QUEEN OF PARIS: Socialite style is all the rage: Sotheby’s is preparing to auction off the collection of Count and Countess de Ribes, ranging from rare paintings and books to the contents of the family mansion.
The auction is scheduled to take place on Dec. 11 and 12, with a second installment next spring — hot on the heels of Christie’s sale of the collection of Lee Radziwill, the sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, next October.
Considered by many to be the epitome of Parisian elegance — whom Valentino once dubbed “The Last Queen of Paris” — Jacqueline de Ribes was among the Swans written about by Truman Capote and was photographed by Richard Avedon. Now 90, she lost her husband Edouard in 2013.
“Following the recommendation of her late husband, the Countess decided it was time to part with the collection and share it with collectors around the world. Part of the proceeds will benefit charitable and cultural organizations,” Sotheby’s said in a statement.
The sale will comprise paintings and drawings from the 17th to the 19th century, sculpture, furniture and works of art. The first two auctions will focus on the most important pieces and the couple’s extensive library. The content of their 19th-century hôtel particulier in the 8th arrondissement of Paris will go under the hammer next spring.
Mario Tavella, managing director of Sotheby’s France and chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, said it was a “huge honor” to be entrusted with the historic collection, which is distinguished by its quality, state of preservation and provenance, with some pieces directly handed down from Queen Marie Antoinette.
“In pursuing this heritage, the Count and the Countess de Ribes have preserved it and enriched it with the most beautiful pieces of fine arts, decorative arts and French literature,” he said.
The Countess was the subject of an exhibition, “Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in 2015. Honorary chairman of the Musée d’Orsay, she has been a fashion designer, theater and film producer, and supports causes including UNICEF and the League Against Cancer.
The lots will be exhibited at Sotheby’s in Paris from Dec. 7 to 11.