• Press release
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  • London
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  • For immediate release
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  • 6 March 2017

PRESS RELEASE: Robert De Balkany Rome And The Cote D'azur

 ‘You taught me that a sense of grandeur is indispensable. This has travelled with me through my life – as it did yours’ Jacques Garcia

The great hall at palazzo Lancellotti, Rome

London – We are pleased to present the upcoming auction Robert de Balkany: Rome and the Côte d'Azur which will take place at Christie’s King Street on 22 and 23 March 2017. Comprising over 700 works of art from two of the celebrated businessman’s residences, palazzo Lancellotti in Rome, the interiors of which were designed by Federico Forquet and château Balsan in Eze, which was decorated by Jacques Garcia. The sales will be a testament to Robert de Balkany’s discerning eye and vision as a collector and connoisseur.

Having been a close friend of Robert and his family for a number of years, it is a great honour to be entrusted by the family with these magnificent sales of the contents of two of his beautiful houses. Christie’s has long-admired the collecting vision of Robert de Balkany. His homes effortlessly combine refinement and luxury and we are pleased to offer this collection, which gives all those who were inspired by his life the opportunity to see how he lived with art.’ Pedro Girao, Chairman of European Advisory Board, Christie’s

Robert de Balkany was an energetic and passionate collector of European and English fine and decorative arts, particularly clocks, silver, furniture and Old Masters; he amassed exquisite works of art with a discerning and particular eye to create sumptuous interiors. The collection unites works he inherited from his father, Aladar Zelinger de Balkany with pieces he acquired over a period of more than 50 years.

The collection reflects de Balkany’s passion for a range of periods and styles – from the Renaissance and the Baroque to the Neoclassical, Empire and Regency periods – as well as precious materials including hardstones, marble, bronze and Boulle marquetry. De Balkany decorated his houses with richly-worked textiles and materials of the highest quality, which he combined with works of art to great effect, creating an atmosphere of both luxury and comfort. A generous and charming host, his exquisite homes were the setting for entertaining glamourous friends from the worlds of business, polo, yachting and European royalty. Royalty who frequented Eze and de Balkany’s yacht included HSH Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace of Monaco, HM King Leopold III and Princess Lilian of Belgium, and HM Constantine II and HM Anne- Marie of Greece; guests hosted by de Balkany also included Marella Agnelli (Princess Marella Caracciolo di Castagneto), Stavros Spyros Niarchos and Eugenia Livanos, and Patricia Kennedy Lawford, as well as the famed English actors and writers David Niven, Sir Peter Ustinov and Sir Roger Moore.

A highlight of the auction is the magnificent Duke of York silver-gilt centrepiece by Edward Farrell, depicting Hercules slaying the Hydra (estimate: £400,000–600,000). Another two works by the silversmith Edward Farrell feature in the collection, lots 198 and 199.

Further highlights of the auction are six paintings depicting scenes from the life of Alexander the Great, by Gaspare Diziani (estimate: £120,000–180,000; and an important selection of over 60 clocks including a Louis XIV mantel clock with figures of Le Jour et La Nuit after Michelangelo (estimate: £80,000–120,000).

The collector’s discerning eye and extravagant spirit is also encapsulated by the a pair of large Swedish Blyberg porphyry urns on pedestals from the early 19th century (estimate: £30,000-50,000); a pair of French gilt and patinated-bronze busts of Louis II De Bourbon, Prince De Conde (1621-1685) and Henri De La Tour D'Auvergne, Vicomte De Turenne (1611-1675), which were cast in the first half of 19th Century (estimate: £60,000-100,000); and a Russian ormolu-mounted malachite Tazza circa 1830-40 (estimate: £50,000-80,000). These bold works showcase the level of outstanding craftsmanship in De Balkany’s impressive collection, an opportunity not to miss for distinguished collectors in search of historical treasures.

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 Salvador Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn2022), for a single charitable collection sale (the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, 2018), and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019).

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. 

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