Published: April 2018
When the fashion designer Valentino bought a 17th century chateau outside of Paris, there was only one person he considered to design the interiors: Henri Samuel. During an illustrious career that spanned seven decades, Samuel created rarified and beautiful environments for his jet-set clientele. Doris Duke, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, and multiple Rothschilds entrusted Samuel with their historically significant residences and important collections. Such was his expertise that museums such as Versailles and the Metropolitan Museum of Art consulted him on the installation of period rooms. Samuel was a master at reproducing intimate rooms in various historic styles in addition to mixing those styles in an erudite way: modernist paintings were installed over Empire consoles, Louis XIII furniture shared space with Oriental objects, Neoclassical chairs were placed beside commissioned tables of brass and Plexiglas. In Samuel's own Faubourg Saint-Honore apartment, the decorator combined contemporary designs by Guy de Rougement, Cesar, Philippe de Hiquiliy, and Diego Giacometti with fine antiques to electric effect. This book records Samuel's life, his career, and the luxurious interiors he created for his clients and himself - rooms that look as fresh and alive today as they did when they were first arranged.
"Where clothes are concerned, the only person I trust is Balenciaga," Mary de Rothschild once said. "The same goes for Henri Samuel in the field of decoration."