Yesterday Christie's kicked off the estate auction of a sumptuously decorated Malibu villa, essentially a titanic sell-off of some 450 lots, including Old Master paintings, contemporary art, loads of 19th-century European furniture, and scads of Asian antiquities. If name-dropping the likes Jean Louis Chauvin doesn't mean much, perhaps consider the fact that the entire collection—$150K tapestries, $220K oil paintings and all—was curated by Michael S. Smith, the interior designer behind the Obama Administration's Oval Office, Oscar greenrooms, and the luxe homes of Rupert Murdoch and Russian billionaires.
This home, which was once featured in Elle Decor and is now the main subject of Smith's fourth book, Building Beauty: The Alchemy of Design, out next month, has sold, but it looks as though its contents will have had no trouble finding new homes. The auction results so far indicate that Christie's will see much success today, when the final lots go on sale: yesterday a small sculpture by Chauvin looking for $5K sold for $21,250, and a Persian rug with an estimated value of $12K raked in $52,500. What is one supposed to do, exactly, with $10K Chinese vases, a circa-1840 North Italian giltwood sofa, a 1961 Michael Goldberg painting, and a $44K full-length portrait? Above, some ideas.
? Also included in the auction: a $12,500 library table, an $8K English giltwood armchair, $2,750 African masks, and $4,375 worth of Japanese pottery. (By the way, that $21K Chauvin sculpture? It's that little blackish thing on the desk, next to the lamp.)
· A Palladian Villa by Michael S. Smith [Christie's]
· An Elegant Retreat in Malibu [Elle Decor]
· Building Beauty at Auction [T Magazine]
· All Michael Smith coverage [Curbed National]
· All Auctions posts [Curbed National]