Cover Sydell Miller in La Rêverie, Palm Beach, 1970 (Photo: Courtesy of Sydell Miller)

In this exclusive interview with Tatler, beauty mogul and co-founder of Matrix Essentials, Sydell Miller talks about her venture into art collecting and why she's auctioning off some of her Palm Beach estate collection at Christie's

It might seem an unlikely combination, but for Sydell Miller, beauty and art go hand-in-hand. The beauty mogul is the co-founder of Matrix Essentials, the largest manufacturer of professional hair and beauty products in the US. But besides building her beauty empire, Miller, who is now retired, is also a known philanthropist and art collector.

Miller is once again putting up her legendary art and furniture collection for auction. Christie's is offering a US$30 million collection from Miller's Peter Marino-designed estate in Palm Beach during its 20th and 21st Century Week from May 11–14 for the paintings and sculptures while another dedicated auction on June 10, titled La Revêrie: The Collection of Sydell Miller is for the 18th-century French furniture pieces. The beauty queenpin sold the estate for US$105 million in 2019 to move to a new luxury condominium tower nearby.

Her collection boasts pieces from artists such as Joan Miró, Henry Moore and Joan Mitchell. Ahead of the upcoming auction, Miller tells Tatler about her venture into art collecting, philanthropy and why choosing her favourite art piece is almost impossible.

See also: Artist Elaine Chiu On Her New Solo Exhibition And Preserving Hong Kong's Urban Identity

Can you tell us how you got into art collecting?

From a young age, I loved going to museums, galleries and art shows with my parents and later with my husband and my family. I loved the beauty of the objects I got to see, both decorative furniture and objects of art. Later, I was fortunate to be able to collect wonderful pieces which I fell in love with. Throughout my career, my aim was always to promote individual expression and creativity, helping the salons and their customers achieve their full potential and self-worth. For me, living with beauty enriched my soul.

In choosing the art pieces that you collect, do you for a particular style or artist that you look for?

I collect pieces I love. Each piece I collect speaks to me in a language of art and design and always excited me when I saw them for the first time. Even today these pieces still make my heart flutter with joy. I never collected from just one period in time or style. Always collected things that I connected to through their beauty. I believe important design and art is eternal and stands the test of time.

Why did you decide to auction off items from your estate?

My grandchildren are grown up so I decided to move to an apartment (also in Palm Beach), and I don’t need all of the facilities of the house.

See also: Art Collectors William And Lavina Lim On Donating Nearly 100 Artworks To M+

La Rêverie has so many remarkable decors, furniture and art pieces, what are some of your favourite ones?

That’s almost’s like choosing a favourite child, you can’t do it. But if you insist, I'll name a couple of items from my collection.

The Joan Mitchell painting – it's powerful and exudes such joy. It was the centrepiece of so many happy occasions in my home where it hung in my family room. In modern design, the Claude Lalanne pieces like the pair of Sphinx sculptures which introduce a popular 18th-century theme and relate to the French Furniture.

Lastly, the Louis XVI console table, by Adam Weisweiler. With its sinuous and graceful lines, powerful colour combination of gold and black, and well-balanced proportions, this table is elegant, avant-garde and luxurious at the same time.

How do you feel about working with Christie's again for this upcoming auction?

The team at Christie’s is so wonderful to work with. I feel like Christie’s has assembled the dream team to make it all so easy and I know they love and care for my pieces like I do and will help to find new homes for everything I couldn’t fit into my new, smaller home. The team is so professional and the specialists have such a passion that comes through when working with them.

See also: Items From Kenzo Takada's Paris Apartment Up For Auction This May 2021


How has your art collection comforted you during the pandemic?

Being around beautiful paintings and decorative objects in the comfort of my personal spaces brings beauty and calm into my life every day. The blessings of every day don’t escape me. I have gratitude for each day.

Besides being an entrepreneur, you’re also a well-known philanthropist, can you tell us more about that?

Philanthropy and giving back has been a way of life and was ingrained in me from the time I was a very small child. From saving coins for charities to sharing food with others. I also have given my time and my ideas which is also important to organizations, by volunteering sitting on boards and committees and mentoring our next generations.

I have given passionately and with great honour to many organizations. I have always believed in doing my part to lead by example and make a difference for all.

See also: How Jeff Rotmeyer Is Creating Positive Change With His Charities Impact HK And Love 21

Sydell Miller's painting and sculptures will be offered for auction from May 11–14 while her furniture collection is hitting the auction block on June 10 in a live auction. For more details, please visit Christie's website.