NEW YORK, NY.- Sothebys
December auctions of 20th Century Design concluded this week in New York with a market-dominating total of $26.4 million far outstripping the series high estimate of $19.4 million, and with a robust 87.5% of lots sold across the trilogy of auctions.
Wednesdays sales began with our annual December auction of Important Design, whose remarkable $13.9 million result ranks as the highest-ever total for a various-owner Design auction at Sothebys worldwide. The afternoon offered two dedicated sales of important works by Tiffany Studios works, whose combined result of $12.4 million marks Sothebys highest-ever total for a day of Tiffany sales. These results punctuate an outstanding fall season for Design at Sothebys worldwide, with record-breaking auctions in Paris that included the personal collection of celebrated interior designer Jacques Grange.
Below is a look at the important pieces and collections that drove this weeks sales in New York:
Auction Total $13.9 Million
84% Sold by Lot
The morning auction was led by a suite of three works from Claude Lalannes highly-coveted Crocodile series, all emerging from the same Important Manhattan Collection. The group was highlighted by a Bureau Crocodile desk (estimate $300/500,000), which sold for $2.2 million a new auction record for any Crocodile work by Lalanne and the artists second highest price at auction. The trios two Crocodile Armchairs sold to the same bidder for $1.2 million and $975,000, respectively (estimates $300/500,000 each). Cast by Lalanne from a live model of the animal, the trio epitomizes the Surrealist influence that defines the artists work and exhibits one of her most masterful interpretations of the form, as well as her acute dexterity and poetic imagination.
A landmark offering of leaded glass windows from two of Frank Lloyd Wrights seminal early commissions also highlighted the sale. Marking one of the most exciting moments in recent Wright scholarship, two rediscovered Important and Rare Sumac Windows featured in a historic exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1907 each achieved $435,000 (estimates $200/300,000, respectively).
Designed for the Darwin D. Martin Complex in Buffalo, New York, one of Wrights greatest architectural triumphs, An Important and Rare "Tree of Life" Window (estimate $200/300,000) brought $435,000.
TIFFANY: DREAMING IN GLASS
Auction Total $5.1 Million
93% Sold by Lot
Our various-owner sale of Tiffany Studios designs was led by An Important and Rare "Cobweb and Apple Blossom" Table Lamp, which brought $1.2 million (estimate $700,000/1 million). Featuring a rare mosaic glass Wheat base, the work is one of three known lamps executed in this intricate motif and highlights two of Tiffanys most ubiquitous inspirations: insects and nature.
An Important "Wisteria" Table Lamp was also among the sales top prices, fetching $975,000 (estimate $600/800,000). Painterly yet sculptural, impressionistic yet conventionalized, the piece represents a multitude of influences drawn from art and the natural world. Comprised of nearly 2,000 individually cut and selected glass tiles to articulate the shades dripping wisteria blossoms, the works complex design afforded Tiffanys glass selectors with ample opportunity to experiment with color.
MASTERWORKS BY TIFFANY STUDIOS: THE WILLIAM A RICHARDSON COLLECTION
Auction Total $7.3 Million
98% Sold by Lot
Sothebys presented 42 works from the collection of Mr. William A. Richardson, which was led by a superb Hanging Head Dragonfly Floor Lamp that fetched $675,000 (estimate $300/500,000). The lamp embodies Tiffany craftsmanship with its striking, sublime color palette. The shade is accented with large cabochon jewels whose colors oscillate between shades of radiant blue and violet, changing with ones view point. Tiffany achieved this dynamic effect by adding a second layer of ultramarine blue glass behind the opalescent cabochons.
Among Tiffanys most artistic and complex floral designs, a Poppy Chandelier (estimate $200/300,000) achieved $615,000.