Works from a New York Interior

Designed by Thierry Despont, The Client Whisperer

The present lot comes from a Manhattan, New York interior designed by renowned architect and interior designer, Thierry Despont. A charming and gregarious Frenchman, he is beloved by wealthy clients across the globe for his empathetic approach and, in his own words, they come to him “because they know I’m a very good listener. My best clients have always been people who had very strong ideas, and it was my role to hold the pencil.” Trained at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, Paris and Harvard University, his list of projects and clients is astounding in both its size and diversity and includes the Statue of Liberty, The Getty Center, the Ritz Paris, Bill Gates, and Calvin Klein. He is also the recipient of the prestigious Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Letters (1989) and Chevalier, Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur (1999).

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings 1905–1976

Terence Harold Robsjohn-Gibbings was born in England in 1905. While studying architecture at the University of London, Robsjohn-Gibbings was fascinated by the restrained elegance of Greek and Roman art, so he often spent his spare time wandering the galleries of the British Museum. In 1929, he moved to New York where he worked for famed tastemaker Charles Duveen before establishing a career as an independent interior designer in 1936. In 1938, Harper’s Bazaar stated that Robsjohn-Gibbings felt that “the modern should stem from the very ancient,” as he believed that furniture should be steeped in the symmetry and rationality of Greek design. In 1946, Robsjohn-Gibbings had the chance to make his ideals manifest when he was invited to design a line of furniture for Widdicomb Furniture Company. His furniture line was hailed as a triumph by House Beautiful, and his design for a butler’s table was featured in the landmark Good Design exhibit of 1951 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

In addition to working as an interior designer, Robsjohns-Gibbings was also an astute critic of design culture in America and he was noted for his humorous novels like Goodbye, Mr. Chippendale, which poked fun at the American craze for all things antique in interior design. During the 1960s, Robsjohn-Gibbings moved to Athens, the birthplace of classicism, and his apartment overlooked the Parthenon. While living in Greece, Robsjohn-Gibbings designed interiors for both Aristotle Onassis and the Niarchos family. Robsjohn-Gibbings passed away in 1976. He left behind a legacy of classically-derived forms, and his elegant works reside in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, among many others.

Auction Results T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings