“The Hôtel Lambert has once again made history with record breaking sales – now standing as the most valuable auction of French Decorative Arts worldwide, and the biggest House – or hôtel particulier! – Sale staged at Sotheby’s. The fantastic results are testament to His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani, who, together with his immediate family, assembled with great taste and erudition one of the most spectacular collections our international team have had the pleasure of working with.”
F ollowing a week of auctions, the final hammer has come down on the extraordinary collection offered from Paris’ most beautiful private residence. Over the course of six volumes and over 1,000 lots, the sales together brought €76,560,562 (est. €38,789,300-63,522,400) – marking a world record for a sale of French Decorative Arts, and for a ‘House Sale’ staged at Sotheby’s.
International collectors and French institutions came forth in large numbers to compete for pieces from a unique collection that combined the most precious examples of the decorative arts paired with an innate sense of harmony and beauty. In recognition of the museum-quality standard of the offering, which was assembled together with an exhaustive knowledge of history of art, many of the works were acquired by institutions, including French museums that exercised the French Right of ‘Preemption’ in the sale room. These included the Château de Versailles, the Mobilier National and the Manufacture de Sèvres, alongside The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Proceeds to Support The Al Thani Collection Foundation, A Non-profit Organisation Advancing and Promoting Art and Culture
T he Hôtel Lambert, built in the early 1640s and located on the secluded Île Saint-Louis in the heart of Paris, is the most staggeringly beautiful private residence in the city.
This palatial private house was decorated by the artistic visionaries behind the Palace of Versailles, architect Louis Le Vau, and painters Charles Le Brun and Eustache Le Sueur. Since then, it has been home to various illustrious families from Polish Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski and his descendants, to the Baron de Rede’ who hosted his legendary Bal Oriental in 1969 and the Rothschilds. Luminaries, artists, writers and composers, such as Voltaire, Delacroix, Chopin and Balzac, gathered in its sumptuous salons, all of whom have added to the Hôtel Lambert’s rich cultural history. In the 20th century, its salons hosted the most exclusive members of the international jet-set.
Following a painstaking and sympathetic restoration by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani and his family, the Hôtel Lambert was returned to its former glory, and furnished with a trove of treasures. Since then the building’s gilded walls and frescoed ceilings have framed one of the greatest private collections of decorative arts ever assembled and surely the biggest ever to come to auction in the last fifty years. Acquired specifically for the Hôtel Lambert, these works were curated to emphasise provenance, craftsmanship, academic significance, and relevance to the rich heritage of the house. The interiors were designed by worldwide renowned interior designer Alberto Pinto.
The selection to be offered at Sotheby’s includes several extremely important and coherent collections within the complete ensemble. At the core of the offering is French furniture, with important examples by André-Charles Boulle, Bernard van Risenburgh, Hertaut and Adam Weisweiler but also the English Thomas Chippendale. Within the biggest collection of Louis XV and Louis XVI gilt-bronze mounted porcelain vases ever offered since the 18th century, these sublime examples rival each other in sheer splendour. And the spirit of the Kunstkammer, those historical cabinets of wonder and intrigue, enriches the collection with unparalleled examples of rock crystal works of art, hardstones, nautilus, silverware and vermeil. Meanwhile, dedicated rooms of treasures showcase an extremely rare group of Limoges enamels and Italian maiolica, as well as a sumptuous display of antique jewels and objects de vertu. A sumptuous collection of French and English silver epitomises the refinement of the art of dining. Old masters paintings, tapestries and luxurious carpets add to these splendid interiors.
This awe-inspiring ensemble contains a wealth of objects, each alive with its own illustrious history, spanning from the 17th to 20th centuries. More than sixty illustrious provenances are recorded.
From kings, princes and their consorts (including Madame de Pompadour, Madame du Barry and Queen Marie-Antoinette) to 18th and 19th century aristocrats and celebrated collectors such as Count Stoganoff and Richard Wallace, and finally to discerning modern aesthetes, namely Baron de Redé, Antenor Patiño, Coco Chanel, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint-Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld, the unique story of Hôtel Lambert reaches the present in a series of thrilling sales at Sotheby’s during Autumn 2022.
This series of auctions represents a rare opportunity to virtually visit this iconic house behind the scenes.