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  • Press release
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  • Paris
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  • For immediate release
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  • 2 February 2022

Hubert de Givenchy Collectionneur
Paris, June 2022

©Victor Skrebneski

Paris – Christie's is honoured to announce the sale of the exceptional fine and decorative arts collection of legendary fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy, featuring more than 1,200 lots of French and European Furniture and works of art, including sculpture and paintings from Old Masters to Modern and Contemporary works. Each object was chosen with Hubert de Givenchy’s meticulous eye and reflects his exquisite taste. Drawn from two of de Givenchy’s most iconic and elegant homes— the Hôtel d'Orrouer in Paris and the Château du Jonchet in the Loire Valley— the collection includes many exceptional objects unseen on the market for decades as well as more recent works acquired towards the end of his collecting journey. Christie’s will offer this extraordinary collection at auction in Paris from 14 to 17 June (live sales) and from 8 to 23 June 2022 in a dedicated online sale. The timing of the announcement of the sale coincides with the 70th anniversary of the first haute couture collection Hubert de Givenchy presented in Paris on 2nd of February 1952, which was a resounding international success.
Ambassador of French taste

A major figure in the world of haute couture and fashion, Hubert de Givenchy's name embodies the quintessence of elegance and the Grand Gôut français. Over the course of his life, he assembled an exceptional collection of furniture and classical and modern art, which he arranged in his homes according to the same exacting standards, exquisitely refined sensibility and passionate creativity that he applied to his work as a couturier.
On 8th of June, Christie’s invites the public to enter Hubert de Givenchy’s world through a curated presale exhibition at Christie’s Paris, just prior to the start of the auctions. Highlights from the collection will be announced this spring and exhibited as part of a worldwide tour to key cities, including Palm Beach, New York and Hong Kong, before arriving back in Paris.

Paris, Hôtel d'Orrouer ©François Halard and an interior view by Pierre Bergian Le Salon Vert à Hôtel d'Orrouer, 2021 ©Juan Cruz Ibañez (not part of the auction) 

Cécile Verdier, President of Christie’s France: "We are extremely honoured that the family of Hubert de Givenchy has entrusted Christie's with the auction of his fine and decorative art collection, which combines his clear aesthetic vision for his interiors, with some of the most important collections in the world.“

Charles Cator, Deputy Chairman of Christie's International continues: “Hubert de Givenchy was for many years a member of the international board of Christie's and entrusted the house twice during his lifetime with the sale of objects from his collection. This summer the auctions are an opportunity to celebrate Hubert de Givenchy as one of the greatest ambassadors of French taste and to tell his story of the art of living, collecting and the elegance he sought to capture in all things.”

Timeless classic: Hubert de Givenchy
Born in Beauvais in 1927 into an aristocratic family of Venetian origin, Hubert Taffin de Givenchy moved to Paris at the age of 17 to study at the Beaux-Arts. He rigorously assembled his collection with great care and a demand for excellence throughout his life. His eye was refined from an early age, growing up with a great-grandfather who designed stage sets for the Paris Opera and a grandfather who was the administrator of the Beauvais tapestry factory, as well as a great collector in his own right. Hubert de Givenchy’s family and cultural heritage nourished his creativity, taste for materials, colours, and décor. He was passionate about artists and craftsmanship, and the interiors he created were imbued with a purified classicism that celebrated his passion for the 18th century. He once remarked, "Fashion
changes, but the 18th century style will endure, as it is of exceptional quality. [Such style will endure] on the condition that it is not restrained within a fully period atmosphere… that it is given a breath of fresh air by Delaunay, Arp, and Giacometti, and above all, that it is not weighed down by pompoms and trimmings.”

In 1952, Hubert de Givenchy opened his own fashion house on rue Alfred de Vigny in Paris. He was immediately noticed for his innovative style, creating the "Bettina blouse," a simple white cotton blouse named after model Bettina Graziani. He went on to dress the most elegant and iconic women of the late 20th century, including Jacqueline "Jackie" Kennedy Onassis and Audrey Hepburn, the Countess Mona Bismarck, the Duchess of Windsor, the Duchess of Devonshire, and Marella Agnelli.
Interior design as an extension of his work as a fashion designer

Loire Valley, Château du Jonchet © Anna Buklovska and an interior view by Pierre Bergian L’atelier au Jonchet, 2021 ©Juan Cruz Ibañez (not part of the auction)

A tireless worker, constantly energized and inspired by new projects, Hubert de Givenchy always considered his passion for art, decoration and gardens as an extension of his work as a fashion designer: "I try to achieve harmony between architecture, decoration, and colour.” Using his favourite palette: green, gold, white and black, he designed his interiors in a very structured style, assigning each object a well-defined place.

Hubert de Givenchy's family: "Through this sale, we are very pleased to be able to celebrate the exceptional taste of Hubert de Givenchy and his lifelong companion Philippe Venet. We wish to share the elegance and aesthetic heritage that they have passed on to us in order to inscribe their vision in the history of art and interior design in a universal way.” ”

NOTES TO EDITORS

First confirmed exhibition tour dates

PALM BEACH        5-26 March 2022               

NEW YORK           8-13 April 2022                  

HONG-KONG        23-26 May 2022

Hubert de Givenchy’s biography

Hubert de Givenchy (1927-2018) moved to Paris at the age of 17 to study at the Beaux-Arts. He served as an apprentice to the fashion designer Jacques Fath, then joined Lucien Lelong, Robert Piguet and finally Elsa Schiaparelli. In 1951, he met Cristóbal Balenciaga his mentor and friend. In 1952, Hubert de Givenchy opened his own fashion house on rue Alfred de Vigny in Paris. He was immediately noticed for his innovative style, creating the "Bettina blouse" and the iconic concept of "separates" that firmly established his fame. Hubert de Givenchy demonstrated that women could mix and match separate pieces - skirts and light tops – allowing them to express their personal style. Another defining aspect of his career was his work with Audrey Hepburn, whose wardrobe he designed for both the city and the cinema, including films such as Sabrina (1954), Funny Face (1957) and Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961). He also created Givenchy's first perfume, "L’Interdit" for Hepburn. In 1995, Hubert de Givenchy retired from his fashion house.

Three personalities have particularly contributed to Hubert de Givenchy’s fame:

Bunny Mellon, with whom he shared his passion for gardens and for whom a dedicated team at the fashion house worked regularly to design her wardrobe and linens. Mrs. Mellon played an integral role in Hubert de Givenchy’s awakening to contemporary art.

Jackie Kennedy, about whom Hubert de Givenchy wrote in his farewell letter to his fashion house: "Jackie Kennedy became the first lady of the United States. She trusted me and asked me to dress her. The fact that Mrs. Kennedy chose the House for her wardrobe was a great boost for our publicity.”

Audrey Hepburn, his confidante and muse, for whom he created the wardrobe for her major film roles. Hepburn’s natural elegance, combined with the simplicity of his designs, made the Givenchy style legendary: "Hubert is like a tree" said Audrey Hepburn. "Tall, straight and handsome, he creates and recreates beauty in spring, summer, fall, and winter. The roots of his friendship are always deep and strong, the broad branches of his affection shelter those he loves."

The long history between Hubert de Givenchy and Christie's

In 1993, Hubert de Givenchy entrusted Christie's with some of his early 18th century furniture. This sale, organised in Monaco, was a landmark for its time. The archetype of the collection sale was born, bringing together paintings, furniture, sculptures, and silverware for the first time in a single sale (apart from a specific residence or estate sale).

In 1997, he became Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Christie's France and a member of its international board.

In 2000, Hubert de Givenchy orchestrated the display of the exhibitions of the Riahi Collection of Magnificent French Furniture in Paris, Los Angeles and New York.

In 2012, he curated the exhibition, “La Galerie de Girardon evocation par Hubert de Givenchy” at Christie's in Paris.

In 2014, Hubert de Givenchy assisted Christie's Paris with the "Empire" exhibition, which included several pieces from his personal collection.

In 2017, working together with Hubert de Givenchy Christie’s Paris held the spectacular sale of his collection of works by Diego Giacometti “Les Giacometti de Hubert de Givenchy”, which celebrated his long friendship with the artist 

About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). Christie's is also recognised as a reference for prestigious single owner collections, having auctioned 8 of the 10 most important collections in history.

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and the the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

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