Historic collection to go under the hammer in Paris

The entire contents of one of Monaco’s last remaining Belle Epoque mansions will go up for auction on Tuesday in Paris. Affectionately known as the ‘pink villa’, L’Échauguette is currently on the market for a record asking price, but its precious contents will not form part of that highly anticipated sale.

The contents of the villa are being sold separately at auction. Photo: Sotheby’s

If the €110 million price tag for L’Échauguette, a six-floor villa overlooking Saint Dévote in Monaco, is out of budget, then perhaps a French gilt-bronze mounted ebony and Japanese lacquer cabinet circa 1870 for 250,000€ is more appropriate. This stunning piece by Alfred Beurdeley is one of hundreds of lots to be sold by Sotheby’s at auction on Tuesday 25th in Paris.

Titled Vue sur la Riviera – La Villa d’un Collectionneur, or ‘Riviera View – The Villa of a Collector’, the auction will feature fine Russian ceramics and gilt silver from a famous era in the French Riviera.

The villa spans six floors and overlooks Port Hercule. Photo: Sotheby’s

According to Sotheby’s, when the owners renovated the property in 2008 they followed the tradition of previous aristocratic owners in perpetuating the same Belle Époque ambiance.

“In an atmosphere of quiet elegance they sponsored musical evenings, talks about art and entertained royally. They aimed to recreate the mood and feel of a grand Belle Époque villa with only the best of what the exciting industrial age of the 19th century could produce in furniture and decorative arts,” reads the auction description.

A French gilt-bronze mounted amaranth, sycamore, mahogany, pearwood marquetry and parquetry commode, after the model by Jean-Henri Riesener. Estimate 30,000€ — 50,000€. Photo: Sotheby’s

They scoured salerooms and catalogues, met antique dealers and collectors, searching for the very best of paintings and furniture made by furniture makers such as Linke, Dasson, Zweiner, Sormani. They dressed vitrines with splendid ceramics with imperial provenance and sumptuous Fabergé silver, and added Imperial silver gilt services that the Tsarina Catherine might once have dined upon.

A Silver-Gilt and Niello Tea and Coffee Service, Pavel Ovchinnikov and Vasiliy Semenov, Moscow, 1875 and 1876.
Estimate 30,000€ — 50,000€. Photo: Sotheby’s

But now they have decided to move on and let others share the fruits of their passion for collecting and love of these astoundingly energetic periods in the history of decorative art.”

Photo: The property has been on the market since February Sotheby’s

The neo-classical Villa Échauguette is one of the last of its era in Monaco, and the asking price of €110 million is exceptional even for the Principality.

The villa’s former owner, François Blanc, was a French casino mogul who invested heavily in building Monaco’s casino industry. He helped transform the tiny city-state into an international destination for the wealthy.

For a full list of auction items, visit the website here.

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