Friendly ghosts of famous people and a magical setting overlooking the Mediterranean led to results that exceeded expectations.
People are fascinated by the furnishings of luxury hotels and places where famous guests once stayed. La Pausa, a villa overlooking the Mediterranean designed for Gabrielle Chanel by Robert Streitz and built between 1928 and 1930, is no exception. The sale of its contents netted nearly €800,000, with some pieces that have achieved cult status because of their provenance fetching high bids. When Emery and Wendy Reves bought the house in 1953, they kept some of Madame Chanel’s objects and bought others illustrating their taste for modern art: a bronze table lamp by Alberto Giacometti with a brown patina and a woman’s head (€130,000); two works by Marie Laurencin – a 1923 set design for Les Biches, a gouache on a fan (€13,000), and a watercolour, Woman with a Pearl Necklace (29.5 x 25 cm), typical for its lightness and fluidity (€27,300); a Madoura faience dish decorated with a bullfighting scene by Picasso (€13,000); and a group of ceramic pieces by André Metthey. His large vase featuring horse-riders and fantastic animals, its elegant turquoise blue echoing the colour of the sea below, fetched €27,300. In perfect harmony with the marine setting, La Passagère du 54-Promenade en yacht, an 1896 lithograph by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec for a poster, sailed away for €22,100. More anecdotal but amusing because they are stamped Chanel, pots and pans in tin-plated copper and iron fetched €9,100.