Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Christie’s Announce The Golden Age of Rail Sale


Christie’s announce the sale of souvenirs from the international sleeper-train company, including prints, posters, works of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art, Furniture and Works of Art, Porcelain and Silver, on Tuesday 27 September 2011.

An icon of the Art Deco movement, the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train epitomized the early 20th century voyage, in a time where grace rhymed with elegance. The “Orient-Express” style knew its peak in the 1920s, with the collaboration of artists-decorators such as Prou and René Lalique. With its comfortable cabins, real écrins trimmed thin inlays, and gleaming brasses, the company of the sleeping car porters of the Orient Express, insured the connection between Paris, Vienna, Istanbul and several capitals across Europe, since 1883 and reflected the excellence of 20th century design.
From the Cote d’Azur Pullman Express train, which was in service in 1929, comes several decorative panels in molded white glass, pressed on a silver background, and signed René Lalique; such as two remarkable triptychs with female and male silhouettes along with grape patterns (estimate: €40,000-60,000). Other panels by Lalique are bunches of flowers encased in a sycamore trim (estimates ranging from €7,000 to €35,000).
Catering on board the trains was always of the highest standard, and an example of a set of porcelain tableware, marked with the letters WL, and other dishes in silver gilt metal will be also put to auction at a range of price levels.
The theme of travelling embodied the leisure class of the 1920s and was widely seen in important advertising campaigns and abundant promotional lithographs in color. Examples of these vibrant designs, dating from the late 19th century to the 1930s, will be available at auction: Hyères, la Côte des Maures, 1920, by Julien Lacaze (estimate: €700-1,000), Chemin de fer de Genève by Fréderic Hugo of Alesi (estimate: €500-700), Venise, 1921 by Georges Dorival (estimate: €1,500-2,000).
Iconic slogans depict sleeper trains such as these fine examples of advertisements : Enjoy life, travel in wagon-lits (estimate: €500-700), Save a day – Sleep on way (estimate: €500-700), Sleep well, eat well, enjoy your journey (estimate: €100-150). The second and third classes also benefited from advertising campaigns : Wagon-lits Touriste, avec un billet de 2ème classe, 1960 (estimate: €200-300) and Voyagez en wagons-lits de troisième classe, 1930 (estimate: €200-300).
Many artists were inspired by the railway and we will offer seven works by Theo Van Rysselberghe, amongst them, a portrait of Mister Nagelmacker executive in 1897, who was the founder of the international Company of sleeping cars (estimate: € 70,000-90,000). Several oil sketches, including one for the North-South, Brenner Express poster and another for Ostend Trieste Express are estimated each €80,000-120,000. The contemporary artist, Valerio Adami, signed four works entitled Wagons-lits, estimated each €20,000-30,000 – echoing the work of Pierre Alechinsky, Eduardo Arroyo, Corneilles, Peter Klasen and Jacques Monory.
A set of small-scale models and models will be presented. Amongst them will include three in scale 1 car Pullman lounge, whose panels by René Lalique were decorated floral design (estimate:€ 40,000-60,000), a dining car, furnished with armchairs entitled “bridge”, again with panels ornamented with inlaid design (estimate: €15,000-25,000) and another one with inlaid and mahogany (estimate: €12,000-18,000).

Exhibitions : Friday 23, Saturday 24 and Monday 26 September 2011
Sale : Tuesday 27 September 2011

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