An extraordinary oil portrait of the Maharajah of Indore is included in the collection of French artist Bernard Boutet de Monvel (1881-1949) at Sotheby’s in Paris on April 5 and 6. A painter, engraver, sculptor, decorator, an illustrator for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, Boutet de Monvel was one of the most celebrated portraitists of his day. His clients included great names of international high society. The sale will present portraits of the Maharajah and Maharani of Indore, William Kissam Vanderbilt Jr, the Duchess of Brissac, together with stunning depictions of the artist’s wife Delfina and his daughter Sylvie. The Maharajah is wearing the Indore Pearls, diamonds weighing 47 carats each mounted on a pearl necklace by Chaumet for this portrait. The 300 lots on offer also comprise the contents of his “Hotel particulier” and studio in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Art Deco pieces, furniture designed by Boutet de Monvel himself and fashion illustrations.
Described as “the most handsome man in Europe” by the US press, Bernard Boutet de Monvel lived a life worthy of a Fitzgerald novel. A war hero during WWI, he was posted in Morocco in 1917-19 and spent the rest of his life between Paris, New York and Palm Beach. He died in 1949 in the same plane crash as Edith Piaf’s great love and boxing champion, Marcel Cerdan. Highlights will be shown in London from February 26 to March 1.