T he Hôtel Lambert, located in the very heart of Paris on Ile Saint-Louis – the magical island known as the pearl of Paris – is renowned as one of the most beautiful private residences in the city. The house was built and decorated in the early 1640s by the giants of arts and architecture who were the masterminds behind Versailles, Louis Le Vau, Charles Le Brun, and Eustache Le Sueur. It was listed as a historical monument in 1862 and has long been regarded as a jewel in Paris’ crown. Once home to Voltaire and the Rothschilds, host to Chopin and Delacroix, Princess Grace of Monaco and Elizabeth Taylor, its rich history dates back centuries.
Visit the Immersive Exhibition
Sotheby's is thrilled to welcome you in its galleries for a series of unique immersive exhibitions. Discover the exquisite interiors of the Hôtel Lambert from July to October.
London | 18 July–24 August
34-35 New Bond Street
London W1A 2AA
New York | 15–28 August
1334 York Avenue
New York, New York 10021
Paris | 3–10 September
76 Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré
Hong Kong | 2–8 October
Hall 1, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
A First Look at the Treasures Housed in One of Paris’ Most Historic Buildings
More recently, following a landmark restoration, its intricately decorated walls and gilded ceilings have housed one of the finest private collections of decorative arts ever assembled. Acquired to furnish the Hôtel Lambert, works were chosen with a particular emphasis on provenance, craftsmanship, academic significance and relevance to the heritage of the house. The selection to be offered at Sotheby’s spans a multitude of categories with exquisite examples of French furniture, including fine examples by André-Charles Boulle, and objects of vertu, including rock-crystal works of art, limoges enamels, precious silver-gilt, antique jewels and Kunstkammer objects.
Some 1,300 lots will be offered in a series of auctions at Sotheby’s, starting in Paris this autumn. Prior to the sales, the public in Paris, London, Hong Kong and New York will be able to experience the magnificence of the interiors of the Hôtel Lambert for the first time, in a series of specially-created immersive digital spaces in Sotheby’s galleries.
The collection boasts objects with illustrious history from the 17th to the 20th centuries; from princes and kings and their consorts, including Madame de Pompadour, Madame du Barry and Queen Marie-Antoinette, to aristocrats and celebrated collectors of the 18th and 19th-century, through to aesthetes of the modern day, such as Hubert de Givenchy, Karl Lagerfeld, Baron de Redé, Count Stroganoff, Richard Wallace, Maria Sert and Antenor Patiño.
The Hôtel Lambert was built in the early 1640s and designed by one of King Louis XIV's favourite architects, Louis Le Vau, for the financier Jean-Baptiste Lambert. Testament to its grandeur, the house featured a gallery by Charles Le Brun, painter of the ceilings of the vaunted Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.
This marked the beginning of a long history of distinguished ownership and impeccable taste. In the 1740s, the Marquise du Châtelet and Voltaire, her lover, used the Hôtel Lambert as their Paris residence, hosting there and launching a famed political salon. Later, the hôtel particulier was bought by the Polish Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski, which drew in some of the most notable names in Polish culture, not least the writers George Sand and Honoré de Balzac, and the artist Eugène Delacroix. Chopin was often a guest, and indeed once wrote a letter saying that it was the place he most preferred to play; his famous “La Polonaise” was composed exclusively for the Polish ball held annually at the Hôtel Lambert. In 1975, Guy and Marie-Hélène Rothschild took residence at the mansion, continuing the tradition of hosting international high society and luminaries from the worlds of art and business.
The Hôtel Lambert was acquired in 2007 and underwent a complete and sympathetic restoration supervised by His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdullah Al Thani and his immediate family, returning this historic building to its former glory. Alongside the restoration, the Hôtel Lambert was furnished with exceptional furniture, objects and decorative arts, complementing the building’s historical stature and importance. The creation of the interiors was realised through a collaboration with world-renowned interior designer Alberto Pinto, who in many rooms followed in the sumptuous style originally envisaged and conceived by Renzo Mongiardino, hailed by many as the greatest designer of the twentieth century.
The splendour of the restored spaces and the works of art that adorned them have rarely been seen outside of private circles. Now, as ownership of the Hôtel Lambert transfers once more, they are set to be revealed.
Proceeds from the sale will support The Al Thani Collection Foundation, a non-profit organisation whose core mission is to advance and promote art and culture. This objective is principally delivered through public art initiatives including sponsorships, museum projects, the staging of exhibitions, an international loans programme and academic publications – honouring artistic achievement across a rich diversity of cultures.