Friday, 6 May 2011


THE DUARTE PINTO COELHO COLLECTION - From the distinguished decorator’s houses in Madrid and Trujillo, Spain

Auction, Christie's South Kensington, 85 Old Brompton Road
Wednesday, 20 & Thursday, 21 July 2011 at 10.00am

A photograph of Duarte Pinto Coelho being presented to H.M. Queen Elizabeth II by H.M. King Juan Carlos I of Spain and H.M. Queen Sophia of Spain, October 1988 (part of group lot, estimate: £1,000-1,500)

An extraordinary collection of more than 800 lots from the Madrid home and the Trujillo country house of legendary interior decorator Duarte Pinto Coelho will be offered for sale at Christie's South Kensington on 20-21 July 2011. The late Mr. Pinto Coelho was born in Portugal, moving to Paris as a young man, where he became friends with the likes of Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dalí, among others. When he moved to Spain in the 1950s, he chose Madrid as his new home and there he started an antiques business that soon led to him becoming the first and most renowned decorator in the country. A refined, eclectic connoisseur, collecting was his passion and both his residences were adorned with a wealth of furniture, works of art, porcelain, pictures, silver, carpets and textiles. The collection as a whole is estimated to realise in the region of £1.5 million.

Pilar Gonzalez de Gregorio, Duquesa de Fernandina, Chairman of Christie's Spain: “Following the great successes achieved by the auctions of the collection of Manolo March and that of a Spanish Marqués (both offered in 2009 at our London salerooms), we are honoured to have been entrusted with the consignment of the sophisticated collection of Duarte Pinto Coelho. Born in Portugal, and trained in Paris, Mr. Pinto Coelho settled in Spain during the post-war years, but spent his life travelling all over the globe to look after his spectacular projects and to meet with his numerous friends. Considered to be one of the most influential Spanish decorators of the second half of the 20th century, Duarte’s unmistakable style and taste has been appreciated by some of the most important families both in Spain and abroad. His collections fully reflect his sprit and I am convinced that they will appeal to a very wide audience of international buyers.”

Duarte Pinto Coelho loved to declare that “a house should, at the end, look as if the designer had never set foot in it”: a demonstration of his wit, philosophy and style. Regarded as one of the best interior decorators in Spain, his intelligence, wonderful manners and taste enabled him to become a central figure in Spanish high society. The notorious parties he held at his magnificently decorated apartment in the enormous Palacio Pinohermosa in Madrid illustrated above are still memorable. From Truman Capote to Maria Callas, or Amália Rodrigues to Henry Kissinger, any international celebrity who happened to visit the Spanish capital would have been his guest and friend.

The collection of Duarte Pinto Coelho is incredibly varied and includes an amazing range of works of art and objects, from antique Spanish and Italian textiles to blue and white Chinese porcelain and old master paintings to post war Spanish art as well as a number of early European sculptures and English and European furniture.

The auction will also offer furniture and objects from the country house in Trujillo illustrated below, a town only two hours from Madrid. Once a nuns’ convent, Mr. Pinto Coelho bought the house and redecorated it to make it his buen retiro. There he enjoyed hosting his friends and organizing more informal receptions. Among the highlights of the Trujillo collection stands a pair of Spanish 17th Century ormolu, tortoiseshell and ebonised table cabinets, estimated at £20,000-30,000. The auction will appeal to International private buyers, collectors and decorators alike.