When Swiss corporate lawyer Martin Hatebur first moved to Paris over 21 years ago – with a newfound passion for art collecting in tow – he landed in the perfect apartment overlooking the Seine.
The first work he acquired, a Christopher Wool painting of flowers on paper, still has pride of place in the flat. (Not bad for a first purchase, either.) Since then, his collecting has only increased, and along the way, Hatebur became president of the Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland’s oldest and most active space for contemporary art. Additionally, he also sits on the board for the recently opened Lafayette Anticipations – the Galeries Lafayette’s art foundation – and on another board for Swiss art collectors. Without question, Hatebur is a man who knows and loves his art.
The typically Parisian apartment is full of windows and light, with spectacular views of the Seine. There are no curtains or shades in any of the public rooms – only specially tinted films to protect all of the art.
When he moved in, Hatebur kept the original floor plan, merely painting and refinishing the floors. Every room is hung with art and filled with pieces from his design collection, which includes works by Prouvé, Perriand, and rare Scandinavian lamps. Asked about sourcing design pieces, the homeowner says, “My first choice is always with galleries: It’s important to make sure everything is right.” He opts for pieces, he adds, “which you can really use and sit on.”
In the dining room, a monastery table is surrounded by chairs by Jean Prouvé and lit from above by a lamp by Danish designer Verner Panton. Hanging on the left wall is a large painting by Joe Bradley, and in the back, a white work by Nick Mauss, both American artists.
Hatebur often sits and works at his desk in the library, which has an entire wall hung with more diminutive art. “I wanted to show all of my smaller works and decided to do this composition, which includes lots of portraits, so I put them all on the floor before hanging.” His favorite room? The kitchen – a somewhat surprising answer. “The views are great everywhere, but from the kitchen, the view is very Parisian,” he explains. “All the gray roofs of Paris.” The grandest views of the river, meanwhile, are afforded by the living room, library, and upstairs master bedroom.
Although the apartment is teeming with art, Hatebur still keeps several works in storage, “a must, since I want to keep buying.” His favorite piece in the apartment is his first, the painting by Christopher Wool. “I think it is very important to collect what you like and not for investment purposes,” he says, going on to offer a bit of advice for first-time buyers. “People need to understand that this is art and that there are people behind the art, so they should treat them with respect – the primary thought about the collection is about the art and the artists.” It is little surprise, then, that Hatebur is friends with many artists and his favorite piece is the first one he bought – some two decades ago.
High Above the Seine, a Paris Aerie with a Cache of MasterworksView Slideshow
The main salon is anchored by a major work by the British artists Gilbert George. The white paintings to the left of that are by the Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone and the daybed is by Jean Prouvé. The flower work, to the left of the doorway, is by Christopher Wool, and is the first major work of art purchased by Hatebur.