Actor and collector Julianne Moore previews Sotheby's May Design Auctions in New York and Paris

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Actor and collector Julianne Moore previews Sotheby's May Design Auctions in New York and Paris
Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, A Crocodile Settee. Estimate: $1/1.5 million. Courtesy Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s May auctions of 20th and 21st Century Design, to be held in New York and Paris on 25 and 26 May respectively, will capture the artistic dialogue that unites the two cities, showcasing a superlative selection of Design from the top international masters of the 20th and 21st centuries, led by extraordinary works by the artists Isamu Noguchi and Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne. This season, the conversation will be further enriched by the contribution of Julianne Moore, who will draw on her personal passion for art and design as she selects her favorite pieces from the 350+ works on offer across the sales.

Featuring works by Jean-Michel Frank, Alberto and Diego Giacometti, Pierre Jeanneret, Georges Jouve, Isamu Noguchi, Charlotte Perriand, Jean Royère and more, Julianne’s chic selection provides a unique glimpse into the internationally renowned actor’s distinct style and keen eye.

Auction 25 May 10:00am EDT
On View by Appointment Sotheby’s York Avenue Galleries from 21-24 May

Presenting a survey of Design from the last century, the New York Important Design sale is highlighted by a newly discovered and important Table by Isamu Noguchi (estimate $700,000/1 million) – an exceptionally rare piece, executed between 1945-1947, that is among only three examples of the form hand-sculpted by the artist that are known to exist.

Held in the same private collection for decades, this masterwork is among three examples from the earliest series of the form, the first of which is presently held in the collection of The Noguchi Museum. Each of these tables is distinguished by three hand-carved legs of varying profiles, a sculpted free-form marble top and a hand-welded spun aluminum bowl, which sits within a carved aperture in the top. The three legs, each presenting unique and sculptural attributes of their own, exemplify Noguchi’s symbiosis of sculpture and design in his conception of utilitarian objects. The tables produced during this two-year span are further distinguished by their stone selection, each presenting distinct variations in hues and texture that contribute to their unique identity. The top of this particular work – a rich dark grey marble with vigorous white veining – is particularly unusual within Noguchi’s work from this period, imparting the table’s organic form with a strong dynamic sensibility.

On the heels of Sotheby’s record-breaking results for works by Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne from the Collection of Michelle Smith last month, an exceptional selection of 25 works by the iconic design duo is led by a Crocodile Settee (estimate $1/1.5 million) and a pair of Croco-Consoles (estimate $700/900,000) by Claude Lalanne – both of which originate from the artists’ personal collection and exemplify Claude’s fascination for the crocodile motif. Two early Moutons de Laine from the collection of fashion designer Kay Unger are also on offer (estimates $500/700,000 each). The model in wool is the earliest sheep design conceived by the artist and one of his most iconic forms. Additional highlights include: a surrealist Fontaine Pleureuse by François-Xavier Lalanne (estimate $250/350,000); a Unique "Structure Végétale aux Papillons" Chandelier (estimate $700/900,000), and two important suites of “Ginkgo” tables and chairs in both bronze and aluminum (estimates ranging from $150/700,000) by Claude Lalanne.

An exciting survey of Post-War Design is led by a Unique “Sculpture Front” Cabinet by Paul Evans (estimate $180/240,000). This cabinet is monumental in scale, and features extraordinary artistry on the four door panels, as well as an interior complete with a liquor cabinet and flatware drawer. Commissioned directly from the artist in 1967 by Elliott and Rita Frank of Roslyn, New York, the piece has remained in the family ever since. The Franks owned a company that manufactured industrial valve components, a variety of which Evans incorporated in the sculptural compositions on the present cabinet that distinguish it from other examples in this series.

The sale also features an impressive concentration of works by Harry Bertoia, led by his iconic Dandelion sculpture (pictured below, estimate $200/300,000). On offer from the Neiman Marcus collection, the work is spectacular in its scale, sculptural quality and dazzling golden coloration. Additional Post-War and Contemporary highlights include a rare “Mesa Triangular” Table and a set of Nine Dining Chairs by Joaquim Tenreiro (estimates $50/70,000 and $60/80,000 respectively), as well as outstanding works by George Nakashima, Jean Prouvé, Pierre Jeanneret, Gio Ponti, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Martin Szekely and Shiro Kuramata.

Auction 25 May at 5:00pm EDT
On View by Appointment Sotheby’s York Avenue Galleries from 21-24 May

This dedicated auction features a superlative collection of works by Thomas Molesworth from the original Romer Ranch in Montana’s Mission Mountains. Commissioned directly from the artist by Katherine Romer of New York City and Palm Springs around 1940, the western Montana ranch was an idyllic retreat for Romer and her glamorous social circle. The collection, which has remained almost entirely intact at the Ranch since the period, exemplifies Molesworth’s iconic Western aesthetic, with many lots featuring his signature routed and painted wood decorations, dramatic burled fir structures and vibrant leathers. In addition to a wide range of furniture forms, the sale also includes many rare examples of lighting, metalwork and accessory items rarely seen on the market.

Highlights include an elaborate “Buffalo Hunt” Chandelier (estimate $60/80,000), a one-of-a-kind Bar Cabinet (estimate $50/70,000), an impressive burled fir Console Table (estimate $50/70,000), and a whimsical Blanket Chest (estimate $20/30,000).

26 May at 2:30pm CEST / 8:30am EDT

The Paris edition of our Important Design sale covers a range of art and design from the end of the 19th century to the present day, with important works by Alberto Giacometti, Diego Giacometti, Janine Janet, Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, Marc Newson, Maria Pergay, Gio Ponti, Jean Royère and Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann. Celebrating the sale’s international concept, renowned actress and singer Isabelle Adjani and famed interior designer Jacques Grange share their favorite designers across the two sales.

The sale opens with remarkable pieces from a Parisian private collection, including a Nuage low table by Guy de Rougemont as well as works by Maarten Baas, Paul Evans, Zaha Hadid and Vladimir Kagan. Further highlights include masterpieces with prestigious provenances, notably an Aux Cariatides et aux Atlantes table by Diego Giacometti (estimate €300/400,000), commissioned from the artist for Henri Samuel, as well as a Tête de Femme floor lamp and two lamps by Alberto Giacometti from the former collection of Georges and Myrtille Hugnet (estimates ranging from €100/200,000). Mid-century French design is equally celebrated through significant pieces by highly regarded artists such as Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Georges Jouve, Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand, Valentin Schlegel and Véra Szekely. A focus on works by Les Lalanne completes the sale with thirty-one lots, highlighted by a selection of works from the collection of Claude Lalanne’s godson. Among the pieces presented are two rare masterpieces by François-Xavier Lalanne: a pair of Oiseaux de Marbre tables (estimate €300/500,000) and an exceptional and monumental Grande carpe (estimate €600/800,000).

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