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Piasa to offer works by designer, artist, socialite & fashion museum Gabriella Crespi
Gabriella Crespi, Mr - Mme. Commode Designed: 1972. Brass & steel. Literature: The Sign and the Spirit (Electa). Est: 20 000 / 30 000 €.
PARIS.- She was born in 1922 and grew up in Tuscany, near Florence, before studying architecture at the Politecnico in Milan, where she discovered Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright. She married into one of Italy’s wealthiest families, who owned the Corriere della Sera and a textiles empire. From Rome and Milan she hired the finest craftsmen to produce her designs. Most of her works were produced in limited editions and have been rare and highly sought-after since the 1970s – and are all the more so today. Her designs are rare and were mostly the result of special commissions. Several leading personalities were passionately enthusiastic about her work, including Elizabeth Arden, Thomas Hoving (former head of New York’s Metropolitan Museum), Greek shipping magnate Georges Livanos, Princess Grace, Gunther Sachs and the Shah of Iran.

ITALIAN HIGH-END DESIGN
Gabriella Crespi has always conveyed an art de vivre in tune with her times, full of freedom and pioneering ‘bohemian-chic’: a mix of 1970s aspiration and Italian tradition.

Although her style goes perfectly with materials like wood, bamboo, mirror and plexiglas, Gabriella Crespi’s most characteristic designs are in metal – notably brass. The convertible, three-part dining-table, from her celebrated Yang Yin series designed in 1979, is a perfect blend of brass and lacquered wood (est. €20,000-30,000).

All of Crespi’s designs place as much importance on aesthetics as on functionality, or even multi-functionality: coffee-tables are raised in height, bookcases are transformed into partitions, chairs turn into beds…. A fine example is provided by her ingenious, twin-opening Mr-Mme commode (€20,000-30,000). Other sale highlights include a bamboo and brass Fungo lamp from her Rising Sun series (est. €5,000-7,000), and her 1976 Tavolo Scultura cofee table (est. €20,000-30,000). Crespi also designed a collection of sculpted animals in the purest tradition of de luxe Italian metalwork, embellished with eggs made from Murano glass or, in the case of her elegant, hand-chased silver plated Ostrich, with a veritable ostrich egg (est. €2,500-3,000).

At the height of her fame, Crespi had two showrooms, one on Milan’s Via Montenapoleone, and the second one in the former Palazzo Cenci in Rome, where her furniture was set off against spectacular frescoes of Umbrian landscapes. But, in 1987, she decided to close her company and devote herself to spirituality: she would continue to spend several months each year in the most remote regions of India into her eighties. Back in Italy Gabriella Crespi remains a respected fount of inspiration, and Milan paid tribute to her with the exhibition Il Segno e lo Spirito at the Palazzo Reale in 2011: a journey through the languages of contemporary expression via Gabriella Crespi’s work and artistic output.

Please note that all items in the sale are accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the Gabriella Crespi Archives.

To mark the Gabriella Crespi sale, PIASA will be publishing Timeless – a monograph of her work by Anne Bony, authoress of numerous books on Design, retracing the career of the Italian Designer and, over and beyond her career, outlining her inspiration, spirit and style. Books published alongside major themed sales by PIASA Editions will offer a powerful record of 20th and 21st century creativity.





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