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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Christie’s March 8 auction of 20th Century Decorative Art & Design offers Viennese Secessionism collection

Christie’s sale of 20th Century Decorative Art & Design on March 8 will be highlighted by a collection of Viennese Secessionism from the Hollywood home of Ron Bernstein, and will include approximately 40 works by Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser and Eugene Gaillard, among others. Other sale highlights include French Art Nouveau Glass including pieces from the Pinhas Collection, lamps by Tiffany Studios, and decorative works from the Art Deco, Mid-Century and Contemporary movements. With approximately 180 lots, the sale is expected to generate in excess of $1.3 million.

Eugene Printz (1889-1948), a mahogany bookcase, circa 1932. Estimate: $8,000-12,000. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd 2012

The Collection of Ron Bernstein
Ron Bernstein caught a passion for Viennese Secessionism after a pivotal trip to Vienna in the mid-1990s. Once a seasoned and accomplished collector of Arts and Crafts, in a startling turnabout, he set aside his exemplary collection and reinvented his Hollywood bungalow as a wondrous enclave of fin-de-siècle Vienna. With the help of a newly acquired collection of books on the Vienna Secession, Bernstein poured over pictures and studied texts in order to master the period and subsequently launched a meticulous and determined search for exactly the right furnishings to fulfill his new vision. Co-founded in 1897 by Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann and Josef Maria Olbrich, the Vienna Secession comprised a group of progressive Austrian artists who were dissatisfied with the traditional academy and its strict embrace of the past. Bernstein’s particular interest was the handicraft of the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop), a direct offshoot of the Secession established in 1902 by Josef Hoffmann and Klimt.

Bernstein’s collection incorporates a wide range of the period’s work, such as carpets, furniture, metalwork, glass, ceramics and graphic design. Examples of the work of the earlier years of the Werkstätte and the Secessionist period, between the turn of the century to around 1915, with its telltale flattened and structured geometric motifs include a pair of upholstered brass and stained bentwood armchairs, designed in 1901 by Koloman Moser (1868-1918) (estimate: $8,000-12,000) and a pair of leather and stained bentwood side chairs, designed for the Kabaret Fledermaus, Vienna, circa 1907, by Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956) (estimate: $2,000-3,000).

A brass table lamp, designed 1919 by Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956) (estimate: $25,000-35,000) a hammered brass and opalescent glass hanging chandelier, circa 1902 attributed to Koloman Moser (1868-1918) (estimate: $30,000-50,000) are exemplary of the avant-garde and iconoclastic spirit of Vienna at this time. Functional clarity and simplified shapes and surfaces are apparent in a hand-knotted wool carpet, circa 1910 from the school of Josef Hoffmann (estimate: $5,000-8,000) and a set of five walnut and stained wood nesting tables, circa 1913 by Eugene Gaillard (1862-1932) (estimate: $15,000-20,000).

French Art Nouveau Glass and Tiffany
The sale includes a selection of more than 30 works of French Art Nouveau Glass, including pieces from the Pinhas Collection, Los Angeles, and a private collection from the Midwest. Highlights from the Midwest Collection include two works by Daum – a wheel-carved, vitrified and etched glass vase, circa 1910 (estimate: $15,000-20,000), and an acid-etched and wheel-carved glass vase, circa 1893 (estimate: $3,000-5,000). Tiffany Studios has a strong representation in the sale with a ‘Daffodil’ leaded glass and bronze table lamp, circa 1910 (estimate: $60,000-90,000) and a ‘Peony’ leaded glass and bronze table lamp, circa 1910 (estimate: $80,000-120,000).

Art Deco
Among the Art Deco works in the sale are two inventive lots by Eugene Printz (1889-1948), a mahogany bookcase, circa 1932 (estimate: $8,000-12,000) and a leather and mahogany desk, circa 1930 (estimate: $7,000-9,000), that employ his use of rounded forms and selective volume.

A selection of Mid-Century works are offered including a group by Jacques Adnet (1900-1984) led by a leather and brass rocking chair, circa 1950 (estimate: $3,000-5,000), and Paimio Scroll a birch bentwood armchair, by Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) designed 1931-32 (estimate: $10,000-15,000).

Highlighting the contemporary design works in the sale is a charming Pomme Bouche gilt-bronze sculpture by Claude Lalanne (b. 1925) designed 1975, which stands 5¼ inches high (estimate: $12,000-18,000).

Auction: 20th Century Decorative Art & Design, Thursday 8 March 2012
Viewing: 3-7 March 2012

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