New York’s June Design Auctions
The Phillips Design sale presented a survey of important design to a full bidding room at its Park Avenue showroom. Solid results were achieved for many of the sale’s highlights with the stand out being the Important unique “Giardino Settecentesco” wardrobe from Piero Fornasetti’s master bedroom, Villa Fornasetti, Varenna, circa 1954 which sold for $179,000 over twice the high estimate. Works by sought-after designers, Rod Arad and Marc Newson, achieved a 100% sell through rate confirming the market for contemporary design.
“This sale built on the record-breaking results achieved in our April sale in London and we look forward to continuing to champion the finest design and decorative arts from the 20th and 21st centuries into our fall season.” Alexander Payne, Senior Director and Worldwide Head, Design.
Sotheby’s New York sale of Important 20th Century Design totaled a strong $4,738,940, nearly reaching its pre-sale high estimate of $5 million. American modern design led the sale with multiple, persistent bidders competing for an important and rare coffee service designed by Paul Lobel circa 1934. A prototype of this tea set was included in the Contemporary American Industrial Art exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in 1934.
Estate property was also sought after today with an extensive 162 piece flatware service by Claude Lalanne coming from the Collection of David C. Copley, La Jolla, California more than doubling its high estimate and fetching $185,000 (est. $70/90,000). Harry Bertoia’s Sound Sculpture circa 1970 coming from the Collection of Milton Ginsburg sold for $106,250 (est. $60/80,000).
Wright presented a standalone auction featuring masterworks by Harry Bertoia from the Standard Oil commission. In 1974, at the base of Edward Durell Stone’s modernist structure on Chicago’s lakefront, Harry Bertoia composed the largest installation of sounding sculptures. The 16 lots comprised Bertoia’s monumental outdoor installation for the building, bringing in a total sale of about $1 million. “Bertoia is one of our long-running favorite artists,” says proprietor Richard Wright.
Highlights at Rago included the firm’s specialties, Nakashima, Evans, Powell, and organic craft design. “The sale as a whole did very well, hammering at 98% of its aggregate low estimate,” said David Rago. “Modern ceramics performed exceedingly well, setting more than a few new records for artist like the Scheiers and Turner.” Edwin and Mary Scheier Monumental Footed Vase drew a record-setting $21,250.
The week ended with its high at Christie’s, where the 20th-century Decorative Arts & Design sale brought $8 million. François-Xavier Lalanne’s 1975 Moutons De Laine, from the property of Andy Williams: An American Legend, provided the design department with its top lot. In a tenacious fight between a phone client and an auto bidder, the flock of six wool, wood, and aluminum sheep soared to a price of $987,750 on a $700,000 high.
Still, Tiffany dominated at Christie’s. In addition to the single owner sale, Masterworks by Tiffany Studios: A Sutton Place Collection, the Important 20th Century Decorative Art & Design sale also offered nearly 30 lots of Tiffany. Led by the 1905 ‘Snowball’ Table which sold for $459,750, the combined 57 lots yielded just over $2 million.