Last week, Maison Gerard opened one of its largest and most influential interiors exhibitions in its 40-year history. Maison Leleu: 1960's is both a sale and exhibition which encompasses nearly 60 pieces of 1950s and ‘60s era furniture, lighting and carpets designed by the House of Leleu exclusively for the Villa Medy Roc in Cap D’Antibes, France.
In 1957, Leleu was engaged by a prominent South American businessman, Villa Médy Roc’s owner at the time, to furnish all the public spaces. The interiors designed by Leleu for the great hall, salon, living room and dining room with their vast proportions have been referred to as “a celebration of French savoir-faire.” Today, the project is considered to be the House of Leleu’s most important post–war commission.
Jules Leleu (1883-1961) A Suite of Furniture, France, circa 1957
The collection is almost entirely intact from when it was first installed and where it remained until 2007, when the villa was sold. Because of its size and pristine condition, and the fact that it epitomizes the height of 1950’s French Riviera glamour realized by the House of Leleu, Maison Gerard considers the Medy Roc collection their most important sale to date.
"We are delighted to present what will be our largest gallery show to date, an exhibition of furniture and lighting by Maison Leleu,” said Benoist Drut, Managing Partner at Maison Gerard. “It is remarkable in sheer size with major pieces from a few very significant collections, and illustrates the transition within this design house which is embodied in the 1960's. This was a time of new styles and innovations in materials and techniques, and it was during this era the three Leleu children—Jean, Andre, and Paule—really took over from their father Jules and guided the sort of ‘renaissance’ of the company.
Maison Leleu (1922-1970) Cabinet with two sliding doors, France, circa 1965
Interestingly, they also chose to incorporate earlier pieces created by their father into some of the contemporary interiors which they designed, demonstrating the truly timeless nature of of Leleu's work.”
The exhibition recreates the glamour of the late 1950s Cote D’Azur and highlights the elegance of the historic Villa Medy Roc villa (ca. 1920) located next door to the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc high above the famous Millionaires Bay in the Mediterranean Sea. The exhibition also features rare Leleu interiors of the same period from the private Avenue Foch residence of an important Parisian industrialist family.
Leleu Décoration Designed by Camille Hilaire (1916-2004), fabricated by Pinton Frères Jardin à la Francaise
Noteworthy pieces from the exhibition include a monumental Aubusson tapestry called Le Jardin à la Française depicting a colorful pastoral scene; a monumental 16-foot dining table of patinated gun metal and eglomisé glass executed by Max Ingrand and matching patinated steel and verre eglomisé console; and an exquisite pair of rectangular carpets designed in an Aztec motif. The original watercolors and sketches produced by Leleu for the house will also be on display.
The Frilet collection is included in this special exhibition to highlight the work of the next generation of the House of Leleu in the 1960s. Jules Leleu died in 1961 and his three children, Andre, Paule, and Jean continued in his tradition of designing interiors with furniture, lighting and accessories that embraced the future, and respected and drew from the House of Leleu’s illustrious history.
The exhibition is on view through Saturday, November 22, at Maison Gerard, 43 East 10th Street in New York City.
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