France sells historic antique furniture to raise funds for hospitals

Around the world, governments, charities and individuals have launched a wide range of fundraising efforts to ensure that hospitals and doctors have the resources they need to fight the coronavirus. In France, however, fundraising for hospitals will soon come with the unprecedented opportunity to own truly rare and historic furniture.

French press agency Le Figaro reports that the Mobilier National, the country’s national furniture collection, will auction around 100 pieces of furniture and art objects in order to raise funds for the Foundation of the Hospitals of Paris and of the Hospitals of France September 20 and 21. The auction lot, which was also the subject of a report *Guardian*, should be composed of pieces from the 19th century, with particular emphasis on the reign of Louis Philippe I from 1830 to 1848.

While it is not uncommon for Mobilier National to part with part of its collection at auction, such a two-day auction is a very rare development. The curators of Moblier National will draw up a list and must agree unanimously on each object before it can be put on sale.

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Far from being a massive clearance sale, the batch of a hundred items is just a drop in the bucket for Mobilier National. As the body responsible for equipping the official buildings of France, including the presidential residences of the Élysée Palace, the Mobilier National inventory includes more than 130,000 pieces spanning several centuries and movements of design. In addition, Hervé Lemoine, director of Mobilier National, declared Le Figaro that the items for auction will have little or no heritage value or known association with significant historical figures. In short, their value lies in their age, craftsmanship and aesthetics and, of course, in the fact that they were part of the French national collection.

In addition to allowing individuals to buy the French furniture of yesteryear, Mobilier National will help today’s designers and artisans find work during the pandemic while expanding its archives. In partnership with the French Ministry of Culture, the organization plans to order both new pieces and restoration projects. “Our first action will be to order restoration work for the entire national collection, calling on all craftsmen,” said Lemoine. FranceInfo. “The second will be to set up a special acquisitions committee to which young designers and creators can propose their ideas and projects that we can buy.


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