This Week’s Top Lots: March 23 – 27

Editorial Staff Art

Faceted cabinet, model PE-354, by Paul Evans for Directional, United States, c. 1970. Chrome-plated steel, enameled fiberglass; height 32, width 58, and depth 25 inches.

A week of 20th century design auctions kicked off on Tuesday at Wright in Chicago, with a steady sale that brought in over $1.5 million with 72.5% sold by lot. The top selling items were both by Paul Evans, a Faceted cabinet (model PE-354) that sold for $44,375 (estimate $20,000-30,000) and an Argente cabinet (model PE-38A) which brought $32,500 (estimate $20,000-30,000). Auction records were set for jewelry by Margaret DePatta, a brooch that brought $21,250 (estimate $5,000-7,000), and an Art Smith Patina necklace for $17,500 (estimate $7,000-9,000), that were both sold to private collectors. Also notable were several bargains-a Mies van der Rohe designed sofa issued by Knoll for $1,875 (estimate $4,000-6,000), several George Nelson for Howard Miller clocks that sold below estimates, and a 1967 Gertrud and Otto Natzler bowl for under $2,000 (estimate $3,000-4,000).

Brooch by Margaret DePatta, United States, c. 1950. Sterling silver, glass, and agate; height 2 1/2, 3 width 1/2 depth inches. Photos courtesy of Wright.

The Christie’s New York sale of 20th century design and decorative art, which brought in just under $1 million, was smaller than their previous sales with only 102 lots offered. The top-selling work was a Paul Dupre-Lafon oak, gold leaf, and bronze low table from the 1940s that was sold for $122,000, well below its estimate of $200,000-300,000. Next was a “Soleil” mirror by Line Vautrin that brought $60,000 (estimate $30,000-40,000), though an “Ananas” pair of table lamps by the same designer disappointed, realizing only $18,750 against an estimate of $30,000-50,000. One boon to the sale was a painted cast-iron guardrail section from the Paris Metro designed by Hector Guimard that brought $27,500 (estimate $7,000-9,000), and was sold to a private collector in Europe.

Guardrail section by Hector Guimard, Paris, c. 1900. Cast-iron, and paint; height 40 1/2, width 47 inches. Courtesy of Christie’s.

In New York today, Sotheby’s sale of 20th century design realized just over $2 million, with only 57.4% sold by lot, but 67.3% sold by value. The top lot was a Tiffany Studios “Dogwood” chandelier that sold for $86,500 (estimate $25,000-35,000). The second highest price was $74,500 for a 1954 Henning Koppel for Georg Jensen fish dish and cover (estimate $40,000-60,000). A rare floor chair of birch plywood and rope by Alexey Brodovitch that won third prize in MoMA’s 1948 competition and subsequent Low-Cost Furniture exhibition was snapped up by a private European collector for only $3,750 (estimate $8,000-12,000).

Floor chair, model 1211-C, by Alexey Brodovitch, c. 1949. Birch plywood, rope, and metal; height 28 7/8 inches. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.