The Estate of Horst Rechelbacher: Founder of Aveda Corporation

The Estate of Horst Rechelbacher: Founder of Aveda Corporation

Included as a session in the October Fine Furniture, Decorative Arts and Silver auction is the Estate of Horst Rechelbacher, founder of the Aveda Corporation and committed environmentalist who changed the world of beauty. "

A pioneer in plant-based personal care and aromatherapy, Horst M. Rechelbacher was a dynamic entrepreneur who excelled in several lifetimes of pursuits including artist, organic farmer, author, speaker and passionate collector.

Born during WWII in Klagenfurt, Austria, Horst worked from the age of 14 in a small neighborhood salon. Undiagnosed dyslexia pushed him to become a creative thinker with a unique perspective for problem solving, leading him to become a hairdresser’s apprentice.

Throughout the 1950s he won countless Junior Hairdressing Championships in Europe, followed by international awards that brought him to New York, Chicago and Minneapolis in his early twenties. After a traumatic car accident in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Horst opened a salon to pay accrued hospital bills. One salon soon became three. In tandem, Horst saw the opportunity to educate stylists on the skill and artistry of hairdressing and the importance of customer service. He created his own apprentice program that later evolved into the Horst Educational Center, which is now referred to as the Aveda Institute.

Extensive traveling in India during the early 1970s exposed Horst to plant medicines, the potency of pure essential oils and seeded his love affair with aromatherapy. In 1978, Horst founded the Aveda Corporation, a global hair, skin and beauty company with a natural and sustainable approach to making products. Nearly two decades later, he sold Aveda to Estée Lauder to pursue a new chapter in his life. He shifted focus to Intelligent Nutrients, a health and beauty company that is centered on 100% food-based, safe, non-toxic and organic ingredients.

Horst and Kiran Stordalen, his partner in life and work, traveled throughout Europe, India and Asia, searching for new product ideas and unique raw materials, all the while finding incredible art and artifacts to bring to their home in Osceola, Wisconsin.

Horst nurtured strong relationships with auction houses in Europe, attending countless auctions in person and by phone. Objects have been hunted, rummaged and ferreted from all corners of the world. Horst’s collection of swords and canes took over 15 years to amass, while his mother-of-pearl inlaid furniture was found in North Africa and India during hot summer bazaars. Some items were salvaged from warehouses in Turkey and India, spending months on a freighter before arriving safely to their final destination.

Horst and Kiran’s collection represents a lifetime of adventures and a deep appreciation for the beauty, art and craftsmanship that can be found everywhere in the world.

The Estate will be featured as a session in the upcoming Fine Furniture, Decorative Arts and Silver auction on October 18-19. View the items here in the online catalogue.