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Phillips announces highlights from the December Design Auctions in New York
Isamu Noguchi, Prototype chair, for William A.M. Burden, Northeast Harbor, Maine, 1947. Estimate: $200,000-300,000. Image courtesy of Phillips.

NEW YORK, NY.- Phillips announces highlights from the December Design auctions. The Design Evening S ale , which will take place at 5pm on 13 December, is comprised of 47 carefully chosen lots that represent the very best examples of the category, across the 20th century. The sale offers a strong showing of French and Italian design, with important American pieces, as well. Works by Carlo Mollino, Gio Ponti, Marcel Coard, and Isamu Noguchi, among others, will all be included. Desi gn will be held earlier the same day, at 10am, and will feature important works by Paul Dupré-Lafon, Donald Deskey, and Ettore Sottsass, Jr. among the 111 lots.

Design Evening Sale | 13 December, 5pm
Among the highlights of Phillips’ Design Evening Sale on 13 December are two extraordinary works by Carlo Mollino from the Ada and Cesare Minola House in Turin – a unique “specchio-armadio” and a pair of lounge chairs. Both works were commissioned by the great patron Ada Cesare for her home circa 1944-1946, a turning point in Mollino’s career. The encouragement she gave to Mollino in expressing his artistic vision has led to one of the most significant works to hit the market in recent years. Having remained with Ada and Cesare Minola until they were passed down to the current owners, they will appear on the market for the first time this December at Phillips.

Several works by Gio Ponti will also be offered in the sale, including three pieces designed for Noridska Kompaniet in 1953. A chest of drawers, a wall dashboard, and a bedside dashboard were all designed by Ponti and executed by master cabinetmaker Giordano Chiesa. Within the most advanced production of the Milanese architect, designer and artist, these works are an exemplary testimony to Italian design production of the time and its expansion and growth to international relevance.

A prototype chair by Isamu Noguchi, circa 1946, will also be on offer. The chair was part of a commission by William A.M. Burden, former President of MoMA and great-great-grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, for his home in Northeast Harbor, Maine, which was also designed in part by Noguchi and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The unique chair was created alongside an accompanying dining table, but following a devastating fire in 1999, this chair is all that remains of the set. When last sold at auction in 2011, the chair realized $182,500.

The Evening Sale will present a strong selection of works by French designers. On the heels of Phillips’ record-breaking result for the designer in April, two important pieces by Marcel Coard will be included in the Design Evening Sale, both appearing at auction for the first time. An important drinks cabinet, circa 1925, in oak with a quadrangular, elevated body clad in python, is one of only six known extant works by Coard that incorporate python. It is emblematic of Marcel Coard's œuvre, innovative in its form as well as in its materials, yet at the same time very refined in its conception. A chest of drawers, executed by Marcel Coard in 1928-1929 will also be offered. The piece reunites three elements very dear to the decorator: the inlay of hardstone; the contrast between wood and stone; and Greek keys at the base, which further reinforce the Coard’s signature style.

The sale will also feature a rare “Ecossaise” table lamp by Alberto Gicaometti, circa 1935, a very rare example of the model and the only one recorded in the Giacometti database. The majority of these works were sold by Jean-Michel Frank, who was among the first to discover the sculptor’s talents in the decorative arts and to recognize the potential for commercial and artistic impact. The present lot is one of a small handful of “L’Ecossaise” plaster table lamps executed in the 1930s by Alberto Giacometti, including a dark tinted example, formerly in the collection of Elsa Schiaparelli, which sold at auction in Paris in 2015. As of the publication of this catalogue, the present lot is the only example to appear in the Alberto Giacometti Database.

An important sideboard (illustrated below), circa 1927, created jointly by Eugène Printz and Jean Dunand was executed at the inception of Printz’s mature style and also marks the beginning of a long collaboration between the two master craftsmen. In addition to the virtuoso woodworking, the sideboard reflects the legacy of the ancien régime through its functionality and innovative use of materials. Printz often integrated ingenious moving components in his furniture, similar to the mechanical furniture from the eighteenth century. The doors of the 1927 sideboard cleverly slide and fold open to stack neatly at the sides. Such features were meticulously designed to achieve the utmost ease of use. The synergy between Printz and Dunand resulted in a progressive iteration of Art Deco that anticipated modern furniture of the following decades.

In recent seasons Phillips has seen particularly strong markets for French designer Jean Royère. In December of 2014, Phillips broke the world auction record for the designer, selling an "Ours Polaire" sofa and pair of armchairs for $842,500. This season Phillips will again offer an iconic “Óurs Polaire” sofa and pair of armchairs as two separate lots.

Works by Austrian-born potter Lucie Rie have also performed well at auction. Earlier this season, Phillips set a new world record for Rie with the sale of a 1976 conical bowl, which achieved $135,608. The December Evening will offer twoimportant porcelain bowls by Lucie Rie, both circa 1978, one of which has been consigned by the artist’s estate.

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