Christie’s Art Deco and French Midcentury Design Auction

Christie’s New York will hold its mid-season sale of 20th Century Decorative Art and Design on March 26, 2009. The 105 lot sale offers a wide range of high quality and affordable objects and furniture by well-known makers from the 20th century, featuring works by Tiffany Studios, Koloman Moser, Franco Albini, Jean Prouvé, Frank Gehry, Shiro Kuramata and Marc Newson, Paul Dupré-Lafon and Eugène Printz.

Leading the furniture offerings are works by Paul Dupré-Lafon and Eugène Printz. Among the highlights is a stained oak low table by Paul Dupré-Lafon, 1940s (estimate: $200,000-300,000), and a palmwood and oxidized brass doublesided desk, 1930s by Eugène Printz (estimate: $150,000-200,000). Printz’s work embodies outstanding craftsmanship and innovation, and this desk is a prime example of his highly specialized use of palmwood.

One of the 20th century’s most important and influential designers, Jean Prouvé designed mass-producible, utilitarian objects to meet the real needs of a broader clientele. The demountable chair is an iconic piece within his oeuvre and this sale will offer four lacquered steel and plywood demountable chairs, 1948-1954 (estimate: $12,000-15,000). This design exemplifies Prouvé’s ability to implement an avant-garde artistic approach in designing functional, easily produced furniture.

auction highlights also include exquisite pieces by modern craftsmen such as George Nakashima and Sam Maloof. Dating from the second half of the 20th century is a selection of hand-crafted furniture by Nakashima from various private collectors who purchased the pieces directly from the workshop in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Nakashima’s work combined the influence of the Arts & Crafts movement with his deep reverence for nature. Among the works offered is a Walnut Bench, 1964 (estimate: $22,000-28,000). The beautiful figure and color variation of the wood used for this bench, coupled with the free edge and butterfly joint, reflect Nakashima’s desire to create functional furniture while respecting the natural form of the timber. Sam Maloof is represented by the original pair of walnut armchairs he created in 1946 (estimate: $15,000-25,000). Commissioned by the prominent artist, Millard Sheets, which these arm chairs ultimately became Maloof’s most popular models.

The sale will also include a group of glassworks by renowned Art Deco designer René Lalique and includes a rare turquoise tête de paon mascot (estimate: $20,000-30,000). Other notable highlights are a group of exquisite Art Nouveau glassworks by the French factory Daum and Emile Gallé from the Collection of the late Dr. Simon Pinhas and Mrs. Paula Pinhas. The works offered demonstrate the wide variety and quality of Daum’s production with estimates ranging from $1,500-18,000, and include an acid-etched wheel-carved vase, circa 1893 (estimate: $3,000-5,000).

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