The lamp was the top earner of the nearly 400 lots offered at the auction, held in Windsor, Conn.
(WINDSOR, Conn.) – A vintage 1950s brass floor lamp designed by legendary Italian lighting designer Gino Sarfatti (1912-1984) for Arteluce, the manufacturing firm he founded in 1939, sold for $15,930 at an auction held May 11 by Nadeau’s Auction Gallery, in the firm’s gallery located at 25 Meadow Road. It is believed to be a record price paid for a Sarfatti lamp.
The 80-inch-tall lamp itself was not adjustable, but it had nine white enameled metal shades, each individually adjustable, attached to a solid brass shaft set on a white marble base, signed “Arteluce, Made in Italy” impressed in the brass ring set atop the marble base. It was in overall good condition. The lamp was the top lot of the nearly 400 items that came up for bid.
Gino Sarfatti was entirely self-taught. Between the mid-1930s to the early 1970s, he developed nearly 700 floor lamps, chandeliers, spotlights and other “light fittings,” as he called them. He experimented continuously with new types of light sources and was a pioneer in the use of halogen bulbs, utilizing them as early as 1971. His design creations are highly collectible.
“This was a good auction that was turned into a great auction because of the Sarfatti lamp,” said Ed Nadeau of Nadeau’s Auction Gallery. “We pored over records and documents and were unable to find a lamp that sold for more, so we’re saying, with some reservation, that this is a new world auction record. It certainly got a lot of bidder attention, both live and online.”
Attendance at Nadeau’s gallery numbered between 100 and 150 people, while another 232 bidders registered online, through Artfact.com. They submitted 780 online bids and were the top bidders for 88 of the 348 lots sold. Mr. Nadeau described phone bidding as “stronger than normal” and 100 absentee bidders presented bids as well. “It was a strong sale,” he remarked.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.
The sale was a Mid-Century and Couture Estates Auction, and vintage couture captured the fancy of the assembled throngs. A Jeanne Lanvin Castillo Paris evening gown with beadwork and embroidery hit $1,652, a Pierre Balmain dress mounted with beads and oval stones realized $708, and a Pierre Balmain velvet full-length dress with silk puffy sleeves topped out at $590.
Two Hermes silk scarves, with dogs on each, signed Poret, earned $738. The second top lot of the day wasn’t a Mid-Century or Couture item at all but an antique car – a nicely kept 1975 Mercedes-Benz 450 SL convertible with two tops (one soft and one hard) and just two owners. The silver car, with navy blue interior and 132,000 miles on the odometer, sped off for $4,313.
Two clocks by the renowned Swiss watch and clock maker Jaeger-LeCoultre (founded in 1833 by Antoine LeCoultre and today a subsidiary of the Swiss luxury group Richemont) each claimed new owners. A Hermes clock, not in working condition and with minor chips on the outside, still fetched $1,452, while a clock made of a block and tackle with rope reached $545.
Two lots of Mid-Century Modern chairs rose to nearly identical prices. A pair of Yrjo Kukkapuro black leather lounge chairs with fiberglass bases made by Haimi in Finland went for $1,652, and an American Studio Craft Movement lounge chair (circa 1975) utilizing both solid and laminated bent-ply walnut having a contoured, single-piece seat and back garnered $1,694.
Turning to fine art, a 32 inch by 39 inch oil on canvas rendering of a hunting dog by Bernard de Claviere (Fr., b. 1943), signed lower left by the artist, changed hands for $1,534. De Claviere’s lavish oil paintings, almost all of horses and dogs, have earned him praise as “one of the leading animaliers of this century” by both the Wall Street Journal and Architectural Digest.
An oil on canvas by Australian artist Frederick Arthur Jessup (1920-2007), titled Fleurs de Plage, signed lower left and dated 1964, hammered for $1,089. Jessup was born in Victoria, Australia and studied at the East Sydney Technical College, as well as in Europe. He lived for some time in France and absorbed local influences that are reflected in his later works of art.
In other highlights from the sale, a vintage Seeburg jukebox in working condition with 79 rpm records and two separate speakers breezed to $1,416; a Marantz model 8B stereo tube amplifier with one foot missing from the back corner went to a determined bidder for $2,415; and a Marantz model 10B stereo tuner in playable shape with a teak case gaveled for $1,888.
Nadeau’s Auction Gallery’s next big auction will be held Saturday, June 8, also in the Windsor showroom, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Sold will be American antiques, custom mahogany and Victorian furniture, Oriental rugs, silver, estate jewelry, paintings, decorative accessories and more. Previews will be held Friday from 2-5 p.m. and Saturday, auction day, from 9-10:30 a.m.
Nadeau’s Auction Gallery, Inc., is a family owned and operated business and one of the largest and fastest-growing full-serviced auction galleries in New England. The firm began in 1985, when Edwin Nadeau, Jr., first opened his “barn doors” in Colchester, Conn. Nadeau’s is housed in two showrooms in Windsor – one is 12,000 square feet, the other 8,000 square feet.
Nadeau’s is always accepting quality consignments for its bigger sales, held throughout the year, and its general auctions, held every three weeks. To consign an item, an estate or a collection, you may call them at (860) 246-244, or e-mail them at [email protected]. For more information about Nadeau’s Auction Gallery, log on to www.NadeausAuction.com