Monday, August 19, 2013

Notable Homes: Beatriz Patino, Plaine Monceau

The Living Room of the Plaine Monceau apartment
of Madame Antenor Patino as decorated by Francois Catroux.
Photo by Marina Faust for Architectural Digest.
The series of posts of The Devoted Classicist under the heading of Notable Homes showcases the furnishings and architecture of residences whose former owners had a particularly strong interest in classically inspired decorative arts.  Although this pied-à-terre in the neighborhood of Paris known as the Plaine Monceau was not without architectural details, printed fabric was used to play a significant role in the décor and create a cohesive theme.  Fabric from the French firm Bracquenié (sold in the U.S. through Pierre Frey) was used extensively, but not mentioned in the Architectural Digest article that was the source of these photos by Marina Faust;  perhaps it was because the fabric company did not advertise in the magazine. After the owner Beatriz Patino's death in 2009, many of the furnishings were sold in an auction by Sotheby's Paris on September 22, 2010;  photos and information from the sale catalog appear here to provide more insight into the decoration of the apartment.

The giltwood mirror above the chimneypiece is one
of a pair, Italian, mid-18th century.
Note that Sotheby's shows it reversed.
Sold:  $152,919.
All prices are the hammer price plus buyer's premium.
The two female Chinese porcelain figures are 37 2/3 inches high
and date from the Qing dynasty, 19th century.
Sold:  $39,379.
A pair of giltwood brackets in the Louis XV style.
Sold:  $3,332.
A pair of tables of ebony, Boulle marquetry, and bronze doré
Louis XVI style, first half of the 19th century.
Sold:  $52,173.
A pair of gilt bronze candelabra in the form of a
satyr and a nymph, after Van Clere,
1st half of the 19th century.  Now mounted as lamps.
Sold:  $15,825.
Hercules and the Centaur bronze group, Italian,
after the models by Giamolonga and Ferdinando Tacca,
19th century.  26 in. high, 20 in. wide.
Sold:  $28,185.
Pair of gilt bronze wall lights with three arms
from the crown of a satyr's mask.  Louis XIV.
Sold:  $48,974.
The area was farmland around the village of Monceau until the late 19th century when it began to be developed with mansions and upscale apartment houses, so it was decided that this apartment in a landmark building overlooking Parc Monceau would be decorated to show an influence of the Belle Epoque.
Another view of the Living Room.
The bookcase cabinet, purchased for the apartment,
 once belonged to Lord Nelson; 
moldings are carved to look like ship's riggings.
Photo by Marina Faust,
published in Architectural Digest, 1989.
Beatriz Patino, was the widow of art collector Antenor Patino.  (The eldest son of "the King of Tin," the Bolivian tycoon Antenor Patino might be best known to the general public as the developer of the Mexican resort Las Hadas which was used as a location in the Bo Derek film "10").  The previous Patino residences on the avenue Foch (to be featured in the following post) and the rue d'Andigné were decorated in a sumptuous eighteenth century manner.  But interior designer Francois Catroux, who had worked on several other Patino residences, projected that the furniture from Versailles and other palatial-scaled pieces would appear out of place in the new apartment; he sent the historic furnishings to be auctioned at Sotheby's and kept only the "slighter" pieces.

A pair of overdoor panels by Jacques-Charles Oudry,
each depicting a hunting scene, oil on canvas.
Sold:  $272,854.
In the January, 1989, issue of Architectural Digest, Mme. Patino admitted, "I'd become accustomed to the eighteenth century, which was a somewhat tyrannical era in interior decoration.  The Victorian period is fairly new to me, but I like it very much.  I picked up a few pretty English pieces, but I also kept my 'old things,' the things I love best:  a very handsome eighteenth-century bronze, the large vases I like so much, some beautiful corner cabinets and the overdoor panels that were painted by Oudry."

Circular table of mahogany and giltwood, early 19th century. 
Restorations.  35 in. dia, 29.5 in. high.
Sold:  $9,995.
Portrait of a lady wearing a blue dress,
attributed to Jean-Francois Garneray.
Sold:  $58,569.
A pair of rare Consulat chairs, 1798,
with legs in the form of lion legs,
stamped C. Sene.
Sold:  $45,776.

A view of the Living Room
as it appeared in the Sotheby's catalog.
By the time of the photography for the 2010 auction catalog, the off-white wall-to-wall carpeting that had covered the floors as a foundation for antique rugs had been replaced by a multi-colored patterned carpet.  In addition, the primary upholstery in the Living Room had also been replaced, not just recovered but new seating models.  The 8.5 ft long, curved sofa in raspberry cotton was estimated at the equivalent of $3,998 to $5,331, and sold for $26,586.  (All the prices reflect an conversion from Euros to U.S. Dollars).

The Dining Room of the Patino apartment.
Photo by Marina Faust for Architectural Digest.
A patinated and giltwood chandelier, probably Italian
or Austrian, in the neoclassical taste, late 18th or
early 19th century.  Re-gilded.  37.75 in. dia.
Sold:  $36,181.
A suite of eight chairs, ebonized and giltwood, Italy.
Six from the late 18th century, two of a later date.
Sold:  $36,181.
Mme. Patino was quoted to also say, "I still have a small painting that I gave to the Louvre but which they're letting me keep for a while.  And the floral still lifes I already had go so well with the fabric Francois chose for the dining room that the décor seems to have happened all by itself."  Devoted Readers will appreciate the decorative attention given the dining room bookcases with the shelves covered in the same damask as the walls and the lower cabinets with concealed doors faced with false book spines.

The Library of the Patino apartment.
Photo by Marina Faust for Architectural Digest.
A pair of stoneware vases, French,
now mounted as table lamps.
Sold:  $4,998.
A gilt bronze wall light, Italian, late 18th century,
after a drawing by Giocondo Albertolli,
with a copy of a later date.
Estimate:  $26,653 to $39,979.
Sold:  $200,895.
The Library as it appeared in the Sotheby's catalog
with the wallcovering and carpeting replaced.
The 19th century, red and gold lacquer low table
sold for $2, 499.
The Catroux-designed daybed and two chairs
upholstered in Bracquenié fabric
sold for $6,350.
The portrait of a seated woman with the signature
F. Gerard 1809
sold for $19,990.
An engraved silver box with the lid fitted with a
watercolor by Catherine Sérébriakoff dated 1969,
Sold:  $34,582.
"I don't immerse myself in flowered fabrics for every occasion," continues Mme. Patino.  "My New York apartment, except for my bedroom, is done completely differently.  It's as though the vocation of the Paris apartment is to be a place apart, with a particular style that befits the building it's in.  I find it very attractive.  I don't hold big parties there, but I often give small dinners, two tables for ten at most.  It's a style of entertaining that goes well with the intimate character of the rooms."
The Master Bedroom of the Patino apartment.
Photo by Marina Faust for Architectural Digest.
The bed with hangings as shown
sold for $10,828.
"Make no mistake," Francois Catroux warned.  "More premeditation and complexity go into a décor like this than go into planning a period apartment.  Each detail has to be worked out with all the others to create an impression.  As in painting, you have to proceed stroke by stroke.  I wanted to avoid pomposity and give Mme. Patino a feeling of comfort and delicacy.  Just because pretentiousness is absent doesn't mean discipline is absent too."
Interior designer Francois Catroux in the Patino apartment.
Photo by Marina Faust for Architectural Digest.
The Sotheby's catalog also showed another room that appears to be a spacious Entrance Hall.  Although there is the same multi-colored carpet that was used as a replacement in the adjacent Living Room, the other furnishings would appear to date from the original Catroux decorating scheme.

The modern banquette upholstered in raspberry cotton
sold for $7,996.
The pair of giltwood guéridons porte-torchéres in the Louis XV style
sold for $8,329.
The swags/jabots and Austrian shade
sold for $500.
A giltwood center table, Régence.
Sold:  $36,181.
A Régence giltwood mirror, altered.
Sold:  $7,996.
A hanging lantern of cut green glass,
probably Swedish, 19th century.
Sold:  $31,384.
The Patino apartment is an interesting example of "down-sizing," illustrating that the term is relative.

Other essays in the Notable Homes series have featured Cragwood, the residence of Jane and Charles Engelhard decorated by Parish-Hadley, here and here; La Fiorentina, the residence of Mary and Harding Lawrence decorated by Billy Baldwin, here, here, and here; the apartment at 2 East 67th Street, New York City, of Mildred and Charles Allen, Jr., decorated by Stephane Boudin of Maison Jansen, here and here; and Mercer House, the Savannah, Georgia, residence of infamous antiques dealer Jim Williams, here and here.


  1. Please LORD grant me this vision of elegant, comfortable and above all cozy LIVING...may I go into the Golden Age in the same DREAM!

    1. T.S., it seems we all have a diminished capability of some sort as we ascend into advanced age, but I doubt yours will be less style. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Hi John
    Thanks for another great, informative Post. I really appreciate the effort you go to.
    Have a great week

    1. S., I try to show what I'd like to see in a blog. Of course, it is just a point of departure for future study and conversations. I appreciate your comment.

  3. FYI: When I had an audience with the legendary Jacqueline de Ribes in May of 2011, I was amused to learn she was living there and it was in that same drawing room we had out meeting.

    1. Thanks for your comment, T.C.C. I am glad to know that the next owner of the apartment appreciated those upholstered walls.

  4. Why do people say "comparisons are odious" when in fact everything to do with
    art and decoration is relatively better or worse than something else? Case in point being the two versions of the Library shown in this wonderfully comprehensive post. First
    image, the room is charming if slightly overcooked. It's transformation via bold red shadow stripes in the 2nd image, along with a fitted patterned carpet, makes all the difference in terms of authority and architectural thrust.

    Intriguing comment from the Curious Connoisseur about Jacqueline de Ribes--does he
    mean to say that she'd bought Madame Patino's apartment?

    1. T.W., comparisons can really be a learning experience, can't they? Of course, I don't know if Catroux specified the fitted patterned carpet, but the wear at the concealed doors gives a hint that the striped walls of the Library had been there a while.

      As for Jacqueline de Ribes, perhaps someone can provide that answer. I appreciate your comments.

  5. Two tables for ten is a small party? Different scales of entertaining here! Loved seeing this -thanks for sharing.

  6. I die for all the fabrics used in this residence! I was in Schumacher the other day and I noticed an increase in red and blue color ways coming into the market. It always look so fresh and I guess it is time for it to make a reemergence. Some very serious goods...

    1. It is interesting how offerings of colors tend to vary, isn't it? Sometimes I see decorating textiles following apparel trends by a year or so, but it is difficult to make a sweeping generalization. Thanks for commenting, J.K.S.

  7. Reversed or not, that Italian mirror is divine. Simple, compared to others I've seen, but simply divine!

    1. J., who knows which way is "correct", but I thought it looked great on the mirrored chimney breast. It is a detail that most designers cannot seem to carry off as successfully as it was done here. Thanks for your comment.

  8. The rooms scream Braquenié here, but you are probably right in supposing the firm probably wasn’t mentioned in the AD article because of a lack of advertising. Tsk tsk! No one can deny the importance of the fabrics here. The curved raspberry sofa and the rich carpeting make for a stunning conversion of the living room and I imagine, give a more graceful flow. It seems the baseboards kept their faux marbre paint, a beautiful detail.

    1. G., I forgot to point out that the bedroom walls were also upholstered -- that is a woven scalloped fabric. Thank you for commenting.


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