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Phillips de Pury & Co. announces highlights from its New York December Design Auctions
Edward William Godwin, Rare and early sideboard, circa 1870. Estimate: $500,000 - 600,000. Image courtesy of Phillips de Pury & Company.

NEW YORK, NY.- Phillips de Pury & Company presents highlights from its Design Masters and Design auctions with a combined estimate of $5,000,000-7,000,000.

“In our attempt to push farther back into the 20th century – and earlier into the late 19th, when appropriate – we have the pleasure of offering key works by seminal architects E.W. Godwin and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, both of whom have cast their light across 20th-century modernism.” Alexander Payne, Director and Worldwide Head, Design

The Design Masters sale will comprise 50 lots. Highlights include:

EDWARD WILLIAM GODWIN, Rare early sideboard, circa 1867, $500,000–600,000. Godwin was a 19th-century British architect, designer, teacher, critic, and theater producer—in short an ‘aesthetic polymath’, as author Lionel Lambourne has called him. Godwin’s progressive temperament was reflected in his willingness to embrace a wide range of influences including Japanese and Chinese culture, Shakespeare, Jacobean and earlier Gothic antecedents, and ancient Greece. Godwin’s significance rests in part on his ability to distill the achievements of his forebears into a succinct, refined aesthetic.

The present lot is one of ten known examples of the sideboard designed by Edward William Godwin in the Anglo-Japanese manner in the twenty years following his move from Bristol to London in 1865. Seven of these examples—each with variations in construction, fittings, and decoration— are in the permanent collections of the following institutions: Bristol Museums and Art Gallery, Bristol; Die Neue Sammlung, Staatlisches Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Munich; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; The National Trust, Wightwick Manor, Wolverhampton; The Wolfsonian-Florida International University, Miami Beach; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; and the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.

TIFFANY STUDIOS, ‘Wisteria’ table lamp, model no. 342, circa 1905, $500,000–700,000. Tiffany Studios, founded by legendary designer Louis Comfort Tiffany, was America’s preeminent design firm of the early 20th century and was associated with American Art Nouveau and Aesthetic movements. Tiffany’s handmade stained glass lamps and windows became known for their craftsmanship and for their elaborate floral patterns, influenced by the large number of women designers in Tiffany’s studio – an uncommon occurrence for the time. The design team was led by Clara Driscoll, who is credited with the design of the current model.

GIO PONTI and PAOLO DE POLI, Important console, circa 1942, $100,000–150,000. The present table was the result of Ponti’s long-standing interest in collaborations between artisan and designer; this console was designed by Ponti and comprised enamel copper panels by Paolo de Poli, master of enamelware. The works of enameled furniture produced by Ponti and De Poli during this period were characterized by fantasy and by enigmatic imagery such as labyrinths, as in the present lot. The table was one of a pair that stands out within Ponti’s oeuvre for its formal delicacy and the remarkable refinement of its realization. The table is doubly significant both as a work of Ponti and as one of the prized possessions of the painter Filippo de Pisis.

SCOTT BURTON, Prototype ‘Table for Four’ from the ‘Steel Furniture’ series, circa 1978, $100,000–150,000. Scott Burton was both a sculptor and furniture designer known for his large scale works with metal and granite. The ‘Steel Furniture’ series explores the idea of a single piece of material as autonomous structure. This idea began in the furniture designs of the 1920s and 1930s. Burton then contextualizes this idea and makes it applicable to the present day by using modern industrial materials and processes. His ‘Steel Furniture’ designs are the expression of pure form and structure, utilizing elegant and relaxed lines juxtaposed with hard steel material to make simple yet visually arresting forms.

SHIRO KURAMATA, ‘Laputa’ bed, circa 1991, $80,000–120,000. The ‘Laputa’ bed was renowned Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata’s final furniture design and displays his ability to combine multiple cultural references into a single object. Designed as a response to his bedroom brief at the group exhibition ‘Il Dolce Stil Novo della Casa’ (A Proposal for a New Life) in Florence, the ‘Laputa’ bed draws inspiration from literature. Laputa is the flying island from Gulliver’s Travels. The island, which has a base made from the mythical material adamantine, hovers above the land of Balnibarbi. Looking at the body of Kuramata’s work and his practice, it is possible to draw parallels with both of the above concepts: levitation (defying a physical force), and adamantine, a mythical material that shackled or destroyed the most formidable characters from Ancient Greek mythology to the Classics. With a high metallic surface finish, ‘Laputa’ has an extraterrestrial appearance as if galvanized in outer space, and, as the artist intended, the elongated form creates a dreamlike sense of levitation.

Other notable works from the Design Masters sale include: CHARLES RENNIE MACKINTOSH, Side chair, designed for the drawing room, Hous’Hill, Catherine Cranston’s residence, Nitshill, Glasgow, 1904, estimated at $180,000 - 220,000; JEAN PROUVÉ, Unique suspended cabinet, designed for Ferembal House, Nancy, 1948, estimated at $120,000-180,000; RON ARAD, ‘Looploom’, 1992, estimated at $80,000–120,000; TADAO ANDO, Set of three vases, 2011, estimated at $50,000–60,000; and ARCHIMEDE SEGUSO, Large teardrop vase, from the ‘Piume’ series, circa 1956.

The Design sale follows Design Masters on the following day with 170 lots. Highlights for this sale include: GIO PONTI, Unique center table, designed for the Trunfio House, Milan, 1954, estimated at $45,000-55,000; JEAN ROYÈRE, Group of three ‘Hirondelle’ wall lights, circa 1953, estimated at $40,000-60,000; and MARIA PERGAY, ‘Ring’ chair, circa 1968, estimated at $35,000-45,000.

Phillips de Pury & Company | Design Masters and Design Auctions | New York |

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