Auctions | February 2, 2016

Artcurial Presents "Le Regard de Pierre Hebey"

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 12.05.52.pngParis - After a series of European exhibitions in Brussels, Milan, Munich and Vienna, Artcurial will host an auction in Paris on February 22nd and 23rd entitled, Le regard de Pierre Hebey - Les Passions Moderées. This exceptional event will be organised in collaboration with Camard & Associés and celebrates the artistic passion of Pierre Hebey as an avid collector. Forty years of his remarkable collecting will be up for auction in four parts - Firstly, Art Deco followed by Modern Art, rare illustrated books and finally 19th century French sculpture.

“The Artcurial exhibition of Pierre Hebey’s collection invites passionate art lovers to discover the eclecticism, the personality, the education, elegance, poetry, mystery and great emotion of a collector who has gone down in this century’s history.” explains Fabien Naudan, vice-president of Artcurial.

Francis Briest, chairman of the supervisory board and strategy at Artcurial, adds: “A collector is a desirous soul who comes alive with a intimate passion which leads them on a whirlwind journey to strange destinations. A collector is the “the man with soles of wind,” as described by Rimbaud - on a perpetual quest to find the missing piece. The collector reminds us of the verse by Lamartine: “Inanimate objects, do you have a soul, which sticks to our soul and forces it to love?”

Pierre Hebey was born in Algeria in 1926. After studying law in France he became a lawyer recognised by the Paris bar in 1946. In 1973 he married Geneviève and together they formed one of the most important French collector couples of 20th century artwork. They shared the same love of Art Deco furniture and built up one of the biggest collections worldwide alongside those belonging to Hélène Rochas and Yves Saint-Laurent. This auction will include several exceptional pieces of furniture from Eugène Printz or Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann and also objects by René Lalique, ceramics by André Metthey and lamps by Edgar Brandt.

Specialised in intellectual property law, Pierre Hebey gained a reputation as a lawyer advising famous French actors and also artists such as Max Ernst, Jean Tinguely, Niki de Saint Phalle and Bram Van Velde. With his clients he forged sound friendships and this is reflected in the artwork amongst the collection. In this particular auction, one will discover works by Marc Chagall, Roberto Matta, Pierre Soulages and Pierre Alechinsky.

Between 1995 and 2000, Pierre Hebey dedicated himself to writing. He was passionate about literature and published around 15 works (novels, essays and collections of short stories, mainly through Gallimard). He also collected books and built up a collection of artistic and humanist books specialising in Surrealist and Dadaist movements. The auction will offer some remarkable books from this collection including literary classics (Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Guillaume Apollinaire, Paul Eluard...) and several illustrated books by Jean Arp, Joan Miró, Man Ray and Hans Bellmer.

Throughout his life, Pierre Hebey kept a sharp eye on auction house sales, antique sales and flea markets, always on the look out for a unique object. He was a thirsty hunter and had acquired vast knowledge in this sector. With his wife Geneviève, they lived surrounded by their finds, each of which reflected their taste, their passion and profound respect of arts and artists. Like with many legendary art collectors, today one talks about the ‘Hebey eye’ which relates to Hebey’s collecting techniques and his subjective way of perceiving art which mixes art history, human genius, artistic audacity, mystery and emotion. This is particularly apparent in the collection of French bronze sculptures from the 19th century gathered by Pierre Hebey. Artcurial will sell almost 200 bronze works from the collection including pieces by Antoine- Louis Barye, Emmanuel Fremiet, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux and Christophe Fratin.

In agreement with Geneviève Hebey, Artcurial was keen to propose a series of events around this auction which will enable the public to gain a better understanding of Pierre Hebey, the man himself and his collection. As well as the European and Parisian exhibitions, Artcurial will organize a week of cultural events including conferences and book signings in his honour. The catalogue will pay tribute to Pierre Hebey and include several literary contributions made by his friends - A text by David McNeil, an introduction by the chef Michel Guérard, an essay by Bernard Pivot and an analytical text by Serge Lemoine.

"We are going to sell some objects from one or two of your Ali baba caves, the people who are going to purchase your paintings, drawings, bronze sculptures or pieces of furniture will cherish the object that much more as it was carefully picked out by you with such enthusiasm. Your eyes were on a constant look out as though you were scared of missing something and these beady and passionate eyes sought out each of these magical objects," remembers David McNeil, a close friend of Pierre Hebey, in the auction catalogue.


Sale Monday 22nd February 2016 at 7pm

Throughout his career as a lawyer specialising in intellectual propery law, Pierre Hebey defended and advised plenty of artists. Over time, many became his friends and he was happy to purchase works directly from them. The Modern Art, Post-War and Contemporary Art collection belonging to Pierre and Geneviève Hebey not only reflects the couple’s artistic taste but also the friendly affinities with certain artists. The collection took a turning point in the years 1990-2000 when the couple decided to seperate from part of the art deco collection and concentrate on 20th century art. Pierre Hebey’s interest in Surrealism was accentuated by his friendship with Max Ernst and is illustrated in the sale by the work of Roberto Matta Morphologie psychologique de l’angoisse from 1938. This is an extremely important piece in the artist ‘s career as it was one of his first surrealist works of art. In the modern art section, it is worth highlighting the oil on canvas, L’écuyère from 1976 by another friend of Pierre Hebey, Marc Chagall. The auction will also include another piece by Marc Chagall, using the direct method of stone sculpting. In the Post-War and Contemporary sections, Artcurial will offer around 60 works of art by artists who were familiar to the couple, Pierre Alchinsky, Pierre Soulages, Jean Tinguely, Wifredo Lam, Jean-Pierre Pincemin, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Bram van Velde.


Sale Tuesday 23rd February 2016 at 11am

As a well known writer and intellectual, Pierre Hebey surounded himself with books throughout his life and built up an impressive collection of works published between the end of the 18th century and the end of the 20th century which demonstrate the extent of his bibliophilia.

With over 130 books, this part of the auction not only re-groups litterary classics but also important Surrealist masterpieces. Highlights include:

-Original print editions by Louis Aragon, André Breton, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Paul ?luard, Gustave Flaubert, Arthur Rimbaud...

-Signed autographs by Guillaume Apollinaire, Robert Desnos, Alfred Jarry, Tristan Tzara (to Juan Gris)...

-Illustrated books by Pierre Alechinsky, Jean Arp, Hans Bellmer, Pierre Bonnard, Raoul Dufy, Max Ernst and Joan Miró...

-Decorative bindings by Rose Adler, Paul Bonet, Pierre-Lucien Martin, Marius Michel...

CHAPTER 3 : 19th CENTURY FRENCH SCULPTURE Sale Tuesday 23rd February 2016 at 2pm

"For the interior decoration it was always me, but for the actual purchases it was always down to Pierre," confids Genviève Hebey. Objects and sculptures are placed alongside canvases by artist friends and pieces of exceptional art deco furniture and reflect the personal taste belonging to the collector, just like the 19th century bronze part of the collection. On February 23rd, Artcurial will sell a group of 19th century French sculptures of almost 200 pieces.


Sale Tuesday 23rd February 2016 at 7pm

One can’t talk about Hebey without mentionning art deco. For over 40 years, the couple were passionate about collecting important pieces of furntiure and objects from this great 20th century decorative art movement. With Yves Saint-Laurent, Hélène Rochas and Karl Lagerfeld, they constituted one of the greatest art deco collections in the world. In 1999 at the turn of the century, the couple decided to part from a selection of this collection and organised a memorable auction of 54 items of furniture by Jacques ?mile Ruhlmann. The couple kept hold of the most sentimental objects and decided to focus on collecting modern and contemporary art. On February 23rd, the art deco works which the couple has chosen to keep hold of, will be up for auction. Highlights amongst the 150 pieces on offer include leading artists who represented the art deco movement such as: Eugène Printz, Maurice Jallot, Jean Dunand, Jacques ?mile Ruhlmann, Paul Iribe, Paul Dupré-Lafon, Jean-Michel Frank, Louis Süe and André Mare. For the artistic works, key pieces by Jean Mayodon, André Thuret, Adrien Dalpayrat, René Lalique and André Metthey will be sold.