Christie’s: collection of Elsa Schiaparelli

Christie’s is pleased to announce that The Personal Collection of Elsa Schiaparelli will be offered at auction in Paris on 23 January, 2014. A landmark sale for the international world of fashion, style and design, the collection comes to the market having passed by descent to Elsa Schiaparelli’s granddaughter, the actress Marisa Schiaparelli Berenson. With passion and extraordinary vision, the legendary Madame Elsa Schiaparelli – a deadly rival of Coco Chanel – was at the heart of avant-garde ideas in 1930s Paris.

A powerful conduit between the worlds of cutting-edge fashion and surrealist art, she was a collaborator, friend, and patron to many leading artists of the day, from Salvador Dalí and Man Ray to Christian Bérard, Jean Cocteau, Alberto and Diego Giacometti, and Marcel Vertès. Comprising approximately 180 lots, this remarkable private collection features fashion – a dynamic combination of Elsa Schiaparelli’s own designs alongside other much-loved ethnic costumes and personal pieces – furniture, fine art and decorative arts which, together, evoke the unique inspirational sensibility adored by so many. The star lots of the sale are a bronze Alberto Giacometti 1936 floor lamp modelled with the head of a young woman (estimate: €60,000-80,000/£54,000- 71,000/$81,000-110,000, illustrated  right) and a violet silk blouse, 1939, from Schiaparelli’s Astrologie Collection (estimate: €25,000-30,000/£23,000-27,000 /$34,000-41,000, illustrated below). With estimates for individual lots starting at €500/£450/$670, the collection is expected to realise in the region of €800,000/£710,000/$1,100,000.
The Personal Collection of Elsa Schiaparelli presents a veritable feast of artworks and objects that reflect their owner’s significant role as a taste-maker. A key trendsetter in the 1930s, Schiaparelli not only contributed her own lively creativity and sponsorship to the contemporary scene in Paris but also enjoyed plundering the past to create baroque counterpoints to the modern (Elsa Schiaparelli illustrated at home, above). This is evidenced in her love of such eclectic delights as baroque furniture, the French Second Empire style – witness the chic lilac-upholstered ‘love-seat’ (estimate: €600-800/ £540-710/$810-1,100, illustrated above) – and blackamoor figures, which all reflect her wonderful sensibility for all that was extravagant and evocative. Schiaparelli used the pieces, collectively, to create an engaging world of fantasy – environments that reflected the influence of Surrealists who prized the imaginative and irrational.


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