Born: February 4, 1922, Zürich, Switzerland
Died: July 8, 2004, Paris, France
Education: Institut Le Rosey
Lived: Hôtel Lambert, 2-4 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, 75004 Paris, France (48.85106, 2.35925)
Baron Alexis de Redé maintained a dazzlingly furnished flat in the Hôtel Lambert on the Île St. Louis. He died in 2005 and Sotheby’s estimated the sale of the contents at over $ 6,500,000.
Address: 2-4 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, 75004 Paris, France (48.85106, 2.35925)
Type: Private Property
Built between 1640 and 1644, Design by Louis Le Vau (1612-1670)
The Hôtel Lambert is a hôtel particulier, a grand mansion townhouse, on the Quai Anjou on the eastern tip of the Île Saint-Louis, in 4th arrondissement of Paris. In the XIX century, the name Hôtel Lambert also came to designate a political faction of Polish exiles associated with Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski, who had purchased the Hôtel Lambert. The house sits on an irregular site at the tip of the Île Saint-Louis in the heart of Paris. It was originally built for the financier Jean-Baptiste Lambert (d. 1644) and continued by his younger brother Nicolas Lambert, later president of the Chambre des Comptes. For Nicolas Lambert, the interiors were decorated by Charles Le Brun, François Perrier, and Eustache Le Sueur, producing one of the finest, most-innovative, and iconographically coherent examples of mid-XVII century domestic architecture and decorative painting in France. The entrance gives onto the central square courtyard, around which the hôtel was built. A wing extends to the right at the rear, embracing a walled garden. At the same time, Louis Le Vau constructed a residence for himself adjacent to the Hôtel Lambert. He lived there between 1642 and 1650. It was where all of his children were born and his mother died. After the architect’s own death in 1670, his hôtel was bought by the La Haye family, who owned the other residence as well. Both buildings were then joined and their façades combined. Both painters worked on the internal decoration for almost five years, producing the gallant allegories of Le Brun’s grand Galerie d’Hercule (still in situ, but heavily damaged in the 2013 fire) and the small Cabinet des Muses, with five canvases by Le Sueur that were purchased for the royal collection (now in the Louvre) and the earlier ensemble, the Cabinet de l’Amour, which in its original configuration featured an alcove for a canopied bed upon which the lady of the house would receive visitors, according to the custom of the day. The alcove was eliminated about 1703. All the ensembles featured themes of love and marriage. However, the paintings have since been dispersed. In the 1740s, the Marquise du Châtelet and Voltaire, her lover, used the Hôtel Lambert as their Paris residence when not at her country estate in Cirey. The marquise was famed for her salon there. Later, the Marquis du Châtelet sold the Lambert to Claude Dupin and his wife Louise-Marie Dupin, who continued the tradition of the salon. The Dupins were ancestors of writer George Sand, who, because of her relationship with the Polish composer Chopin, was also a frequent guest of the XIX century Polish owners of the property. In the XX century, the Hôtel Lambert was discreetly split into several luxurious apartments. It was once the home of actress Michèle Morgan, Mona von Bismarck, and of Alexis von Rosenberg, Baron de Redé, who rented the ground floor from 1947 until his death. De Redé entertained his lover Arturo Lopez-Willshaw (1900–1962), who continued to maintain a formal residence with wife Patricia in Neuilly. Redé and Lopez-Willshaw’s dinner parties were at the center of le tout Paris. In 1956, at de Redé’s Bal des Têtes, young Yves Saint-Laurent provided many of the headdresses, a gesture which boosted his career. In Dec. 1969, de Redé had his most famous ball, the Bal Oriental, with guests such as Jacqueline de Ribes, Guy de Rothschild, Salvador Dalí, Brigitte Bardot, Dolores Guinness, and Margrethe II of Denmark. In 1975, the Czartoryski heirs sold the Hôtel Lambert to Baron Guy de Rothschild, whose wife, Marie-Hélène de Rothschild, was a close friend of de Redé; they used it as their Paris residence. Marie-Hélène Naila Stephanie Josina de Rothschild (1927–1996) was a French socialite who became a doyenne of Parisian high-society. Born Baroness Marie-Hélène Naila Stephanie Josina van Zuylen van Nyevelt van de Haar in New York City, she was the eldest of the three children of Marguerite Marie Namétalla (1901–1970) and Baron Egmont Van Zuylen van Nyevelt (1890–1960). Marie-Hélène's paternal grandmother was Baroness Hélène de Rothschild (1863–1947), the first woman to take part in an international motor race and the daughter of Baron Salomon James de Rothschild. The Lambert, a UNESCO-listed site, was divided into apartments by the Rothschilds, and parts of the wooden structure are rotting; the staircases are sagging, and the paint is cracked and discolored. Thierry Tomasi, the prince’s lawyer, has claimed that the installation of air conditioning will preserve the paintings and hinder cracking. In September 2007, Prince Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani, brother of the Emir of Qatar bought the Hôtel Lambert from the Rothschilds for the purported sum of about 80 million euros ($111 million.) The prince’s plan for a comprehensive overhaul of the building has sparked controversy and became the subject of legal action brought by French conservationists. The scheme reportedly includes plans to install lifts, an underground car park, and a number of security measures, including digging under the garden and raising the XVII century garden wall about 80 cm. Former tenant Michèle Morgan criticized the plans in an interview, suggesting that super-rich clients wanting a tailor-made luxury modern residence should consider a larger site on the outskirts of Paris rather than a cramped position limited on all sides by the river Seine and listed monuments. However, Alain-Charles Perrot, the architect in charge of the project, suggests that there is an element of racism in objections to the plans. On July 10, 2013 a portion of the building was severely damaged by a fire which started in the roof during renovation work. The Cabinet des Bains with a series of ceiling frescoes by Eustache Le Sueur was completely destroyed, and another series of frescoes by Charles Le Brun in the Gallery of Hercules was heavily damaged by smoke and water.
Who: Oskar Dieter Alex von Rosenberg-Rédé, 3rd Baron von Rosenberg-Redé (February 4, 1922 – July 8, 2004), aka Alexis, Baron de Rédé
Alexis von Rosenberg, Baron de Redé, was a prominent French banker, aristocratic, aesthete, collector, and socialite. Rédé was named in the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1972. Oskar Dieter Alex von Rosenberg-Redé was born in Zurich, Switzerland, the third and youngest child of Oskar Adolf von Rosenberg-Redé, Baron von Rosenberg-Redé (1878–1939), a banker from Austria-Hungary, and Edith von Kaulla, a member of an ennobled German Jewish family that had been part-owners of the Bank of Württemberg. Redé was educated at Le Rosey in Switzerland. Following the suicide of his father at the family’s estate Villa Rosin near Vienna, Redé moved to New York City, where he briefly attempted to acquire American citizenship. His brother committed suicide in Hollywood in 1942, whereupon Redé became the third and last Baron von Rosenberg-Redé, which was typically abbreviated as Baron de Redé in France. In 1946 he returned to Paris, in the entourage of Elsie de Wolfe. Redé’s notoriety rested on being a kept man. His wealth derived from his lover, Arturo Lopez-Willshaw (1900–62), a married millionaire Chilean, who settled $1 million on Redé shortly after they became a couple. As Redé recalled of the beginning of his relationship with Lopez-Willshaw, which commenced when he was 19 in 1941, "I was not in love. But I needed protection, and I was aware that he could provide this." In addition, he observed, "The money gave me the security I craved, and it would also enable me to look after my handicapped sister." In 1953, author Christian Mégret published “Danaé,” a roman à clef based on Redé’s and Lopez-Willshaw’s life together, the racy details provided by one of their close friends, Mégret’s companion, Ghislaine, Princess de Polignac. Lopez-Willshaw’s wife, a first cousin born Patricia Lopez-Huici, was cool towards her husband’s companion though the three often traveled together and attended social events as a group. In 1962, when Arturo Lopez-Willshaw died, Redé inherited half of his fortune; to manage it, he joined Prince Rupert Loewenstein in taking control of Leopold Joseph & Sons, a bank where he served as the deputy chairman. With Loewenstein, Redé was closely involved in managing the money of the Rolling Stones; and he was a founder of Artemis, an investment fund specializing in the purchase of fine art. He died suddenly at the home of a friend, Carmen Saint, at the age of 82. His memoirs, Alexis: The Memoirs of the Baron de Redé, were published posthumously in 2005. Hugo Vickers was its editor and ghostwriter. Rédé’s estate (notably the contents of his apartments at the Hôtel Lambert) was auctioned after his death by Sotheby’s and realized millions of pounds. Included in the many items, which comprised three catalogues, was a 32-light chandelier expected to sell for between one and two million euros.
Queer Places, Vol. 3 edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: July 24, 2016
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