Art & Antiques Auctions

Artcurial will auction an important Private Collection of Art Deco Furniture, Modern & Contemporary Art, 19th-Century Sculpture and Rare & Illustrated Books

Written by Aksel Ritenis
Over two days (22 – 23 February), Artcurial will auction an important Private Collection of Art Deco Furniture, Modern & Contemporary Art, 19th-Century Sculpture and Rare & Illustrated Books belonging to the renowned French lawyer, collector and writer Pierre Hebey. The title of the auction
“Le Regard du Pierre Hebey”  refers to the ‘expert eye’ of the legendary collector who dedicated his life to collecting beautiful things and, together with his wife Geneviève formed one of most important collector couples of 20th-century artwork.
The sales are expected to fetch a total of €6 – 8M.
Among the 60 works on offer, undoubtedly the most exciting lot is a painting by Marc Chagall entitled L’ecuyère (estimate € 600 000 – 800 000). Executed in 1976 during his ‘flowering years’, the painting opens the door to a dream-like world and includes several symbols that are common in Chagall’s paintings, such as the night – ‘the birthplace of his imagination’, a rooster, which is symbolic in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and finally the violinist, a recurring figure in Chagall’s art.
Other highlights of the Modern & Contemporary Art sale will include Roberto Matta‘s Morphologie psychologique de l’angoisse (1938), one of the Chilean artist’s first attempts at Surrealism, bronze sculptures by Salvador Dali and Henry Moore, and a number of works by Hebey’s good friend Pierre Alechinsky.
 
Pierre and Geneviève Hebey assembled one of the largest and most impressive collections worldwide of Art Deco furniture, alongside those of Hélène Rochas, Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint-Laurent. Comprising around 150 works, the sale will include many important artworks and represent the leading figures of the movement, including glassware by René Lalique, ceramics by André Metthey, lamps by Edgar Brandt and Jean Perzel, as well as furniture by Eugène PrintzJean Dunand and, most importantly, Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, of whom Hebey was the undisputed expert.
19th-Century Sculpture
Pierre Hebey was fascinated in bronze and its use in the 19th century, at a time when artists shifted from using artisanal methods to more industrial techniques, producing series en masse
Hebey was passionate about gathering works together, constituting series and finding the missing piece.
The collection contains around 200 bronze sculptures, ranging from small statues to large models and features important works by Antoine-Louis Barye, Carpeaux, Clésinger, Pradier, Fratin, Rodin, Dalou and Frémiet. This unique collection is in a realm of its own and is sure to excite bronze enthusiasts.
Between 1995 and 2000, Pierre Hebey dedicated himself to writing. He was passionate about literature and published around 15 works (novels, essays and collections of short stories, mainly through Gallimard).

He also built up a significant collection of 130 artistic and humanist books works published between the end of the 18th century and the end of the 20th century including:

  • Literary Classics by Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Guillaume Apollinaire and Paul Eluardi
  • Surrealist Masterpieces illustrated by Jean Arp, Joan Miró, Man Ray and Hans Bellmer
  • Original Print Editions by Louis Aragon, André Breton, Gustave Flaubert and Arthur Rimbau
  • Decorative Bindings by Rose Adler, Paul Bonet, Pierre-Lucien Martin and Marius Michel
About Pierre Hebey
Pierre Hebey was born in Algeria in 1926. After studying law in France he became a lawyer recognised by the Paris bar in 1946. In 1973 he married Geneviève and together they formed one of the most important French collector couples of 20th century artwork. Specialising in intellectual property law, Hebey’s clients included famous French actors and artists such as Max Ernst, Jean Tinguely, Niki de Saint Phalle and Bram Van Velde. He forged sound friendships with his clients and would often buy artworks from them. Consequently, the collection reflects not only his artistic tastes, but also his personal relationships with artists and designers.

About the author

Aksel Ritenis

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