Important German Cabinet Leads Christie’s Sale of Furniture, Sculpture and Works of Art

Christie’s announces the sale of 19th Century Furniture, Sculpture, Works of Art and Ceramics on October 20, which will include over 260 lots of opulent gilt furnishings, bronze figures, ivory works of art, Sèvres porcelain, colorful Majolica and other ceramics.

mounted cabinetLeading the furniture section, and also featured on the catalogue cover, is an important German ormolu and Meissen porcelain-mounted cabinet à deux corps, circa 1860 (estimate: $100,000-200,000). This cabinet continues an established tradition of finely-mounted porcelain furnishings, which gained popularity during the third quarter of the 19th century. The cabinet is profusely decorated with porcelain plaques depicting fêtes galantes in the manner of Boucher and Watteau. The main doors open to reveal ten equally ornate porcelain-mounted drawers.

Another notable highlight is an ormolu-mounted tulipwood and marquetry art-case piano (estimate: $60,000-80,000). The adapted 1906 Steinway piano is sinuous in form, set with mother-of-pearl keys and putto-form candelabra set on each side, one elaborately signed and dated by the celebrated ébéniste Joseph-Emmanuel Zwiener.

Among other highlights is a French rosewood vitrine by Edouard Lièvre (estimate $40,000-60,000); a French ormolu and rock-crystal twenty-four light chandelier, from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco sold to benefit the acquisitions fund (estimate: $20,000-30,000); and various lots of sculpture and decorations offered by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, sold to benefit the European Paintings and Sculpture purchase fund, including a German bronze bust of a Nubian, by Arthur Strasser (estimate: $5,000-7,000).

Porcelain & Glass
Featured prominently in the afternoon session of the sale is a wide variety of porcelain and glass including a superb variety of Meissen porcelain. Some of the more elaborate pieces include a whimsical large Meissen model of Count Brühl’s tailor seated astride a billy-goat, late 19th/20th century (estimate: $15,000-20,000); and a group of Meissen Schneeballen tea and coffee wares (estimate: $8,000-12,000) where each piece is applied with mayflowers and birds perched among vines of pink and yellow roses. Equally elaborate is a set of eight Meissen reticulated plates, distinctly painted after Watteau with romantic vignettes at the center. Each plate is embellished with delicate details, down to the pierced edges of trellis and pale-blue forget-me-nots spiraling around the borders (estimate: $12,000-18,000). There is also a set of cobalt-blue reticulated plates painted in the fashion of Boucher that dates to the late 19th /20th century (estimate: $8,000-12,000).

Among the important examples of beautifully hand-painted Sèvres style porcelain vases is an ormolu-mounted pink-ground vase, late 19th/20th century (estimate: $15,000-20,000) signed by Collot. The sale also features a pair of massive ormolu-mounted Sarreguemines sang-de-boeuf ground vases (estimate: $50,000-80,000). Dated circa 1865, the handles and bases are intricately cast with bearded masks and roaring lions among ‘pearls’, complimenting each gilt winged dragon perched on the vases’ centers. Also of note are many sumptuous Berlin (K.P.M.) plaques depicting Orientalist, Academic, Biblical, Shakespearean and genre scenes. Most date to the late 19th century and their estimates range from $3,000 to $35,000.

Image: An Important German ormolu-and Meissen porcelain-mounted cabinet à deux corps, circa 1860. Estimate: $100,000-200,000. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd. 2009.

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