For Paris-born, New York–based designer and architect par excellence Robert Couturier, life is about a constant process of renewal—both to amuse the eye and reinvigorate the soul. So it might come as little surprise that the process often involves parting with important and precious things. At Christie’s on June 6, Couturier plans to surrender 117 opulent and over-the-top objects from his Manhattan apartment, largely because he has chosen to move house from SoHo to an as-yet-to-be-purchased townhouse uptown. There, he says, he intends to create an environment that is more spare, simple, and serene to complement a well-appointed country house in Kent, Connecticut, which he shares with husband Jeffrey Morgan and five fêted rescue shih-tzus.
“Originally, I was going to put only a few objects up for sale, but it was easier, emotionally and psychologically, to just part with it all. Really, how can you choose just one?” Couturier told Robb Report on the eve of the sale. Collectors, he says, will have their pick of decorative works by a range of notable designers, including Jacques Adnet, Paul Evans, Diego Giacometti, and Ercole Barovier.
Among the covetable high-style lots is Evans’s Cityscape game table (1978) in burled walnut with acrylic chess pieces (est. $2,000 to $3,000); a dining table by Adnet from 1948, tagged at $20,000 to $30,000; a rare pair of gilt-wood sconces by Armand Albert Rateau (est. $8,000 to $12,000)—only eight of which were ever made; and two circa-1935 cabinets by Alfred Porteneuve made for his grandfather’s office. The cabinets carry estimates of $4,000 to $6,000 each.
“Quite frankly, the prices at Christie’s are very reasonable,” says Couturier, noting that he will certainly be taking a financial loss. “But, you know, I find it comforting to let go, for it lifts a weight off one’s mind. And it is comforting to know that another collector will be giving these works new life.”
Portrait by Tim Street-Porter