Design meets contemporary art as the collection of François and Betty Catroux goes up for auction

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François and Betty Catroux collection from their residence on the French Riviera.
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  • Betty Catroux

On February 24, Sotheby's will be auctioning the collection of François and Betty Catroux, hailing from their apartment in the Palais Maeterlinck on the French Riviera. Connoisseurs will be able to bid for a hundred or so lots, spanning works of 20th and 21st century design, contemporary art, and creations by the famous decorator, who died in November 2020.

He was an internationally renowned decorator, she was a French model who became the muse of one of the greatest fashion designers of all time, Yves Saint Laurent. Each was involved in multiple projects over the decades, in decoration and fashion, respectively. François Catroux was a decorator to some great names -- and connoisseurs -- such as Marie-Hélène and Guy de Rothschild, Hélène Rochas, or even Princess Firyal of Jordan, to name but a few, mixing with ease antique pieces and contemporary furniture.

The taste and style of François Catroux are now in the spotlight thanks to an exceptional auction, conducted by Sotheby's. It is, more precisely, a whole collection from the couple's French Riviera residence, which "remained utterly private and unknown to the world," the auction house states. The sale gives collectors the opportunity to access lots with diverse and varied inspirations and influences, such as contemporary furniture, design pieces, works from Asia and Africa, and even some creations by François Catroux himself.

"It is a privilege for us to unveil the final and highly personal creation of François Catroux," says Florent Jeanniard, director of Sotheby's Europe design department and vice president of Sotheby's France. This exceptional setting, he continues, is a place where "works by great names in contemporary art and design sit alongside antique pieces that the decorator treasured for his entire life. A place he loved, and it suited him."

Standout pieces from the Palais Maeterlinck collection are works by contemporary designers such as Ron Arad, Ingo Maurer, Martin Szekely and Serge Manzon, as well as creations by 20th century artists, including Luis Tomasello, Lucio Fontana, Tom Wesselmann, Christian Bérard and Jean Cocteau. All of this will be accompanied by exceptional pieces such as a 12-panel Chinese screen in Coromandel lacquer.

The auction will take place in Paris on February 24, 2022.

Christelle Pellissier

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