Vintage Modern Design

From minimal to maximum. From the iconic to the outrageous. Auction highlights and previews, design trends, photos, stories, philosophies and the allure of vintage modern design and decorative arts.


Auction lot watcher: Phillips London 4/30/09

The London gallery of Phillips de Pury and Company's April 30 Design auction will test the international market for purchaser's and consignors of high design.
Several pieces are worth noting:

Rare and important ‘Lockheed Lounge’, 1987-1988
Fibreglass-reinforced polyester resin core, blind riveted sheet aluminium, rubber-coated polyester resin. 88.9 x 63.5 x 152.4 cm. (35 x 25 x 60 in.) Produced by Basecraft for Pod, Australia. From an edition of ten plus four artist’s proofs and one prototype.

‘Blo Void 4’, 2006
Anodised and mirror-polished super-plastic aluminium, woven aluminium mesh. 120 cm. (47 1/4 in.) high Produced by The Gallery Mourmans, The Netherlands. Number three from an edition of six.

Important bed, c. 1970
Brushed and polished stainless steel, painted metal, fabric. 219.7 x 191.8 x 210.8 cm. (86 1/2 x 75 1/2 x 83 in.) Produced for and retailed by Maison Jansen, France. In collaboration with Jansen, Maria Pergay designed the present model, a canopy bed for the Shah’s wife, Shahbanu Farah Pahlavi.

Unique wall-mounted bar unit, c. 1954
Rosewood-veneered wood, wood, mirrored glass, painted metal, glass, sculpted bronze, brass.

Paul Evans and Wendell Castle at Rago Auction 4/25-26

Paul Evans
Exceptional three-paneled patinated steel room divider with gold leaf edges and metal ceiling and floor mounted frames (not pictured), ca. 1957. Each: 90" x 26" x 8 1/2" Lot 102 Estimate: $60,000-$90,000

Wendell Castle
Exceptional sculptural single-drawer writing desk, en suite with desk chair, 1980. Carved signature: Made by S. Proctor and W. Castle and W. Castle 80. 29 1/2" x 67 1/2" x 36 1/2"; 20" x 24 1/2" x 26"Lot 549 Estimate: $70,000-90,000


Claude and Francois Lalanne Furniture and Design

From an exhibit at Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, NY 2006-2007

From Christie's Yves St. Laurent auction 2009


Eileen Gray 'Satellite' Lamp Sells for $3.8 million at YSL

In cream-painted aluminium, composed of three superimposed flat rings in ascending scale mounted in alternation with three stepped conical shades in descending scale. Estimate $775k-$1 million.

Brancusi Sculpture Sets Record at YSL Auction

A sculpture by Brancusi entitled "Portrait de Mme. LR", which is part of the Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Berge art collection, is presented Saturday Feb. 21, 2009 at the Grand Palais in Paris. The sculpture set sales records Monday night when a collector bought it for $36,792,835

YSL Auction sets records for Matisse, etc.

A painting by Henri Matisse sold Monday for euro32.1 million ($41.1 million) _ a record auction price for a work by the artist _ at an art sale from the estate of Yves Saint Laurent, Christie's said.

The sale came at the start of a three-day Paris auction of art from the collection of the late French fashion designer that some are calling "the sale of the century."

A Piet Mondrian painting that had inspired one of Saint Laurent's most memorable dresses sold for nearly euro20 million.

Sales reached euro206 million ($263.6 million) in the auction's first day _ marked by six world record prices for works by individual artists at auction, Christie's auction house said. Fierce bidding in the cavernous, glass-topped Grand Palais museum hall quieted concerns that the global financial crisis might damage the auction's prospects.

"I never doubted the success of this sale," Pierre Berge, Saint Laurent's longtime partner, told reporters after the auction. "When you have a collection of this importance, and of this demand, you stop being an amateur art lover _ and you become more or less an expert."

Matisse's 1911 oil painting "Les coucous, tapis bleu et rose," (The Cowslips, Blue and Rose Fabric) sold for a total of euro35.9 million, including the buyer's premium, Christie's said.

Mondrian's 1922 painting "Composition in Blue, Red, Yellow and Black," with rectangles of saturated colors that had inspired Saint Laurent's 1965 shift dress, sold for euro19.2 million ($24.6 million), or about twice the pre-auction estimate. A wood sculpture by Constantin Brancusi entitled "Madame L.R." went for euro26 million ($33.3 million). Those prices exclude the buyer's premium.

Christie's officials said they were still working on confirming the identities of the buyers, who mostly came from North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Eileen Gray 'Dragons" chair sells for $28 million at YSL Christie's

In the form of unfurling petals, upholstered in brown leather, the frame in sculpted wood, lacquered brownish orange and silver and modelled as the serpentine, intertwined bodies of two dragons, their eyes in black lacquer on a white ground, their bodies decorated in low relief with stylised clouds

The unique and remarkable 'Dragons' armchair was acquired from Miss Gray by Suzanne Talbot, the first patron to provide her with an opportunity to create a complete environment. The exotic, symbolist character of the piece situates it conceptually within the first phase of Miss Gray's creative cycle. It aligns with the figurative panels and screens that can be traced to her first public exhibit in 1913 and the first published feature on her, in British Vogue, of 1917; it has an altogether different spirit from that evidenced in reductionist features such as the 'brick' wall panelling and screens that gave the Suzanne Talbot apartment so radically modern a character. The armchair distils all that was so personal and so magical in the first, intimately expressive phase of Miss Gray's career -- surprising, imaginative, subtly sculpted and crafted, it is a masterpiece of invention and execution.