This Small Paris Apartment Is Filled to the Brim With Art


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.

“I love to go to flea markets,” Frédérique says. “I think about the new [Carel] collections and pick up items that inspire me.”

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.

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