Piasa’s American Design Auction Showcases Silas Seandel
Furniture by some top names of American modern and contemporary design will go under the hammer at the Paris auction house Piasa on November 9. The sale of about two hundred lots will be the third in a series of stand-alone American design auctions introduced by Piasa’s managing director Frédéric Chambre over the past year.
Star lots include seven pieces by Frank Lloyd Wright, among them a 1954 Heritage Henredon chest of drawers; a striking 1972 Paul Evans sideboard that is a one-off piece in walnut, slate and steel, and an elegant 1969 dining table by the same designer in the same materials. There are also several pieces by the modestly self-styled “woodworker” George Nakashima, among them a 1962 bench estimated and a clean-lined1967 “Frenchman’s Cove II,” dining table. Others represented in the sale include Paul Frankl, Edward J. Wormley, andT.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings, as well as post-war father-and-son team Philip and Kelvin Laverne and the contemporary studio furniture artist Judy Kensley Mckie.
But the core of the auction will be forty one-off pieces by Silas Seandel, a pioneer in the development of metal furniture from utilitarian functional to decorative art status.
A trained sculptor, Seandel opened his Manhattan studio in 1963. One of the first American artists to apply traditional sculptural techniques to furniture, he works mainly with architects and interior designers, crafting bespoke nature-inspired wall decorations, monumental sculptures and art furniture in bronze, steel, copper and other metals, combined with glass for table tops and mirrors. Highlights include a remarkable 1981 metal and resin console table and a small metal table with a layered surface and several entwined branch-like legs standing on a smaller metal base.
Chambre says the bringing together of so many Seandel pieces in one sale “is a first for Europe and the world,” and reflects his development philosophy of taking a fresh look at American, European and Asian designers, re-evaluating rare work and raising the market profile of names that have previously slipped under the radar. “My ambition is to show the universe of a creator,” he said in an interview, “not just the odd piece in a generalist design sale.”