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Tiffany Studios, Decorative Arts, and Design

Lita Solis-Cohen | June 13th, 2013


The indoor flock of sheep by François-Xavier Lalanne, Moutons de Laine, was designed in 1965 and executed in 1975 of wool, wood, and aluminum. Ex-Andy Williams collection, it sold on the phone for $987,750 (est. $500,000/700,000).


This flock of sheep by François-Xavier Lalanne can reside outside. Ex-Andy Williams collection, Nouveaux Moutons was designed in 1990 and executed in 1996 of epoxy stone and patinated bronze. The flock sold on the phone for $783,750 (est. $400,000/600,000).


This circa 1910 Tiffany Studios Poppy table lamp of leaded glass and patinated bronze, 26¼" high and 20" diameter of the shade, base stamped “TIFFANY STUDIOS NEW YORK 448” and the shade stamped “Tiffany Studios New York 1531,” sold on the phone to a member of the European trade for $135,750 (est. $70,000/90,000).


This circa 1910 Tiffany Studios Arrowhead lamp of leaded glass and patinated bronze, 23" high and 20½" diameter of the shade, with the shade stamped “Tiffany Studios, New York” and the oil canister stamped “Tiffany Studios 9899” and the base stamped “3,” sold for $141,750 (est. $70,000/90,000). The arrowhead is a wetlands plant. The lamp base is formed as cattails over lily pads. The design appears in a 1904 Tiffany Studios advertisement from Town and Country magazine listing all the stores where lamps and electroliers could be bought.


Koloman Moser (1868-1918), Kakesdose, 1910. This silver and malachite box with a hinged lid is 6½" high x 11½" long x 7" deep and stamped “WIENER WERKSTÄTTE” and with a rose trademark and a “WW” monogram. It sold for $129,750 (est. $50,000/70,000).According to the catalog notes, the box is dated 1910, which was after Moser left the Wiener Werkstätte, but the box was made by a Wiener Werkstätte craftsman, goldsmith Anton Pribil. The box is notable for its malachite cabochons, light and elegant curling lines, and the repeated rounded heart motif.


This set of four Standard chairs by Jean Prouvé ( 1901-1984), circa 1950, of lacquered steel and plywood, each 32" high, sold for $43,750 (est. $12,000/15,000). Not shown, a single Jean Prouvé Demountable side chair, also of lacquered metal and wood, circa 1951, sold for $25,000 (est. $6000/8000).

Christie’s, New York City

Photos courtesy Christie’s

Christie’s offered 20th-century decorative arts and design in three catalogs on June 13, beginning with a private collection of works from Tiffany Studios. It was named “A Sutton Place Collection” because the consignor wanted to remain anonymous. That sale of 57 lots, mostly lamps, was put together over a period of 50 years by a couple whose first lamp was a spur of the moment purchase by the wife during a morning walk with the couple’s youngest child. The rest of the lamps were purchased for special occasions, and the collection ranged from simple geometric patterns to Victorian filigree shades to the more popular floral designs.

The Sutton Place collection was followed by a regular multi-owner sale that began with more Tiffany and went on to Wiener Werkstätte, French Art Deco, Bugatti sculpture, Jean-Michel Frank commissions, and more Art Deco; it ended with a group of modern works by Wendell Castle and Judy Kensley McKie, and François-Xavier Lalanne’s sheep, an outdoor flock and an indoor flock, both of which belonged to crooner Andy Williams (1927-2012).

With even more to sell, the last catalog offered in the afternoon began with French art glass and included the contents of a loft furnished by Cristina Grajales, who wrote a short introduction to the consignment for her friend “Anita,” who owned some desirable Prouvé furniture and Scandinavian pottery. The sale day ended with some Italian glass, fifties design, and what we once referred to as American studio crafts and now call art and design.

Christie’s three catalogs brought in a total of $10,002,062 (including buyers’ premiums), the highest total for a week when auctions of 20th-century art and design items were offered at seven auction houses in 12 catalogs—Wright, Treadway/Toomey, Rago, Sotheby’s, Bonhams, Phillips, and Christie’s—that brought just over $34 million in total.

The Sutton Place collection of Tiffany Studios things accounted for $2,068,375 of the total. Of the 57 lots offered, 40 sold (70% sold by lot). From Christie’s catalog titled “Important 20th Century Decorative Art & Design,” 105 lots were offered and 75 sold for a total of $6,865,187 (71% sold by lot). The final catalog, called “20th Century Decorative Art & Design,” sold in the afternoon and offered 111 lots, of which 83 sold for $1,068,500 (74.8 % by lot).

In a prepared statement after the sale, Carina Villinger, Christie’s head of department in New York, said, “All three sales of twentieth-century decorative art and design were met with strong results and largely competitive bidding across genres within the category.” She saw several buying trends emerge over the course of the auctions, “including an enthusiastic reception to sculptural works” by François-Xavier Lalanne as well as Rembrandt Bugatti. She was pleased to see continued strength in the market for works by Jean-Michel Frank, and she noted continued demand for the best work from Tiffany Studios throughout the auctions.

Philippe Garner, international head of 20th-century decorative art and design and photographs and the morning sessions’ auctioneer, was impressed with the enthusiasm from all over the globe and an especially keen audience for Art Deco. He was “especially pleased with the results of Koloman Moser’s exceptional Kakesdosebox from 1910.” The silver box with malachite cabochons sold for $129,750, well over the $70,000 high estimate.

The Sutton Place collection had some first-rate lamps, but overall it was not a connoisseur’s collection. Sophisticated collectors todaylook more carefully at the selection of glass, and the condition and the quality of the design, and ignore some of the Victorian designs that have historical interest but do not fit the taste of the new young collectors.

That said, the major dealers were all actively buying for clients and for stock. Arlie Sulka, owner of Lillian Nassau, LLC, was pleased to reacquire some lamps that had been sold years ago by Lillian Nassau (1899-1995). “I am always happy when I can repatriate lamps back to the gallery,” Sulka said. “Prices are often more reasonable in June. At the end of the season when people are thinking more about vacations than acquiring, it is a good time to buy.” While the lower-end material suffered, the good selection of fine lamps with good design retained their value, and Arlie Sulka said she expects they will appreciate. She said a new young group of collectors is competing in this field. Also, Christie’s reported an active Asian buyer was the winner of two of the top ten Tiffany lamps.

The highest price in the sale was for Moutons de Laine, a flock of sheep by François-Xavier Lalanne, designed in 1965 and executed in 1975, which sold for $987,750. Another high price was for another flock by Lalanne. Both came from the estate of Andy Williams. The more-expensive flock includes two ewes and four grazing sheep (ottomans) made of wool and aluminum, which Williams had acquired in the 1990’s from a woman who bought them directly from the artist years earlier. Williams later bought another flock with bodies of epoxy stone, consisting of two ewes, two rams, and three lambs that could graze outside regardless of weather. That flock sold for $783,750. Both sold to anonymous bidders via phones.

Two of three sculptures by Rembrandt Bugatti sold within estimates. Autruche Tête Basse (Ostrich with Head Down), 1909-10, of patinated bronze sold to an American collector for $303,750 (est. $250,000/350,000). And Deux Tapirs Face-à-face, 1910, by Bugatti sold for $267,750 (est. $250,000/300,000). But Bugatti’s two kangaroos with a $300,000/400,000 estimate failed to sell.

 Works by Jean-Michel Frank all came with certificates of authenticity, because Frank’s work has been replicated. Several lots sold well above expectations. A pair of oak club chairs upholstered in red Hermès leather in 1939 sold to the trade for $243,750 (est. $200,000/300,000). A 1939 table lamp, a large piece of quartz (8" high) with a bronze base, sold for $243,750 (est. $100,000/150,000).

The pictures and captions show some other high points, including a Sèvres porcelain teacup and saucer designed by Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933) that sold on the phone for $17,500 (est. $8000/12,000). A set of ten lacquered wood plates, each 6 3/8" in diameter, designed by Eileen Gray, sold on the phone for $43,750 (est. $5000/8000).

For more information, contact Christie’s at (www.christies.com) or call (212) 636-2000.

Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933) designed this teacup and saucer circa 1930, and it was manufactured by Sèvres in parcel-gilt and glazed porcelain. The cup is 3" high and the saucer 7 1/8" in diameter; each piece is stamped “Sèvres Manufacture Nationale France.” The pair sold for $17,500 (est. $8000/12,000).

Eileen Gray (1878-1976) designed a set of ten plates, circa 1925, of lacquered wood. Each plate is 6 3/8" in diameter. The set sold for $43,750 (est. $5000/8000).

Josef Frank (1885-1967) designed this Flora commode, circa 1940, for Svenskt Tenn, a design store in Stockholm. Model 1050 is mahogany and printed paper with brass details, 29¾" x 52" x  17 1/8", and sold to an absentee bidder for $35,000 (est. $10,000/15,000).

 

This table lamp by Jean-Michel Frank is quartz with a bronze plate, 8" high, stamped “JMF Made in France 10328” and with a Chanaux & Co. monogram. It sold for $243,750 (est. $100,000/150,000). A period photograph with the lamp on a mantel was published in the catalog.

The cover lot was this desk with stool by Wendell Castle (b. 1932), 1979-80. Of maple with a leather top, the desk is 28¾" x 69" x 31" deep, and the stool is 17¼" high. The desk is signed “W. Castle 79” and the stool is signed “W. Castle 80.”The pair sold for $135,750 (est. $70,000/90,000).

This 1898 Tiffany Studios “Symbolic Landscape” window from the First Unitarian Church, Brooklyn, New York, of leaded glass, 86¾" x 79" and inscribed “1869 Rev. Stephen H. Camp Minister of Unity Church 1897,” sold for $219,750 (est. $150,000/200,000). It had been commissioned in memory of its minister, Stephen Henry Camp, and was moved in 1935 to the Pierpont Street Chapel, now known as the First Unitarian Congregational Society of Brooklyn.


Originally published in the October 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest

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