Hamptons Edition Design

This Summer, a TV Executive Turned Design Tastemaker Brings Her Favorite Objects Out East

Portrait of Sheila Bouttier by Timothy O’Connell. All images courtesy of Bouttier and Galerie Provenance.

Sheila Bouttier can't seem to sit still. The former TV executive darts on and off screen during our video call in search of items from around her Los Angeles home to show me. The objets d’art, vintage treasures, and assorted antiques she finds and gingerly rotates for the camera are the latest offerings from Galerie Provenance, an interior design “experience” she founded in 2017 and operates out of her house, as well as an annex in Inglewood. Shown by appointment only, her bespoke curations have earned a cult following in just a few years—and this summer, she’s expanding to the East Coast with two pop-ups.

She speaks enthusiastically—near-encyclopedically—about her finds. “I've really gotten into Hugo Elmqvist,” she says, holding up a bronze vessel by the preeminent Swedish Art Nouveau sculptor. “He patented his own casting method in 1902 and began working in bronze. I love how the patina ages and evolves.” She cites French designer Charlotte Perriand and Danish sculptor Arne Bang as current crushes, as well as Swedish furnituremaker Axel Einar Hjorth. “Sweden has a lot of lakes and, therefore, a lot of lakehomes,” she says. “Axel created a line of pine furnishings in the 1930s for these homes, each named after an island in the Stockholm archipelago. They’re extremely collected today.”

Photography by Stephen Kent/Johnson/Otto. 

Bouttier also seeks out humbler objects by unknown makers. She lifts what she calls a root bowl made sometime in the 1800s and another rustic dish dating to 1747, whose split burl wood has been repaired, if unceremoniously, with a large metal staple. Art or craft, attributed or not, Bouttier likens her taste to “a well-balanced diet.” “You don’t want to eat just one thing all the time,” she continues. “The beauty is in the mix of patinas, materials, makers, and, of course, provenance.”

A second career in design represented an unlikely turn for the veteran television executive behind mega-hit talk shows like The Tyra Banks Show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Yet, after more than two decades in daytime showbiz, she decided to bid adieu to the business in the mid-2010s, around the same time she began construction on her Brentwood home. “We were building a house with the amazing architect William Hefner,” she recalls. “I had never considered my interior design voice, but we were building this beautiful home, and I realized I had to discover what that is.” So she used her “producorial skills” from her career in TV to tell the stories behind these objects.“They’re so full of stories; they have life and soul,” she says. “I started studying them and eventually turned that passion into Galerie Provenance.”


Bouttier’s own story—her personal provenance, if you will—offers a clue to her newfound design affinity. “I come from a very creative, artistic family,” she says. “My dad’s a concert pianist, my uncle was a Juilliard-trained concert cellist, and my mom was in the theater.” Add to that her grandfather, Benjamin Abramowitz, a prolific multimedia artist with a career spanning seven decades. His works can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Phillips Collection, as well as with Bouttier.

“I grew up surrounded by his art and loved it very much. It’s art you want to live with,” she says. When she sees clients in her home, she places her wares in situ, among her grandfather’s oeuvre. “It’s so magical when people come into the house to view a bowl or a chair and say, ‘What is this painting? Who’s the artist?’ They really fall in love with his works.”


This summer, Bouttier is headed to the Hamptons with two events. First, she’s collaborating with Sag Harbor design shop the 1818 Collective on an exhibition of her grandfather’s paintings, works on paper, and small sculptures through Labor Day. And through the month of July, she’s bringing her home-gallery concept to Bridgehampton with an appointment-only pop-up shop in a private home.

“I found a lovely home that’s clean and, simple, with a very beautiful palette,” she says. “It’s very similar to how I work now—intimate, one-on-one.” She plans to bring furniture and objects by her faves: Perriand, Hjorth, Bang, and Elmqvist, among others. “I thought, Wouldn’t it be great to bring some of them to the East Coast, where people can come in and see the pieces in a realistic setting? It really makes a home feel like a home.”

Photography by Stephen Kent/Johnson/Otto. 


This summer in Sag Harbor, a selection of works by Sheila Bouttier’s grandfather, the acclaimed artist Benjamin Abramowitz, are on display at 1818 Collective. The selling exhibition of nearly two dozen items—paintings, works on paper, and small sculptures—is curated by the design shop’s founders Analisse Taft-Gersten and Kristin Fine, in collaboration with Bouttier and Galerie Provenance. Born in Brooklyn in 1917, Abramowitz quickly earned a spot as one of the most prolific artists of the 20th century. By only 35, his pieces had been featured in 13 solo shows in prestigious museums and galleries, predominantly around Washington, DC, where he based his practice. His body of work ranged from Realism to Impressionism to Abstraction—steeped in Modernism, but resisting categorization.“He created art his entire life,” recalls Bouttier, his only grandchild. “Because he worked for so long, there’s a wonderful breadth to the items he created. People are blown away by the variety of his output.”