Erudite French dealer’s private collection to be sold in Paris
Felix Marcilhac acquired works over four decades by artists he was the expert on, including Jean Dunand and René Lalique
By Claudia Barbieri Childs. Web only
Published online: 12 February 2014
The French dealer and art historian Felix Marcilhac is due to sell his Art Deco and Art Nouveau paintings, objects and furniture through Sotheby’s Paris and Artcurial on 11 and 12 March. Acquired over four decades, the collection carries a total estimate of €8m. A selection of 50 pieces are on view at Artcurial until 17 February and all the lots will be shown from 3 to 11 March at Sotheby’s Paris, where the sales will be held.
Marcilhac started collecting in 1967, buying a sculpture by the Hungarian-born cubist and Art Deco artist Gustave Miklos. He opened his gallery on rue Bonaparte, in Paris’s left bank art district, two years later, specialising in 20th-century decorative arts. His son now runs the gallery.
Born in Paris in 1941, Marcilhac graduated from the prestigious Science Po school with degrees in economics and art history. He has forged an international reputation for his expertise and has written or edited the catalogues raisonné for a dozen artists, including the painters Edouard-Marcel Sandoz and Jean Dunand, the Orientalist Jacques Majorelle and the glassmaker and jeweller René Lalique.
“This is the collection of a very erudite man,” says Sotheby’s expert Cecile Verdier. “Many connections are revealed; the influence of Cubism on the decorative arts can be
discerned; the influence of the eastern European artists and the relationship to the Orientalist painters.”
The auctions will feature glass and ceramic objects, tapestries, sculptures and furniture from Marcilhac’s private collection. Major designers and artists are represented, including Dunand, Majorelle, Émile Gallé, Joseph Csaky and Jean-Michel Frank. Also included are works by the Ukrainian-born Israeli sculptor Chana Orloff and the Polish-born Cubist, Surrealist and Art Deco artist Jean Lambert-Rucki.
Many of the pieces have impeccable provenance, acquired from stars of Paris’s mid-20th-century style and fashion firmament—Elsa Schiaparelli, Jacques Doucet, Jeanne Lanvin and Jean Cocteau’s brother Paul Cocteau.
Among the top lots is L’homme et son destin (man and his destiny) by Miklos, a 1929 bronze sculpture on a black marble pedestal, estimated at €250,000-€300,000. An English-style lacquered chest, dated 1921 and signed Jean Dunand and Jean Goulden, is estimated at €300,000-€400,000, while a galuchat dressing table by Jean-Michel Frank dated 1925, formerly owned by Schiaparelli, is estimated at €200,000-€250,000.
To accompany the sale, Editions Le Passage is publishing a book on Marcilhac and his collection by Jean-Louis Gaillemin.
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