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Important 20th Century Design at Sotheby's June 12, 2009 in New York
Olafur Eliasson, "Your Absolute 7 Degrees". Estimate: 50,000—80,000 USD. Photo: Sotheby's.
NEW YORK, NY.- On June 12th 2009, Sotheby’s New York will hold its sale of Important 20th Century Design which will included a unique offering by Frank Gehry, a Tuyomyo bench (est. $250/350,000). The sale takes a reverse chronological look at both American and European design in the past century starting with contemporary pieces and going all the way through to prewar designs. Highlights include works by Jean Prouvé, Herter Brothers, and Tiffany Studios. The overall pre-sale estimate for the 101 lots is $3.7/5.4 million.

James Zemaitis, Senior Vice President and Director of Sotheby’s 20th Century Design Department, noted, “In addition to Tuyomyo, the contemporary design in the sale includes the prototype of one the most acclaimed designs of the decade, Joris Laarman’s “Heatwave” radiator, whose ceramic tendrils recall Art Nouveau’s embrace of the industrial age over a century ago. When you juxtapose this masterwork with the Trumpet Creeper lamp by Tiffany Studios at the end of the sale, we see how industrial design is cyclical, and that nature is reestablishing itself as a decorative presence in the 21st Century.”

Internationally renowned architect Frank Gehry created a work entitled Tuyomyo (yours and mine in Spanish) in collaboration with Emeco, the premier manufacturer of contemporary aluminum furniture. Standing three meters long but weighing only 122 pounds, the Tuyomyo bench was crafted using 80% recycled aluminum components and aircraft manufacturing technology. Proceeds from the sale of the work, which is estimated at $250/350,000, will benefit the Hereditary Disease Foundation research fund established in 2008 in honor of Gehry’s late daughter - The Leslie Gehry Brenner Award for Innovation in Science.

Along with the Gehry work, there is a strong collection of contemporary design included pieces by Shiro Kuramata, Tom Sachs, and Olafur Eliasson. The ‘Miss Blanche’ chair by famed designer Shiro Kuramata is one of his most sought-after pieces (est. $150/200,000). Designed in 1988, this armchair transcends the laws of gravity as imitation roses appear to float within a block of acrylic, giving an illusion of weightlessness to an object of serious substance. Kuramata’s chair pays homage to the dreamlike world of illusion inhabited by Blanche Dubois, the complex character at the heart of Tennessee Williams’ play A Streetcar Named Desire. Also included is a Prototype “Heatwave” Radiator built by Joris Laarman as his graduation project from the Eindoven Design Academy (est. $30/50,000). In designing the "Heatwave," Joris Laarman sought to take the often mundane concealed form of the radiator and elevate it to what he called "wall lingerie." The result is a truly sculptural expression, which also proposes a more technically efficient method of heat distribution. Examples of "Heatwave" have been shown in various exhibitions worldwide and are in a number of permanent collections at institutions, including the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and the Stedelijk Museum. In 2006, the model was given the Red Dot award for excellence in product design. Works by the late Francois-Xavier Lalanne are in great demand and the June sale will include A Rare “Crapaud” Chair and “Nénuphar” Table. Executed circa 1970 and consigned from a California collection, the pair is estimated to sell for $60/80,000.

The June sale also boasts an extensive offering of works by Jean Prouvé, including a Private Japanese Collection which is led by a collaborative work by Prouvé and Charlotte Perriand, Bookcase from The Maison du Mexique, Cité Universitaire, Paris (est. $60/80,000). From another consignor is An Important and Rare Dining Table, Model 506, which is one of an extremely small group of dining tables, model no. 506 which were executed by Prouvé for the Air France commissions in Brazzaville, part of the present day Republic of the Congo. The table is estimated to sell for $80/120,000.

Also included in the June sale is a superb collection of American Arts and Crafts by Gustav Stickley, George Ohr, and Dirk Van Erp. Contrary to George Ohr's own motto of making "no two pieces alike," two exquisitely rendered Two-Handled Vases are seemingly close to representing a matched pair, apart from their radically differing glaze treatments (each est. $25/35,000). While one is executed in a dark high glaze with bright orange mottling, its counterpart displays a metallic lustrous glaze with a lava-like surface texture. The skillful execution of the excessively undulating handles and profiles are clearly the mark of a master potter. Among a group of works by Gustav Stickley are A Rare Bookcase (est. $40/60,000) and A Rare Pair of Andirons (est. $20/30,000). The andirons were acquired directly from the descendants of the original owners. Two hand-wrought copper “Warty” Vase Dirk Van Erp will also be offered (each est. $18/24,000). Synonymous with Van Erp's most accomplished "warty" pieces, the textured surface along the bottom register is masterfully "wrinkled" like fabric.

Two rare items from the American Aesthetic movement by Herter Brothers will also be for sale. The carvings on the Important and Rare Cabinet as well as the gilt metal fretwork gallery are clearly Chinese in their inspiration although rendered in a Westernized interpretation (est. $50/70,000). This decorative approach is seen most closely on a vertical ebonized Herter cabinet in the collection of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. A Dressing Table with Mirror from the Darius Ogden Mills Residence, “Happy House,” Millbrae, California will also be offered as Herter Brothers was enlisted to decorate the home during its inception (est. $50/70,000). The present lot in form and decoration, is nearly identical to one Herter supplied for the bedroom of William H. Vanderbilt, 640 Fifth Avenue, New York, circa 1882. The lush overall marquetry is also closely related to a bedstead from an ebonized suite executed for Arabella Worsham Huntington that is currently in the collection of The St. Louis Museum of Art. The marquetry pattern on the friezes of this bedstead are an exact match to those utilized on the friezes and mirror frame of the present example.

The sale also includes a strong section of lamps by Tiffany Studios from a variety of American private homes and families. Among the highlights is An Important and Rare “Trumpet Creeper” Table Lamp (est. $300/500,000) and A Superb and Rare “Octopus” Chandelier (est. $150/200,000).

Sotheby's | Olafur Eliasson | Frank Gehry | Shiro Kuramata | Tom Sachs | Joris Laarman | Francois-Xavier Lalanne |




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