This Small Paris Apartment Is Filled to the Brim With Art

·4 min read

Once you step inside Frédérique Picard’s Paris apartment in the 10th arrondissement it’s easy to see that she knows a thing or two about collecting art. Almost every bit of wall space, nook, and shelf is adorned with paintings, prints, and sculptures. “When I got my first salary at 21, I didn’t buy a pair of shoes,” Frédérique says, “I went to an auction and bought my first sculpture, which was 80% of my salary.” The piece, two halves of a violin in gold copper that sit in her living room, was just the beginning of a lifelong passion.

As the director of the long-established French women’s footwear and leather goods brand Carel, Frédérique is constantly thinking about art and design. Both the shoes and her home can be described as classic but full of energy and youth. “My collection has to do with boldness,” she says. “The same energy is in Carel.”

Sitting on the shelf and the arm of the sofa are the two halves of a violin, the first sculpture Frédérique purchased. This piece is by Arman, a French-born American artist, who is best known for his Accumulations, and the destruction and recomposition of objects. “He made a lot with cars, bikes, and motorcycles crushed in accidents,” Frédérique says. Other artworks on the wall are by Peter Klasen, Jacques Monory, Damien Hirst, and Iris Levasseur.
Sitting on the shelf and the arm of the sofa are the two halves of a violin, the first sculpture Frédérique purchased. This piece is by Arman, a French-born American artist, who is best known for his Accumulations, and the destruction and recomposition of objects. “He made a lot with cars, bikes, and motorcycles crushed in accidents,” Frédérique says. Other artworks on the wall are by Peter Klasen, Jacques Monory, Damien Hirst, and Iris Levasseur.
“I love to go to flea markets,” Frédérique says. “I think about the new [Carel] collections and pick up items that inspire me.” The two colorful drawings are by M.Salmani.
“I love to go to flea markets,” Frédérique says. “I think about the new [Carel] collections and pick up items that inspire me.” The two colorful drawings are by M.Salmani.

Right past the front door, a large yellow and white painting takes up nearly an entire wall. Like an ideal host-museum docent, Frédérique can share a number of details about the artist—Claude Viallat—the backstory, the Supports/Surfaces movement in the 1970s, and the material—industrial tarp. “I like the art to be not too formal or not too straight. Not too determined—I like improvisation,” she says.

The massive painting in the dining room is by a favorite artist of Frédérique’s, Joël Degbo.
The massive painting in the dining room is by a favorite artist of Frédérique’s, Joël Degbo.

The furniture throughout the apartment consists primarily of flea market finds that are striking in their own ways—many pieces are made of solid wood and neutral colors—yet don’t detract from the art. In the dining room, for example, a massive painting of a park plaza at night perfectly interacts with the parquet floors, the large wood table, and sturdy wood chairs. The large work, by the young artist Joël Degbo, was one that Frédérique spent years thinking about. “Joël is one of the best diplomats of the Beaux-Arts [school] in Paris,” she says. “I met him five years ago and had a crush on him. He made the painting and it was too huge, so I said I’d get in touch again when I moved.” Sure enough, when she moved into her apartment, Frédérique called him up. Joël brought the painting in a roll and set it up directly on the wall.

The red plastic statue called Worldview Model III is by German artist Ottmar Hörl.
The red plastic statue called Worldview Model III is by German artist Ottmar Hörl.
Portraits are a favorite of Frédérique’s. Some of the artists in her collection: Françoise Pétrovitch, Djamel Tatah, and Tsuguharu Foujita.
Portraits are a favorite of Frédérique’s. Some of the artists in her collection: Françoise Pétrovitch, Djamel Tatah, and Tsuguharu Foujita.
Frédérique previously lived in the elegant and very historic Marais district. “Here, in the 10th arrondissement, it’s very creative,” she says. “There is a lot of energy, a lot of startups, and different vibrations. I like that it’s new, trendy, and a little shabby.”
Frédérique previously lived in the elegant and very historic Marais district. “Here, in the 10th arrondissement, it’s very creative,” she says. “There is a lot of energy, a lot of startups, and different vibrations. I like that it’s new, trendy, and a little shabby.”

“I love young artists and painters,” Frédérique says. “I’m very keen on going to each graduation of [​​École des Beaux-Arts]. They are the talent of tomorrow.” Of course she still loves going to auctions too. “I like the atmosphere,” she says. “You can be into the sales and forget to say no—you have to be steady on your [feet]… A lot of people are afraid of the auction, I love the thrill.”

“I love being in the Carel showroom because it’s so inspiring, but I also love being at home,” Frédérique says. She relishes in the energy of being in the physical store, but recharges in her apartment and country home in the south of France.
“I love being in the Carel showroom because it’s so inspiring, but I also love being at home,” Frédérique says. She relishes in the energy of being in the physical store, but recharges in her apartment and country home in the south of France.
The common theme that dominates Frédérique’s art collection is the human form. “It’s almost always about human figures and sometimes animals. Everything is oriented by human figures, primarily ladies,” she says.
The common theme that dominates Frédérique’s art collection is the human form. “It’s almost always about human figures and sometimes animals. Everything is oriented by human figures, primarily ladies,” she says.

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest

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