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    A lounge suite from the couple’s flat in the former Maeterlinck Palace

    A rare glimpse into the glamorous domestic world of a couple at the heart of the glittering social world of Paris in the 1970’s is offered by a sale at Sotheby’s on February 24.  Best known in France and the US François  Catroux was one of the most important decorators of the 21st century.François  and Betty Catroux married in 1968 when she was becoming the face of Yves St. Laurent and he was decorating bold modern homes for clients like the Rothschilds, Diane von Furstenbert and Princess Firyal of Jordan. He counted Roman Abromovitch, Helene Rochas and Antenor Patino among his clients.

    François Catroux elegantly mixed antiques with contemporary furniture.  He brought work by contemporary designers like Ron Arad, Ingo Maurer, Martin Szekely, Serge Manzon and Ettore Sottsass together with artists like Luis Tomasello, Lucio Fontana, Tom Wesselman, Zoran Music, Victor Vasarely, Xavier Veilhan, Christian Bérard and Jean Cocteau.
    On offer at Sotheby’s Paris is the entire contents of the apartment he created for their retirement at the former Maeterlinck Palace overlooking the Baie des Anges at Nice. The project was barely completed when Catroux discovered he had cancer. He died in November 2020. Catroux and St. Laurent were at school together, though they never spoke of their schooldays where St. Laurent had been bullied.

    In a New York Times obituary Penelope Green came up with a wonderful quote from Betty Catroux: “I’m not interested in fashion, and I’m not interested in design, and I got the two geniuses on the subject. I could live in an empty room as long as there is a bottle of wine and good music. But I know what’s beautiful. I was so lucky. It’s been a fairy tale life”.

    Betty and François Catroux. Photograph: Horst P. Horst/Condé Nast archive

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