Home Decor from the Obamas' Designer

More than 400 haute furnishings curated by esteemed interior designer Michael Smith will hit the auction block next week.
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“One of the most exciting things about what I do is the constant pursuit of beautiful things,” says interior designer Michael Smith, whose work is the focus of a remarkable Christie’s New York auction, A Palladian Villa. “Creating this auction is a great way to reintroduce these amazing finds to the world and have other people enjoy them.”

The sale incorporates items from a property designed by Smith, a private villa overlooking the Pacific Ocean, which is also the subject of his new book, Building Beauty: The Alchemy of Design.

Smith is known for his multifaceted approach but is perhaps most famous for furnishing the Obama White House. A revered figure in the business, he has outfitted private estates with everything from antique pottery to contemporary art from around the world.

The more than 450 lots that will be up for auction at Christie’s on April 23 and 24 include contemporary art, English furniture, and sculptures that span the past 500 years. One of the headlining pieces is the 1989 painting Dead Sea, by Sean Scully. The work, which is estimated to fetch $700,000 to $900,000, features thick, textured bands of black and gray paint around a red rectangle. It was inspired by the geometric patterns of hand-dyed cloth and building facades in Morocco; the use of vertical and horizontal colors would become the artist’s signature style.

A pristine 17th-century shrub carpet, a popular motif of Persian rug design, is estimated to go for $30,000 or more, and the iconic ‘Mouton De Pierre’ (A Pair of Sheep), by the late artist Francois-Xavier Lalanne, is expected to sell for upward of $150,000.


Christie’s New York: 20 Rockefeller Plaza, 212.636.2000
 

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