The Palm Beach oceanfront manse La Rêverie.
Photo: Sargent Photography

Beauty Mogul Sydell Miller’s Legendary Collection Is Coming to Auction

Christie’s will sell $30 million in art and furniture from the Peter Marino–designed estate in Palm Beach, including works by François-Xavier Lalanne, Jean Dubuffet, and Joan Miró

Joan Miro's Femme (Femme debout) installed in the Palm Beach home of Sydell Miller. Photo: Sargent Photography

Located on Palm Beach’s Billionaires Row, La Rêverie set a local real estate record when it sold for a staggering $105 million in the summer of 2019. The seller, Sydell Miller, who cofounded the beauty brand Matrix Essentials with her late husband, Arnold Miller, was reportedly parting with the legendary French-style residence—which clocks in at nearly 85,000 square feet—so she could relocate to a new luxury condominium tower nearby.

In downsizing from the massive oceanfront estate, Miller is selling a number of pieces at Christie’s, with 20 paintings and sculptures slated to go under the hammer from May 11–14, and her 18th-century French furniture collection hitting the block in a June 10 live auction.

“La Rêverie is gobsmacking,” Jonathan Rendell, Deputy Chairman and Senior Advisor of Christie’s America, tells Galerie. “It’s so beautiful—every single thing thought through and maintained through a level of perfection. It’s just extraordinary.”

A pair of late Louis XVI ormolu-mounted and brass inlaid ebony meubles d'appui echoes the estate's cream, black, and brass color palette devised by Peter Marino. Photo: Sargent Photography

Built over four years, La Rêverie was completed in 2001, at which time Miller retained Peter Marino to cultivate the striking interiors. Across the ten-bedroom home’s three stories, the famed architect and designer blended an insightful array of decorative arts with a museum-quality trove of art.

“As a collector, Sydell Miller has demonstrated that she has amazing taste and is willing to indulge it,” says Rendell. “Things were placed very, very carefully, so that you really get slices of the collection everywhere you look. You don’t just see a thing, you see two or three things, you see a conversation, you see why things were put in conversation with each other. And in the decorative arts, you see this very clever use of the idea of avant garde.”

A pair of late Louis XVI ormolu-mounted and brass inlaid ebony meubles d'appui which will appear in Christie's upcoming La Rêverie: The Collection of Sydell Miller sales. Photo: Sargent Photography

The installation of “gutsy” 18th-century decorative arts, as Rendell describes them, informs the residence’s palette of cream and black, punctuated with bold pops of bronze. In the grand living space overlooking the water, Marino and Miller mixed dynamic items, including a pair of circa-1790 brass-inlaid ebony meubles d’appui by Etienne Levasseur. Contemporary pieces by François-Xavier Lalanne sit in tandem with other items from the Art Deco or Louis XV periods.

Interiors

Tour the 2021 Kips Bay Decorator Show House Palm Beach

“There are these quite formal rooms that are ‘intake of breath’ rooms—you walk in and you think, ‘Wow, this is magical.’ But not very far away, there is somewhere you can put your feet up and where her grandchildren could be,” Rendell says. “It was a very much a family home as well as a formal entertaining space.”

A sweeping view of La Rêverie's grand Peter Marino-designed living area with views out to the ocean. Photo: Sargent Photography

“There are some things with the most exquisite upholstery that will make you gasp—like chairs in couture”

Jonathan Rendell, Christie’s America

Approximately 200 furniture pieces from Miller’s collection is being offered in a live event on June 10, a sale which will feature such outstanding items as a rare Francois-Xavier Lalanne table of seven free-standing elephant sculptures, made of patinated bronze, hoisting an octagonal glass tabletop on a canopy of branches, as well as an ormolu-mounted center table that belonged to Ange-Laurent de La Live de Jully, a noteworthy French collector in the mid-18th century consider to be one of the foremost proponents of early Neoclassicism in France.

Additionally a number of Peter Marino designs, customized for La Rêverie, will also be on the block. “He himself is a great collector of Baroque bronzes,” Rendell says of Marino. “His interest in surface, in finish, all of those things really come to maturity in the interior of La Rêverie. There are some things with the most exquisite upholstery that will make you gasp—like chairs in couture.”

This rare ‘Elephant’ center table (2001) by Francois-Xavier Lalanne is estimated to bring between $1 million and $1.5 million at Christie's upcoming La Rêverie: The Collection of Sydell Miller sale. Photo: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2021

Adding to the prestige of each and every room was an unparalleled assortment of art. A number of great works will be brought to market in Christie’s 20th Century Art Evening Sale on May 11, with additional lots offered in the Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale and Post-War & Contemporary Art Day and Morning Sales. Included in the lots coming to the auction block will be Joan Miró’s 1969 bronze sculpture Femme (Femme debout) which is estimated to realize $7 million to $10 million. Other notable pieces up for sale will be Jean Dubuffet’s large-scale painting Baigneuses (1950) and Joan Mitchell’s 1989 painting Rain, each estimated to bring around $5 million at auction.

Baigneuses (1950) by Jean Dubuffet from La Rêverie: The Collection of Sydell Miller. Photo: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2021

This isn’t the first time pieces from Miller’s vast holdings have come to market at Christie’s. In May 2017, the house hosted an auction of property from the Cleveland Clinic and Miller, who underwent major heart surgery at the hospital, donated eight works to the sale. The pieces by Louise Bourgeois, Marc Chagall, Jean Dubuffet, Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, Roy Lichtenstein, Marino Marini, and Pablo Picasso garnered $67,220,000. It was just one of many major contributions Miller has made to the hospital, which today includes the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Pavilion as well as the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute.

This latest auction is just the next step as Miller transitions into a remarkable new home. “It’s a very admirable spirit of moving on and moving up,” Rendell says of the upcoming sales. “There’s a bit of glamour for everybody. It’s a fun way of changing the way you live. You can’t wear the outfit, but you can outfit the house.”

Rain (1989) diptych by Joan Mitchell from La Rêverie: The Collection of Sydell Miller. Photo: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2021

View Slideshow

A Look Inside La Rêverie and the Remarkable Collection of Sydell Miller

Cover: The Palm Beach oceanfront manse La Rêverie.
Photo: Sargent Photography

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