Want to Own Marie Antoinette’s Armchair? That and Other Royal Treasures Are Heading to Auction at Sotheby’s Paris This Spring
Proceeds from the live sale will go toward restoring a 17th-century chateau in France.
Sotheby’s Paris will offer 75 historic pieces of furniture, sculpture, and porcelain from the collection of French interior designer Jacques Garcia at a live auction on May 16.
The “Jacques Garcia, Intemporal” sale features 17th- through 19th-century decorative objects, raising funds to maintain the sweeping 17th-century Château du Champ-de-Bataille in Normandy, France. The chateau, designed by Palace of Versailles architect Louis de Vau, was in a shambles when Garcia acquired it in 1992. He has spent the past 30 years restoring the estate, working with landscaper Patrick Pottier to reimagine its lush gardens while also honoring its history—resulting in Europe’s largest private garden.
The 75 lots—matching Garcia’s age—are on view May 11–15. The master of opulence has stamped his glamorous style worldwide on venues such as La Mamounia hotel in Marrakech, the Banyan Tree in Doha, and Hôtel Costes in Paris.
The pieces’ provenance include Marie Antoinette, Kings Louis XV and Louis XVl, and Napoleon Bonaparte. But while the collection and the chateau are slices of history, Garcia himself is enjoying a pop-cultural moment with his Villa Elena resort in Sicily featured on HBO’s hit show The White Lotus.
Items are estimated to fetch €100,000–€2,000,000 ($108,000–$2.1 million). Among the magnificent pieces are armchairs for Marie Antoinette made by Georges Jacob, who was born into a peasant family yet ultimately designed furniture for royals and the Bonapartes, plus a partial table service decorated with imagery of 400 types of birds as a celebration of naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon’s drawings.
The sale includes a console table by Parisian cabinetmaker Adam Weisweiler, a potential top-earning item for the event. The table is made of painted sheet metal and marble, and was created during the later years of Louis XVI’s reign. There’s also a pair of Edo-period cabinets made of silver and Japanese lacquer, previously owned by King William III and Queen Mary II of England.
The auction offers a set of late 18th-century oversized purple Lagrenée vases, which journeyed from Spain’s King Charles IV to the 10th and 12th dukes of Hamilton. And for anyone looking to take that afternoon nap up a couple notches, there is a daybed festooned with medallions, possibly designed in honor of the 1810 marriage of Napoleon Bonaparte and Empress Marie-Louise.
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