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Record for a sale of decorative arts at Sotheby's
Auction shot featuring Oliver Barker, Deputy Chairman, Sotheby’s Europe as an auctioneer during the Marcilhac sale. Photo: Sotheby's.

PARIS.- The sale of the magnificent collection of French Art Deco dealer and collector Félix Marcilhac concluded tonight with an outstanding total of €24,727,715 ($34,290,170), well above pre-sale expectations (est. €8.7-11.2 million/ $12.1-15.5 million), and 95.2% of lots sold. Over the course of two days, almost 600 collectors and art dealers from Europe and the U.S. registered their intention to bid on masterpieces of Decorative Arts that reflected the discerning eye and refined taste of Félix Marcilhac.

Assembled over 40 years, this landmark collection featured Art Deco treasures which had not been seen in public for decades. Many of these pieces boasted prestigious provenance, having belonged to the likes of Jacques Doucet, Marie-Laure de Noailles, Elsa Schiaparelli, Jeanne Lanvin, Paul Cocteau and Jean-Michel Frank.

This historic sale set new benchmarks across all disciplines of Decorative Arts and established 21 auction records.

The top lot - a unique patinated gypsum and bronze cabinet, circa 1935 by Jean-Michel Frank - soared above estimate and achieved €3,681,500 ($5,105,173) – an auction record for the French designer (est. €400,000-600,000/ $545,000-820,000).

Cécile Verdier, Head of 20th Century Decorative Arts & Design, Sotheby’s Europe said: “It was a huge honour for us to handle the sale of this landmark collection. The historic results achieved demonstrate the strong and ever-increasing appetite of great collectors for works by pre-war Art Deco artists who are still considered as icons of modernity. Ever since the announcement of the sale in October 2013, the response has been extraordinary among collectors and the media. Félix Marcilhac wrote important chapters in the history of Decorative Arts and we are delighted to have written this page with him.”

Félix Marcilhac, Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, enjoys a worldwide reputation for his expertise in the fields of Art Nouveau and Art Deco. His passion for 20th century Decorative Arts began when he bought a sculpture by Gustav Miklos in Paris in 1967. Two years later he opened his gallery at 8 rue Bonaparte in Paris (now run by his son, Félix-Félix Marcilhac). Félix Marcilhac helped launch the René Lalique Museum in Suwa, Japan, and has officiated as Expert for countless important auctions – organizing the sales of a number of high-profile private collections, including those of Karl Lagerfeld in 1975, Marcel Tessier (devoted to Art Nouveau) in 1978, Madeleine Vionnet in 1985 and Nouran Manoukian in 1993. His clients have included Hélène Rochas, Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint-Laurent, Pierre Bergé, Andy Warhol, Catherine Deneuve and Alain Delon along with prominent French public figures.

Félix Marcilhac has also written a host of authoritative reference works on inter-war painters, sculptors and architect-decorators, including René Lalique, Edouard Sandoz, Chana Orloff, Joseph Csaky, Gustave Miklos, Jean Dunand, Paul Jouve, Jacques Majorelle, André Groult and the design firm Dominique. This Autumn saw the publication of his catalogue raisonné of the celebrated glass-maker Maurice Marinot.

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