Charles & Marie-Laure De Noailles

CHARLES AND MARIE-LAURE DE NOAILLES (1891 - 1981 ; 1902 - 1970)


For half a century, Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles supported the artistic avant-garde and led, in Paris as in Hyères, an ardent existence. They quickly developed their own style and established themselves as the most active and interesting sponsors of their time. MyStudiolo traces the life of this couple of patrons with lavishness as inexhaustible as eclectic in:

6 key dates 4 artworks 3 anecdotes 1 quote

1923 Even though they may not love each other in true love, the richest heiress in France, Marie-Laure Bischoffsheim, and Viscount Charles de Noailes married in Grasse. Marie-Laure had an overprotected childhood and was very bored. Charles descends from a long line of aristocrats and is tired of these old stories. So one thing particularly unites them: the desire for modernity.

1924 With a keen eye and forerunner in his pictorial choices, Charles was the first French collector to acquire a painting by Paul Klee then little known in Paris. At that time, the painter Piet Mondrian had no French collector willing to acquire his paintings, except the viscount who bought the Composition with gray and black the following year.

1925 The Noailles decided to build a functional villa in Hyères, the first modern-style construction carried out in France. Its cubic realization is entrusted to the architect Mallet-Stevens. The couple of patrons puts their fortune and their network at the service of art in all its facets (art, cinema, literature, dance ...) and receives in the villa Saint-Bernard Gide, Dali, Giacometti, Buñuel...

1927 The couple rehabilitates the Hotel Bischoffsheim in Paris, in a baroque and precious style. The end of the work carried out by the decorator Jean-Michel Franck is celebrated with a costume ball, which has become the signature of the Noailles. The hotel is home to Cranach, Goya, Watteau and Rembrandt. The set is quickly enriched with modern paintings. Gifted by Charles to his wife, a Picasso's smallest painting kicks off.

1948 In the excitement of the new post-war pictorial movements, the Noailles remained perceptive when buying a painting by Nicolas de Staël. The couple led an intensive policy of acquisition: Chagall, Derain, Braque, Léger, Klee ... From collectors, the Noailles turned into patrons, taking advantage of their sumptuous evenings to launch artists.

1970 The couple had moved away for many years. Marie-Laure had stayed in Hyères supporting artists such as Balthus, César or the filmmaker Clémenti. Charles, less mundane, expresses himself through the flowers and the gardens of his house in Grasse. When Marie-Laure died in 70, he sold the villa Saint-Bernard to the municipality of Hyères, in the hope that it would become a cultural center. The last gesture of patronage from Noailles.

Pablo Picasso, The tree house, 1919

César, compression ZIM, 1960

Salvador Dali, Portrait of the viscountess of Noailles, 1932

Balthus, Marie-Laure de Noailles, 1937


  • More in sight than her husband, Marie-Laure shines in Paris, where, as a fashion icon, she promotes Coco Chanel or Elsa Schiaparelli. Also, it lends its features to so many artists that Jean Hugo, to describe it, refers to his portrait painters: "She had the beautiful face with the large pure forehead that Picasso drew, the hands, wisely placed on his knees, that Balthus painted, the amused eye, under the plaintive eyebrow, that Bérard saw. "

  • Both collectors and sponsors, they support certain artists with regular purchases or provide them with monthly income. They often render it services as exceptional as disinterested. The viscount thus stands surety for Balthus when he buys his house and Marie-Laure gives his Zil to César so that he can do his first car compression.

  • Classified as a historic monument, the Villa Noailles is transformed into an art center where multidisciplinary festivals have been organized since 2003, such as the International Fashion and Photography Festival. A vocation faithful to the spirit of the place which retains the imprint of the couple, and the many artists who have stayed there.

« I am double. Both Marie-Laure and the Viscountess of Noailles. »

Marie-Laure de Noailles

Discover the Villa Noailles in Hyères

© 2020 par MyStudiolo

Mentions légales