• Press release
  • |
  • New York
  • |
  • For immediate release
  • |
  • 29 March 2019

RELEASE: The Desmarais Collection: A pied-à-terre in New York | April 30, Christie's New York

New York – Christie’s is honored to present The Desmarais Collection: A pied-à-terre in New York, which encompasses a remarkable selection of furniture, paintings and porcelain that will be offered in a dedicated sale on April 30 in New York, during the Classic Week series of sales. The collection is from the New York pied-à-terre of the distinguished Canadian couple Paul and Jacqueline Desmarais, which was decorated by the internationally acclaimed interior designer Juan Pablo Molyneux. Comprised of more than 150 lots, the collection features a sumptuous and sophisticated group of French 18th and 19th century furniture by many of the best makers such as Riesener and Weisweiler, Sèvres porcelain, silver and paintings including works by the artists Francois Boucher and Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun. The also features a selection of deluxe upholstered custom furniture and accessories specially ordered by J.P. Molyneux Studio, with luxurious fabrics by makers such as Prelle and Antico Setificio.

Paul Desmarais Sr. (1927-2013) was the former CEO of Power Corporation of Canada, and Jacqueline (1928-2018) was a philanthropist who was recognized as one of the most important patrons of Quebec’s arts scene. Jacqueline sat on the board of directors at the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, and in honor of her philanthropic contributions she was named an officer of the Order of Canada, to the National Order of Quebec and to France’s Legion of Honour. 

Will Strafford, Senior International Specialist, European Furniture & Decorative Arts, comments: “Christie’s is proud to offer this superb collection of French furniture, paintings and Sèvres porcelain on behalf of the Desmarais family, one of Canada’s leading families, noted as much for their acumen in the business world as for their generous philanthropy. The collection furnished their New York pied-à-terre in the Pierre hotel, and was the result of their long and fruitful collaboration with the noted interior designer Juan Pablo Molyneux.”

Juan Pablo Molyneux, adds: “It was a great pleasure working with Monsieur and Madame Desmarais on their New York home. Jacqueline Desmarais reflected a very strong personality in her taste, and had a very sophisticated approach when selecting styles, colors and objets d’art. We worked side-by-side to produce the correct environment for this exceptional collection of 18th and 19th century period furnishings.”

Among the collection highlights the Riesener commode is a spectacular work: a Louis XVI masterpiece in ormolu

and lush naturalistic marquetry that Jean-Henri Riesener made for the hôtel du Garde-Meuble (the administration in charge of furnishing royal residences) in 1774, the year he was appointed cabinetmaker for the King. Other highlights include an elegant early 19th century vase from Russia’s imperial stone-cutting workshops and one of the most complete 18th century Sèvres porcelain services still in private hands, decorated with images from the Comte de Buffon’s Natural History of Birds. Eighteenth-century paintings include a beautiful Portrait of a young girl by Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, and Vénus et les amours by François Boucher, First Painter to the King under Louis XV.

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 single 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 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.

Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps. The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here.