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Where would you find at once a chair from Marie-Antoinette’s boudoir, one of Pierre Soulages’ paintings, furniture by Le Corbusier and a pair of topiary boars by François-Xavier Lalanne?

At the Hôtel de Lannion, a 17th-century Paris mansion once home to Hubert Guerrand-Hermès, a fifth-generation descendant of Thierry Hermès, founder of the French luxury house.

Some 1,000 lots from his collection will be going under the hammer at Sotheby’s in a series of four physical and online auctions mid-December.

A 1977 painting by French artist Pierre Soulages is among the items collected by Guerrand-Hermès and included in the upcoming auctions. Florian Perlot pour ArtDigitalSt/Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Mario Tavella, president of Sotheby’s France and chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, said it was rare to find a collector like Guerrand-Hermès who had been equally interested by the classical arts as he was by design and contemporary artists.

Sotheby’s said according to family lore, Guerrand-Hermès sharpened his eye for collecting at a young age when his mother would send him and twin brother Xavier to the Puces de Saint-Ouen flea market, challenging the boys by offering to pay what she thought their finds were worth.

Estimated between 10 million euros and 15 million euros, the lots of the late Hermès descendant collected over the years spoke of “a discerning eye that expertly knew how to marry different periods and disciplines,” continued the auction house executive.

In addition to French royal furniture that includes a carved and gilded Louis XVI chair commissioned for Marie-Antoinette’s personal apartments at the Chateau de Versailles and a dresser commissioned by royal mistress Marquise de Pompadour, the late collector also snatched up works by Pablo Picasso, Juan Miró and contemporary artists such as Antony Gormley and Anish Kapoor.

Austrian art dealer Thaddaeus Ropac, who shared a love of music with him, told Sotheby’s the collector had been eager to learn about the contemporary scene, attending dinners with artists such as Anselm Kiefer. 

A central interest of Guerrand-Hermès was the Duchesse de Berry, whose discovery he once described as “the beginning of a passion, which has never left me.

Marie-Caroline of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duchesse de Berry. Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Some 500 lots are connected to the 19th-century aristocrat, born Marie-Caroline of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and who married the third son of French king Charles X.

Not only was she a patron of the arts herself and an enthusiastic collector, but she was also the ancestor of Guerrand-Hermès’ wife Rosalinda Álvares Pereira de Melo, herself a member of the Portuguese nobility.

He recreated the duchess’ library on the ground floor of his Paris home, amassing rare manuscripts once owned by the duchess but also items such as a gilded Sèvres clock from 1826 in Restoration style, an elephant timekeeper in patinated bronze and an Aubusson carpet in a chequerboard of floral squares. Her portrait as well as those of some of her relatives will also be part of her sale, as will her handkerchiefs.

Among the items going under the hammer in December are works by Bernard Dubuffet and Joan Miró; Lalanne’s topiary boars, estimated between 100,000 euros and 150,000 euros; the artist’s Singe SI et Singe SII, between 1 million euros and 2 million euros; a portrait of Duchesse de Berry by Baron Gérard, expected to go between 50,000 euros and 70,000 euros; and Soulages’ “Peinture, 28 février 1977,” with a top estimate of 1 million euros.

François-Xavier Lalanne’s “Singe SI and Singe SII” made between 1992 and 1995 are part of the auction. Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Guerrand-Hermès, who died in 2016 at the age of 75, had been vice chairman of Emile Hermès SARL, which represents the family shareholders, and general manager of the group’s real estate companies. He also served as a foreign trade adviser to the French government and was made an officer of France’s Legion of Honor in 1999.

A patron of the arts, the collector was treasurer of the Société des Amis du musée national d’art moderne — Centre Pompidou, and a supporter of the World Monuments Fund, a not-for-profit association dedicated to preserving cultural heritage.

Ahead of the auctions, the collection will be on public display at Guerrand-Hermès’ erstwhile Paris home near the Musée d’Orsay between Dec. 9 and 13.