La Mémoire du Palais Rose
In our over-connected online world, I’m always surprised when I come across a person, or two people in this case, from the past of whom I’ve never heard before. Such was the case of Boni de Castellane & Anna Gould sale at Christies in Paris on Monday, 6 March 2017.
“Boniface de Castellane, known as ‘Boni’ was a key figure of the Belle Époque, a celebrated dandy of the Parisian scene, who was also involved in politics. He married Anna Gould in 1895, the daughter of an American millionaire who made his fortune in the railway industry. His success allowed Anna and her husband to benefit from a generous dowry when they married. On 20 April 1896 the cornerstone of what was to become one of the last great hôtel particulier of the 19th century was laid: the Palais Rose. It was built by Paul-Ernest Sanson and René Sergent, some of the last remaining architects influenced by neoclassicism. They openly sourced their inspiration from Versaille’s Grand Trianon, and recreated a perfect copy of the celebrated “Ambassador Staircase”, decorated by Charles Le Brun and demolished in 1752 under King Louis XV. The Palais Rose was completed in 1902 and from then hosted the most prestigious parties in Paris. Over seven years, this hôtel particulier frequently welcomed celebrities: Paris’ aristocracy, the Queen of Naples, Queen Isabel II of Spain, Kapurthala’s Maharadjah, and even the Kings of Spain and Portugal in 1905. However, this opulent lifestyle was not to last. On 20 January 1906, Anna Gould filed for divorce from Boni de Castellane, mainly due to the exorbitant expenses he had generated.”
The sale came about from Anna Gould’s granddaughter, Diane de Castellane, who lived relative obscurity in her own apartment in Paris. The Palais Rose was unfortunately demolished in 1969. The sale of 277 lots includes exquisite works of art, including old master paintings and drawings, furniture, porcelain, and jewelry.
The most important piece in the auction is the Cartier nécessaire de bureau which is a penholder, an inkwell, and a clock in one that also combines Chinese and Japanese decorative elements with an estimate of over 1 Million Euros. Happy Bidding!