Log In

Reset Password

Date: Fri 17-Jul-1998



Text Size

Date: Fri 17-Jul-1998

Publication: Ant

Author: DAVIDS

Quick Words:


Full Text:

Phillips 20th C


NEW YORK CITY -- "We had a very, very good sale," commented a jubilant Usha

Subramaniam after Phillip's recent Twentieth Century Decorative Arts auction.

"The good material sold very well, as did the more unusual things and

historically important lots with unusual design."

The sale, which was attended by a large crowd, was the first of three major

Twentieth Century auctions taking place on consecutive days at the New York

auction houses.

As proved to be the case for each of the sales, telephones and absentee

bidders set the pace for the day, although the two most important lots at

Phillip's ended up selling to private collectors in the gallery.

Leading the auction was a pair of rare verre eglomise panels from the "La

Naissance D'Aphrodite" mural that had long graced the Grand Lounge of the SS

Normandie. The mural, circa 1934, had been designed by Jean Dupas and executed

by Jacques Charles Champigneulle. In grand Deco styling, the panels depicted a

naked maiden riding on the back of two dolphins. The panels were said to have

been among more than 200 that made up the entire mural.

"This was the first full image of a woman from the mural which has come onto

the market," said Subramaniam. "They created quite a sensation."

Roughly one quarter of the mural is in the collection of The Metropolitan

Museum of Art, and several others have recently been donated to a public

institution. Subramaniam said it is extremely "rare to have a pair of panels

which actually complete a picture as most of the known examples feature very

fragmented images." Bidding on the lot was brisk. Two telephone bidders

competed with a buyer in the gallery, who eventually won the lot at $88,300.

Another important lot that saw active phone bidding, yet also eventually sold

to a buyer in the gallery, was a free-form desk made from stainless steel. The

rare desk had been designed by Max Ingrand for the Paris showroom of

automobile maker Peugeot, circa 1967. Wonderful lines descended from the flat

desk top with concealed compartments flowing down and around into a simple,

yet elegant seat. The brushed stainless finish added to its post-industrial

modern design. Estimated at $45/60,000, the lot sold to an American collector

for $52,900.

Other items of note included a Tiffany Studios leaded glass hanging shade in

the Dogwood pattern. The marked shade was complete with cap and chain and

surpassed the $25/35,000 presale estimate selling for $59,700. Another top lot

among Tiffany was a rare leaded glass and bronze table lamp in the Clematis

pattern. In colors of pink, red and violet against a mottled blue background,

this lamp sold between estimates at $57,500.

Two leaded and stained glass triptychs designed by Charles Maumejean for the

Maumejean Freres Pavilion at the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale Des Arts

Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes were offered. The intricate modernist

designed triptychs featured figures amidst towering skyscraper backgrounds.

Each of the panels carried a presale estimate of $20/30,000. The first one

sold at $39,100, while the second brought $48,300.

The most unusual Tiffany creation at the sale was a rare special edition

bronze mounted book by Louis C. Tiffany with Charles De Kay entitled The

Artwork of Louis C. Tiffany. Only 502 copies of the book were produced with

492 of those editions having been printed on Japanese paper. A special edition

of ten copies were printed on parchment. The example offered by Phillip's was

one of the parchment volumes that were bound with a gilt-paper board embossed

with a tile pattern and closed with two gilt-bronze clasps.

According to a entry in the catalogue by Martin Eidelberg, the parchment books

"were apparently intended for immediate members of the family and perhaps

certain, very close business associates." Eidelberg notes, "Because the

parchment is slightly translucent, it was printed on only one side, and then

folded back and bound in the manner of a Japanese book. Since the number of

leaves is thus doubled, this special version is at least 50 percent thicker"

than the regular production run book. Estimated at $35/45,000, the book sold

for $41,400. A proof copy of the regular production run book was offered as

the following lot. It sold for $2,530.

Two pieces of Eugene Printz furniture easily surpassed estimates as a each

brought $28,750. The first to be offered was a mahogany three-part pivoting

low table, the second a walnut and gilt bronze commode with four central

drawers flanked by cupboards. A rare pair of leather and bronze side chairs

and a tete-a-tete settee designed by Andre Arbus, circa 1958, for the French

Pavillion at the Exposition Internationalle De Bruxelle, also did well selling

at $23,000.

Other items of interest included a Da Silva Bruns wool carpet with brown

ground and decorated with a cream colored geometric pattern. It realized

$19,550. Two large gilt-wood sconces attributed to Serge Roche sold for

$19,550, and a Frank Gehry snake lamp went out at $17,250.

Prices include the buyer's premium. Phillip's is currently accepting

consignments for its December 7 Twentieth Century sale. For further

information, contact Usha Subramaniam at Phillip's, 406 East 79th Street, New

York City 10021, or call 212/570-4830.

Comments are open. Be civil.

Leave a Reply