A room designed by Michael S. Smith. The furniture in the room is included in the upcoming Christie's auction.
Photo: Michael Mundy

Michael S. Smith Creates an Incredible Interiors Sale for Christie’s

President Obama’s designer talks to Galerie about the stunning collection of fine and decorative art in his latest auction

Michael S. Smith, the celebrated designer who decorated the White House for President Barack Obama, has created a special continental interiors auction for Christie’s. The sale encompasses everything from European furniture and antiques (think ornate gilt-wood mirrors and a Regency mahogany desk) to blue-chip works of art by the likes of Richard Diebenkorn and Irving Penn.

The idea for the sale came to Smith after a London client was moving and decided to offload some items via Christie’s. Realizing that other clients in New York and Los Angeles were moving as well, he saw an opportunity to create a special auction that combined beautiful pieces from each home.

A few of the stunning pieces that are part of Smith’s auction at Christie’s. Photo: Kate Carr

“It was amazing to see, in previous sales, how people bought stuff and how it’s been reused,” Smith, who recently revamped his own Madrid home, tells Galerie. “I’ve seen a Japanese screen that I used in a client’s guest bedroom that’s now in a living room in Hawaii. It all moves around. It’s a beautiful thing.”

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The auction, dubbed “Rooms as Portraits: Michael S. Smith, A Tale of Two Cities, New York & Los Angeles,” incorporates pieces from three different homes in the country’s two largest cities.

A beautiful Chinese coromandel lacquer six-panel screen from the 18th century is part of the auction. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd. 2018

“There’s this rich and layered attention to detail,” says Gemma Sudlow, Christie’s head of private and iconic collections, New York. “Everything seems framed by a deep architectural understanding that Michael has. If one thinks of stylish people and the way they dress, he does that in showing us how to live. He has an innate understanding of not just the fine art but of how they interplay with the decorative arts.”

“That,” she adds, “makes him the decorator for real connoisseurs.”

The sale begins September 26 at Christie’s in New York, 20 Rockefeller Plaza.


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