white walls and simple canvas curtains in white hang alongside the columns. The chandelier is Venetian.



LE GRAND SALON

Napoléon III inlaid mother of pearl tables & chairs fill the room. Three  armchairs are covered in dusty pink and garnet satin.  Placed around the room are Venetian blackamoors in all attitudes. 



Over the room's black sofa hangs a painting by Bernard's father, Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel, of Bernard and his brother Roger.




DELFINA EDWARDS BELLO BOUTET DE MONVEL

Delfina Edwards Bello, from the great Chilean family, a descendant of the great line of the Edwards, who had emigrated from England in the early 19th century, married Bernard Boutet de Monvel in April 1921.

Delfina wearing a hat by Jeanne Lanvin, 1922.


Bernard painted Delfina wearing Pierre Piguet, 1936. 



LA CHAMBRE DE Mme. BOUTET DE MONVEL


A Charles X sleigh bed in maple with rosewood decorative motifs, ruffled batiste curtains, and blue satin bed coverings set the warm feminine mood of Madame's bedroom, along with rosewood pieces from the same period. Armchairs are covered in floral tapestry and needlework. 



The room houses a very fine collection of blue and pink opaline displayed in mirrored vitrines and collected Bernard, who loved to browse in antique shops. Boutete de Monvel painted an array of feminine objects in the room; a hand mirror, hat, dancing shoes, slippers, fan, scarf, and neck ruff. At the center of the room- a period Charles X Restoration table is surrounded by chairs in petit point swans and shells from the same era. Suspended over the table a gilded Empire lantern of white & blue glass.


LA CHAMBRE DE BERNARD BOUTET DE MONVEL



In the painter's room, white cotton cloth curtains are trimmed in light blue silk tassels with gilded stylized swans adorning the cornices. The entire room is styled in Charles X furniture of maple and rosewood and the chairs are covered in floral tapestries on a white ground. One of the many pieces in Boutet de Monvel's collection of blue opaline rests on a Charles X console.



(another view of Bernard Boutet de Monvel's room)


SYLVIE 
"All my life I'll be hearing my mother saying over and over, Mind the step." -Sylvie, about the treacherous step down into her bedroom.


As an adult Sylvie slept in her mother's room-incorporating her father's bed into the setting. Over the bed is a portrait of the young Sylvie in profile by her father with her dog, Champagne. "I asked for the dog one year for a Christmas present. He would whine for hours, but I was sure he was singing for me."





SYLVIE, 1941, age 19





LA BIBLIOTHEQUE
The  exquisite SECOND EMPIRE library is paneled in black pearl and lacquer. The chairs are upholstered in two shades of blue silk. The decorative motifs are painted by Boutet de Monvel and represent the attributes of the painter, the compass which he loved to use in his paintings, along with the palette, and the rule.




Sylvie, age 19

Few collections illustrate an artist's genius so brilliantly. Sotheby's sale pays tribute to a man whose elegance fascinated his peers, and who was described as "the handsomest man in Europe" by the American press. He turned beauty into a lifestyle, seeking perfection from his servants' uniforms to his young daughter's fringe of hair. He influenced a numerous artists after him, ranging from Andy Warhol to Robert Mapplethorpe. (from the Sotheby's press release)


a film about the sale at Sotheby's here
Sources:
BERNARD BOUTET DE MONVEL BY Stephane-Jacques Addade
PLAISIR DE FRANCE MAY 1951

16 comments:

  1. Wonderful additions Gaye! I've never seen that last portrait - just lovely!

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  2. Stunning paintings and rooms. Some people have it all...

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    1. Donna, it seems so- something is always lost. B de M died in at the height of his career in a plane crash. pgt

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  3. this is what exquisite looks like. SO inspiring!!!

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    1. AD, I so agree. Each element and appointment in keeping with each other-timeless.

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  4. Divine...so chic, he was a Master - so like Maxield Parrish using photography for realism. Muted soft Jewel tone colors...utter Beauty! Thanks for the heads up on the auction!

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    1. The Swan, So chic yes! and still so In Chic. I love his use of 2 shades of the same color on his chairs. pgt

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    1. KLB, Can not wait to see the Sotheby's pieces on their site in the sale. pgt

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  6. Many people would find this family's living at the height of wealth and means, well, the article is so well written, as if the houses we, the readers have lived in with all the wonderful antiques and wares is our story too. Gorgeous portrayal of a home a family lived and loved in while the life on the street coursed on...atk

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    1. Annette, It's so obvious their was great love in the family-and of course a love of beautiful things, but of family too. B de M's mother was a great influence on daughter Sylvie. pgt

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  7. So very elegant and intimate Gaye, an artistic genius!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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    1. Karena, well said. It's testament that his daughter kept it all in situ until last year.

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  8. Fabulous post, Gaye...a genuine treat from first to last.

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