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Jacqueline de Ribes. Photo: Roloff Beny.

PARIS.- The name “de Ribes” internationally resonates with a timeless sense of style – the essence of French chic and elegance. Over the next year, Sotheby’s will present the collection of the Count and Countess de Ribes, tracing two centuries of French history and Parisian sophistication. Coming from the ancestral home of the de Ribes family – one of the last noble buildings in Paris, the offering is imbued with the presence of its current custodian, Jacqueline de Ribes, the extraordinary muse, socialite and designer immortalised by Richard Avedon and described as the “last Queen of Paris”. Following the recommendation of her late husband, the Countess decided it was time to part with the collection and share it with collectors around the world. Part of the proceeds will benefit charitable and cultural organisations. 

Comprising paintings and drawings from the 17th to the 19th century, sculpture, furniture and works of art, the collection is one of the most fascinating ensembles of painting and French Decorative Arts to appear on the market in recent years. It will be dispersed in a series of three sales: the first two auctions, to take place on 11 and 12 December 2019, will be dedicated to the most important pieces and the Counts de Ribes’ phenomenal library. The content of the “hotel particulier” will be auctioned next year, during the spring. 

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 Interior view of Count and Countess de Ribes' “hotel particulier”Courtesy Sotheby's.

Mario Tavella, Président-Directeur Général, Sotheby’s France and Chairman, Sotheby’s Europe said: “It is a huge honour to have been entrusted with this historic collection which began in the middle of the 19th century. In pursuing this heritage, the Count and the Countess de Ribes have preserved it and enriched it with the most beautiful pieces of fine arts, decorative arts and French literature.” 

Known worldwide, the Ribes collection is distinguished by its exceptional quality, remarkable state of preservation and the provenance of many of its pieces (including Queen Marie-Antoinette). Assembled by the Count de Ribes’ ancestors, it has always been housed in the family mansion, designed in 1865 by the architect Auguste Tronquois. 

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Interior view of the Count de Ribes' libraryCourtesy Sotheby's.

An important patron and collector, passionate about literature and history, Edouard de Ribes (1923-2013) was involved in a number of museum charities despite a busy professional life. An avid bibliophile like his father, he was also a member of the “Société des bibliophiles français” and greatly developed the family library. 

Internationally renowned style icon Countess Jacqueline de Ribes, née Jacqueline de la Bonninière de Beaumont, is a free spirit who has always defied trends and been ahead of her time. Muse, fashion icon and designer, theatre and film producer, businesswoman, Honorary Chairman of the Musée d’Orsay, she is committed to a number of philanthropic causes (UNICEF, Embassy Ball, Ligue Against Cancer). She directed The Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas and was cast by her director friend Luchino Visconti to play Oriane de Guermantes, the witty duchess in Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. Jacqueline de Ribes’ originality and elegance established her as one of the most celebrated fashion personas of the 20th century. In 2015-16, her unique sense of style was celebrated in a retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of New York which featured haute couture and ready-to-wear creations from de Ribes' personal archive.

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Alexandre Serebriakoff, La serreCourtesy Sotheby's.