Paddle8 presents an auction of property from the storied collection of Christophe de Menil
Art, jewelry, and design collected by the legendary arts patron
Paddle8 is honored to present an auction of property from the collection of Christophe de Menil, the legendary arts patron who has been a friend and supporter of contemporary artists for seven decades. Ms. de Menil is a singular figure in American art and philanthropy, championing artists from Mark Rothko—whose paintings she helped acquire for the Rothko Chapel at the Menil Collection in Houston—to downtown artist Dash Snow, her grandson.
The auction includes works by some of the most important artists of the twentieth century, rare pieces of design, and Ms. de Menil’s own jewelry creations. Most of the works were acquired by Ms. de Menil directly from the artists whom she supported, including John Cage, Doug Wheeler, and Robert Wilson, and every lot has a rich history and stellar provenance. Bidding is available online at Paddle8 from December 2 through December 12.
Born in France and raised in Houston amidst the remarkable collection of her parents, John and Dominique de Menil, Christophe de Menil has been a steady friend and patron of contemporary artists, architects and designers since her teens. Her patronage often includes deep and enduring friendship, and the artists whom she supported and befriended included Matisse, Le Corbusier, Barnett Newman, Willem de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Philip Johnson, Louis Kahn, and Tadao Ando, among many, many others. Inspired by the artists she came to know, Ms. de Menil established herself as a notable costume designer, producing work for Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, and Robert Wilson.
Auction highlights include:
Robert Wilson Einstein Chairs, 1976. Galvanized pipe.
A trio of chairs created by Wilson for the original staging of Einstein on the Beach, the historic opera composed by Philip Glass and directed by Wilson. Wilson urged Ms. Menil, his longtime costume designer, to acquire the chairs, which have had pride of place in her garden for the past four decades.
John Cage, 11 Stones 2, 1989. Watercolor on paper prepared with smoke.
For this series, Cage drew the outlines of stones scattered randomly across the paper or printing plate. The two stone works in this auction were made with stones from Ms. de Menil’s home on Long Island and exemplify the role of chance in Cage’s work.
Pair of sofas by Charles James, c. 1950.
The only furniture ever designed by the legendary couturier, these “lips” sofas were created by James for the Menil’s home in Houston, which James decorated. James also designed Christophe de Menil’s debutante gown and counted Christophe and Dominique among his most important patrons.
Fred Sandback, Untitled (Three-part Vertical Construction) Light Blue / Ochre, 1981. Yarn sculpture.
One of two important Sandback yarn sculptures in the Paddle8 auction, these pieces were originally installed in Ms. de Menil’s Paris apartment.
Doug Wheeler, Light Study, c. 1980. Drawing and watercolor on paper.
A study for a never-realized light installation, diagramming the windows in a building. Ms. Menil was an early and avid supporter of Wheeler’s work, who collaborated with Frank Gehry to design her townhouse on the Upper East Side.
Christophe de Menil, Horseshoe Crab, 2014. Pink gold pendant.A pendant from Ms. de Menil’s own collection of jewelry. While collaborating with Wilson, Ms. de Menil also created jewelry with Claude Lalanne, which laid the groundwork for Ms. de Menil’s jewelry collection. Many of the pieces are inspired by the nature that Ms. de Menil encounters on Long Island.
Bidding is available at paddle8.com/auction/christophedemenil from December 2 through December 12.
Paddle8 is the auction house for the 21st-century collector. It is a destination for a global community of collectors, offering authenticated inventory—from art and design to jewelry and collectibles—through curated online auctions, as well as benefit auctions in collaboration with non-profit organizations. Using innovative technology, Paddle8 has streamlined the collecting experience, combining the excitement and expertise of an auction house with efficient operational solutions and an international perspective. Founded in 2011 by Alexander Gilkes, an auctioneer and LVMH veteran, and Aditya Julka, a Harvard Business School MBA and serial entrepreneur, Paddle8 has over 50 employees worldwide, with teams in New York, L.A., and London. Paddle8 is funded by the investors behind Uber, Vimeo, Buzzfeed, Paperless Post, Warby Parker, and Bonobos, among others, as well as art-world insiders including artist Damien Hirst, art dealer Jay Jopling, and Matthew Mellon.
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