Impressionist & Modern Art

A Connoisseur’s Eye: The Elizabeth A. Keck Collection

By Sotheby's

W ith a collection spanning the best of the Ancien Régime featuring 18th Century French furniture and objets d’art, many with outstanding provenance, to Chinese Export porcelain and a Gobelins tapestry, delving into Impressionist & Modern Art, embracing American Art and celebrating Contemporary Art, Elizabeth Avery Keck’s passion for the best has been a Leitmotif of her connoisseurship over the decades, as evident in her Bel Air residence La Lanterne and Holmby Hills Villa Cornelia. “Libby” – as she was known – studied at the Julliard School, which charged her initial pursuit of arts and music, as did extensive international travel, fueling an appreciation for classical architecture and interiors from an early age on. Her tireless dedication to the study of French furniture and decorative arts led her to become a highly regarded connoisseur, widely respected amongst renowned scholars of 18th Century French decorative arts, including Theodore Dell, who consulted for experts in the field including former Getty Museum curator of decorative arts, Gillian Wilson.



Libby relentlessly honed her eye, mastering a vibrant vision for her California residences while working closely with tastemakers and interior decorators such as Jacques Grange. Her resolute commitment to detail was apparent in every aspect of her home – whether consciously choosing to brighten the classical color palettes of formal maison particuliers with explosive colors in bold works by Helen Frankenthaler and Serge Poliakoff – or deliberately deploying the California sunlight into her homes, beautifully dappled light as captured in the Mary Cassatt featured above the fireplace. Beyond a discerning vision and verve for her chosen interiors, Libby’s creative reach also included exquisite landscape designs, partnering with noted Los Angeles landscape architect Joseph Copp. And, perhaps the ultimate tribute to her passion for bursts of color is exemplified in Libby’s collection of superb jewels. Rubies, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds, she presented a testimony to her love of color by simply wearing it.


“It seems to me that love and the passion of genius never die, they remain forever in an object,” Libby once commented. It is this throbbing pulse and strength that persistently attracted Libby to each work of art she acquired and formed a lifestyle collection in which so many collecting categories created a warm splendor, filling rooms not only visually, but also with original musical compositions she wrote for voice and played on her grand piano – and, as Libby so aptly once noted about her passionate pursuit of beauty: “My eye, my heart, my love told me I must have it!” 

"Libby Keck was passionate about 18th Century France, and like the erudite Americans of her era, she studied the subject to the fullest extent. In her Bel Air home, for instance, she chose as her inspiration La Lanterne, Louis de Noailles’ legendary hunting lodge in Versailles.

Libby chose me to direct the transformation of her home, and we tackled every challenge together. I took care of searching for the right fabrics and boiserie panels and dealt with details like verifying the dimensions of each window. She wanted to be absolutely certain that this new residence reflected French culture in the most authentic manner possible. We spent two years collaborating harmoniously to achieve her goals.

She was one of the first great clients with whom I had the honor or working, and Libby placed her trust in me as I was just beginning my career. I was just a young decorator at the time, but after my collaborations with her, I was able to work with the great collectors and dealers in the 18th Century realm, such as Didier Aaron. Libby gave me the wings I needed to start my career and was one of the great muses to enter my life." -Jacques Grange, October 2017

Jacques Grange is a distinguished French interior designer renowned for his refined and eclectic taste. For decades, he has been one of the most sought-after interior designers in the world, with clients such as Paloma Picasso, Sofia Coppola, Princess Caroline of Hanover, Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent. Not only is he an internationally-acclaimed interior designer, but he is also a passionate and cosmopolitan art collector. In November, Sotheby’s Paris will offer his refined and eclectic collection, including works by Hockney, Giacometti, Warhol, and Picasso.

Sale Calendar

American Art
13 November, 2017

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale
15 November, 2017

Contemporary Art Day Auction
17 November 2017

Magnificent Jewels
5 December 2017

Fine Jewels
7 December, 2017

Old Masters Week
31 January - 2 February 2018

Impressionist & Modern Art Online Sale
Spring 2018

Collections: European Decorative Arts
Spring 2018

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