"Provenant du Pied a Terre Parisien de Monsieur Robert Denning"

202 lots

2001

RD (1927-2005)

Denning & Fourcade

Drouot Richelieu

From 1960 the firm of Denning & Fourcade would become known for colorful extravagance and over the top opulence. Clients beginning with Michel David-Weill; the Ogden Phipps family, for whom they did fifteen houses; Henry Kravis, whose home, and their decorating, was parodied in the 1990 movie "The Bonfire of the Vanities" with Tom Hanks; Charles and Jayne Wrightsman; Henry Kissinger; Diana Ross; Oscar de la Renta both in Manhattan and Connecticut; Beatriz and Antenor Patiño, the Bolivian tin magnate and Jean Vanderbilt, to name only a few, began to roll in. Soon they were established and known for creating an established and 'old money' atmosphere anywhere. For thirty years they were courted on both sides of the Atlantic. Denning kept the fragrance Sous Le Vent in his automobiles to remind him of Lillian Bostwick Phipps who always wore the scent. Longtime clients such as Spencer Hays, the Richard Merillats for whom he has designed homes in Naples, Florida and Michigan, the Countess Rattazzi, for whom he did homes in Manhattan, South America and Italy (15 houses in all) looked forward to shopping sprees with him be it in the wholesale import markets in New York City or the Paris flea market. Denning's five story townhouse for Phyllis Cerf Wagner is described as: "... cozy and grand at the same time, but not elaborately fussy."

Eugenia Sheppard of the New York Herald Tribune dubbed their work "Le Style Rothschild." It reeked de l'argent. "Outrageous luxury is what our clients want," Denning & Fourcade said. This was the 1980s, the era of instant wealth. They visually defined it, giving crisp money the appearance of provenance and what Denning called "a casual English attitude about grandeur."

Often perceived as "...the Odd Couple. Boyish, down-to-earth Denning is the hardest worker, while Fourcade sniffs the client air to gauge if it's socially registered before he goes beyond the fringe." Jewelry designer Kenneth Jay Lane developed a passion for art pieces from the Middle East which the firm was in the vanguard of introducing and has also used some of their lighting treatments. Denning designed Jason Epstein's SoHo home from scratch in the shell of the building that housed the first consolidated New York police department. This was an entirely new effort for the designer who is known by many to specialize in a period "we'd call early-fringed-lampshade, but chic".

They would also amass a large collection of artwork and bronzes. They would commission original works of art and collect many of the same artists that they would recommend to their clients.

East 73d Street
Fourcade and Denning shared a red brick mansion on East 73d Street in Manhattan and a house they built in Bridgehampton, Long Island; both houses were the subjects of articles in decorating magazines around the world.


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