Interiors icon Samuel ‘was like a king’

Samuel’s work at the Los Angeles home of late Univision billionaire A. Jerrold Perenchio where priceless artworks were paired with Louis XV commodes

In her new book, Emily Evans Eerdmans looks at the enduring legacy of tastemaking pioneer Henri Samuel

I always admired his perfect taste,” acclaims Hubert de Givenchy, the legendary couturier who had many friends and clients in common with Henri Samuel. Samuel brought this “perfect taste” to his work, expertly and elegantly interpreting historical styles for contemporary living. He was proud that there was no so-called Samuel style, that one couldn’t instantly identify his hand in a room.

It was more important that the interiors he created reflected his clients’ personality and functioned as a life-enhancing backdrop. Samuel had a passion for living well and an interest in contemporary life that infused his work with a sense of both well-being and dynamism. This resulted in the landmark decoration of his Pompeiian-red salon, which has become a highly influential twentieth century interior. It is considered pioneering for its pairing of classic French high style with contemporary design for an overall effect that continues to surprise and dazzle.

For a designer who delighted in the past but embraced the present, it is fitting that both his ...

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