Monday, October 12, 2015

Transcending Time


Last week, Christie's Paris held a sale that featured the contents of an apartment overlooking the Seine.  Lots included work by Jean-Michel Frank, Paul Dupré-Lafon, and Marc du Plantier, the kind of furniture that adds excitement to an auction.  But what's more exciting to me than these blue-chip pieces is the apartment that once  housed them.

Recently photographed for AD France, the apartment has a noteworthy history.  Based on my translation of the article (which may not be entirely accurate as my French is a little rusty,) it seems that the apartment, which was built between 1929 and 1931, was originally occupied by couturier Edward Molyneux, who abandoned Paris for London during the Second World War.  In 1948, a painter purchased the apartment and promptly hired Maison Jansen to decorate it.  Much of the finishes you see in these photos- the green lacquered walls, the ebony-stained parquet floors, the mirrored panels, and the boiserie- were the handiwork of Jansen craftsmen.  Now, before you read on, study the photo above, specifically, those lacquered walls.  To think that they were lacquered almost seventy years ago, and yet, they look as if they were done just yesterday.  In fact, the article mentions that the homeowner's heirs, who inherited the apartment in 1988, were surprised to find that the lacquered walls showed no cracks.  Impressive, indeed.

Unfortunately, I can't tell you which pieces of furniture were original to the 1948 Jansen installation.  This information was likely mentioned in the article, but I simply didn't understand it.  However, I did glean that at least some of the furniture and rugs were purchased in recent times by the painter's heirs, who made the decision to sell their collection at last week's auction.  These details, or lack of them, are really beside the point.  The compelling story here is how tasteful and well-crafted décor can withstand the whims of time.      










All photos from AD France, Paul Lepreux photographer.

20 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing! I went onto the sale site. So many beautiful pieces. The prices they commanded are quite amazing as well. Such a beautiful apartment! Those walls!!! SWOOONNNN!

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  2. This is absolutely beautiful! I am absolutely in love with dark walls right now, and it is always so refreshing to see design and decoration that feels so timeless. Thanks for summarizing the French-- mine is so bad I wouldn't have gotten that far!

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    1. Lydia, I'm afraid that my French isn't much better, so I hope that I am correct in my translation. I'm with you regarding dark walls!

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  3. Jennifer the lacquered walls are stunning and that amazing rug, let alone the furnishings!
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us!!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    Artist Lee Bowers

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    1. Karena, Glad you enjoyed it!

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  4. lacquered walls + the best & furniture wow xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  5. Love the room in the last photograph.

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    1. And the bedroom furniture...how I would love to wake up to that!

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  6. I love., love, love it all! Timeless decorating at its best!

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  7. Jennifer,
    Not sure, but that wall finish may be "marmarino" a kind of marble dust blended with pigment and then waxed- which gives a jewel look. It's very labor intensive and costly similar to the Venetian Plaster we love down here in sunny Florida.
    Dean

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    1. Dean, Thanks to you, I learned about a technique unfamiliar to me. Thank you! :)

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    2. Fascinating & new to me too... Love it!
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marmorino

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    3. Lisa, Thanks for the link!

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  8. That emerald green lacquered room---here I am, swooning along with everyone else.
    The brilliantly coloured carpet looked awfully familiar. Your link to the auction site revealed that it was known to exist in only three or four examples, one of which, of larger size, was part of the collection Yves St Laurent-Pierre Bergé. Well, of course!

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    1. Toby, I'm mad for this carpet. Then again, I'm mad for so many carpets from the 1920s and 30s. Such style!

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  9. Clearly I was snatched from the '20's and forced back to this life against my will! Those immaculate lacquer walls, the saturated color, the Jean-Michel Frank furniture, the art ... Paul Dupré-Lafon's Egyptian-revival chair, awaiting my return! Thank you for sharing this extraordinary example of Jazz Age magnificence!
    Cristopher Worthland

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  10. Ah! I intended to attribute the Egyptian-revival chair to Marc du Plantier, not Dupré-Lafon. Apologies!

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