Home Arts French actor Alain Delon’s art collection at auction

French actor Alain Delon’s art collection at auction

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After quietly acquiring works of art for six decades, French actor Alain Delon will auction his collection at Bonhams in Paris this month in a sale that could fetch up to 5 million euros.

Delon, one of France’s most prolific and famous actors, is best known for starring in neo-noir classics like The leopard (1963) and the Samurai (1967).

“There are two things that I consider my legacy; my acting career and my art collection. I’m so proud of both of them,” Delon said in a statement. “People ask me if there’s a thread that ties these pieces together and I say, ‘It’s me!””

Delon has been planning for several years to sell his collection during his lifetime, according to his daughter Anouchka Delon, who is also an actress. She says her 87-year-old father is still healthy and wants to “feel the excitement of giving it all to the new owners”.

At Raoul Dufy’s The bay of Sainte-Adresse (1906) is leading the sale of French actor Alain Delon’s art collection next month in Paris. Courtesy Bonhams

“People are very surprised at first that he’s selling everything, but they’re also happy to see the work because most people know him as an actor, but it’s an art collection,” says Anouchka. . “Perhaps they will feel the same emotion that he might have felt in front of one of these paintings or drawings.

She compared the sale to when Delon and his family attended the Cannes Film Festival in 2019, where Delon received the honorary Palme d’Or for lifetime achievement, amid controversy on Delon’s comments on women and far-right politics in France. “So many actors don’t witness things like this before they come through,” says Anouchka. “It was really important for him and for us.”

The sale will be hosted by Raoul Dufy’s The bay of Sainte-Adresse (1906), beach scene estimated between €600,000 and €800,000. Anouchka says the seascape is “very representative of France”. One of Delon’s favorite items in his collection is a Rembrandt Bugatti panther sculpture which Bonhams values ​​at €250,000-300,000. Delon is often portrayed as a panther or lion in French media, Anouchka says, and depictions of big cats make multiple appearances in her art collection.

A sculpture of a panther by Rembrandt Bugatti Bonham

“I’m happy that he can show everyone and how he’s going to be with a new family, but it’s also heartbreaking because he’s like a family member,” says Anouchka, pointing out that the texture of panther sculpture is smoothed down its spine from having been stroked so often.

A drawing of a ballet dancer by Edgar Degas hung in her childhood bedroom, recalls Anouchka. The drawing is estimated between €80,000 and €120,000.

“It was like living in a museum,” she says. “I share the same passion for art with my father, and we learned a lot. It was a privilege to have them.

A drawing of a ballet dancer by Edgar Degas that once hung in Delon’s daughter’s childhood bedroom. Courtesy Bonhams

Delon chose “his art with the heart,” says Anouchka, adding that he didn’t see his collection as a financial investment or in relation to what was fashionable. Anouchka says her father started collecting Dutch art after being introduced to it by his wife and mother, Rosalie van Breemen, a Dutch model. He was a fan of landscapes by artist Jan van Goyen (1596-1656), three of which are included in the auction.

“Our father, he loves these scenes. I recognize Holland, with the little houses. You can feel the mist and the cold,” says Anouchka, pointing to a drawing by Van Goyen of a man driving a boat through a village canal that has a Bonhams estimate of €30,000-50,000.

The scene of a village canal from Jan van Goyen Courtesy Bonhams

THE Sale of 84 lots will take place on June 22 in the auction room of Bonhams in Paris in the 8th arrondissement and should sell for between 4 and 5 M€.

“He hopes he will go to a nice family because we think it’s more of an adoption than a sale,” says Anouchka. “You’re so attached to each piece. It’s like selling your first apartment or your first car, and you have so many memories. So you want people to love the art as much as you do.”

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