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SALES PREVIEW / November Sales Paris

An absence of grand collections, but some high-end collecting opportunities.

‘Important Design’ at Sotheby’s Paris
22nd November, 2022

‘Design’ at Christie’s Paris
29th November, 2022

By Astrid Malingreau / 17th November 2022
Marc du Plantier, ‘Collection of eight chairs’, edition Galerie Lacloche, circa 1971 (Lot 127, Christie’s ‘Design’ sale, estimate €40,000-60,000. Unsold) COURTESY: © Christie’s Images Limited 2022

Marc du Plantier, ‘Collection of eight chairs’, edition Galerie Lacloche, circa 1971 (Lot 127, Christie’s ‘Design’ sale, estimate €40,000-60,000. Unsold)
COURTESY: © Christie’s Images Limited 2022

NOVEMBER IS THE time for design collectors and followers to turn their attention to Paris, where Christie’s and Sotheby’s will hold their seasonal various owner sales. No grand collections are offered, but sound selections with a wide range of estimates. Lots range from the early 20th century, to contemporary creations such as Marc Newson’s unique ‘Orgone’ stretch lounge (Sotheby’s, Lot 79, estimate €400,000-600,000) or his experimental ‘Bodyjet’ (Christie’s, Lot 52, estimate €40,000-60,000).

Marc Newson, ‘Orgone Stretch Lounge’, 1993 (Lot 79, Sotheby’s ‘Important Design’ sale, estimate €400,000-600,000) COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

Marc Newson, ‘Orgone Stretch Lounge’, 1993 (Lot 79, Sotheby’s ‘Important Design’ sale, estimate €400,000-600,000. Unsold.)
COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

Sotheby’s will be offering 177 lots on the 22nd of November under the highly commercial patronage of star decorator Jacques Granges who has curated the catalogue. Amongst the eclectic sale, there is a rare opportunity to acquire a private commission by Carlo Mollino (Lot 146, estimate €120,000-180,000). Although it is a late work, leaning towards an “architectural” look – rather than the striking organic sculptures that broke auction records – the lightness of the lines and the exquisite details of this cabinet are breathtaking.

Line Vautrin, 'Folie' mirror, circa 1958 (Lot 70, estimate €100,000-150,000. Sold for €201,600) COURTESY: © Christie’s Images Limited 2022 / PHOTOGRAPH: Anna Buklovska

Line Vautrin, ‘Folie’ mirror, circa 1958 (Lot 70, estimate €100,000-150,000. Sold for €201,600)
COURTESY: © Christie’s Images Limited 2022 / PHOTOGRAPH: Anna Buklovska

The following week, on the 29th of November, Christie’s will put 140 lots under the hammer. The sale will offer 31 lots by Line Vautrin, a regular favourite of galleries and auction houses as the festive season approaches. After the dedicated sale held by Christie’s last March (see the TDE sales review) the prices of the mirrors have been visibly raised – see, for instance, that the model ‘Folie’ that was estimated last March at €80,000-120,000, and sold for €327,600, is now estimated at €100,000-150,000 (Lot 70).  The exquisite ‘Huître’ mirror (Lot 34) , meanwhile, is estimated €150,000-200,000. Jewellery and other objects by Line Vautrin still remain relatively accessible. Amongst the selection are the delicate ‘Boite à Sous’ (Lot 138, estimate €800-1,200).

Line Vautrin, ‘Oyster’ mirror, circa 1960 (Lot 34, Christie’s ‘Design’ sale, estimate €150,000-200,000. Sold for €189,000) COURTESY: © Christie’s Images Limited 2022

Line Vautrin, ‘Oyster’ mirror, circa 1960 (Lot 34, Christie’s ‘Design’ sale, estimate €150,000-200,000. Sold for €189,000)
COURTESY: © Christie’s Images Limited 2022

Art Deco/Modernism
Although seasoned collectors are probably awaiting the unveiling of the Perelman collection (the sale to be held at Sotheby’s New York on 6th December) – both auction houses still manage to impress with outstanding art deco and modernist works. The desk and chair made by Armand Albert Rateau for Jeanne Lanvin herself (Lot 21 and 22, estimates €200,000-250,000 and €40,000-60,000 respectively), or Marcel Coard’s desk (Lot 73, estimate €300,000-350,000) or the ‘Ski Bar’ by Paul Dupré-Lafon (Lot 122, estimate €120,000-180,000) offered at Sotheby’s are undoubtedly the highlights.

Armand-Albert Rateau, ‘Desk Chair’, circa 1920-25 (Lot 21, Sotheby’s ‘Important Design’ sale, estimate €40,000-60,000); ‘Jeanne Lanvin’s personal desk’, circa 1920-25 (Lot 22, Sotheby’s ‘Important Design’ sale, estimate €200,000-250,000) COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

Armand-Albert Rateau, ‘Desk Chair’, circa 1920-25 (Lot 21, Sotheby’s ‘Important Design’ sale, estimate €40,000-60,000. Sold for €138,600); ‘Jeanne Lanvin’s personal desk’, circa 1920-25 (Lot 22, Sotheby’s ‘Important Design’ sale, estimate €200,000-250,000. Sold for €1,487,000)
COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

Christie’s, however, is offering a very reasonably priced and delightful ensemble by André Groult (Lot 36-38, estimates €5,000-7,000, €3,000-5,000 and €2,000-3,000) coming directly from a private collection. In the modernist category, the work of Pierre Chareau is particularly well represented at Sotheby’s with, amongst others, a dining table originally made for the Dalsace family (Lot 15, estimate €50,000-60,000) that could be accompanied by the set of five ‘MF11’ armchairs offered at Christie’s (Lot 113, estimate €60,000-80,000).

André Groult, ‘Sofa’, circa 1913; ‘Low table’, circa 1912; ‘Chair’, circa 1913 (Lots 36-38, Christie’s ‘Design’ sale) COURTESY: © Christie’s Images Limited 2022

André Groult, ‘Sofa’, circa 1913; ‘Low table’, circa 1912; ‘Chair’, circa 1913 (Lots 36-38, Christie’s ‘Design’ sale. Sold for €6,300,€3,780 and €2,520 respectively)
COURTESY: © Christie’s Images Limited 2022

Jean Royère
Lovers of the cheerful curves by the design market darling will be able to admire – or acquire – classic and rare pieces. At Christie’s a rare low table from the Majdalani family (Lot 50, estimate €100,000-150,000) might raise a number of paddles and it will be interesting to see if the early ‘Secrétaire’ from 1937 (Lot 49, estimate €20,000-30,000) will catch similar attention.

Jean Royère, ‘Secretary desk, edition Gouffé’, circa 1937 (Lot 49, Christie’s ‘Design’ sale, estimate €20,000-30,000. Unsold) COURTESY: © Christie’s Images Limited 2022

Jean Royère, ‘Secretary desk, edition Gouffé’, circa 1937 (Lot 49, Christie’s ‘Design’ sale, estimate €20,000-30,000. Unsold)
COURTESY: © Christie’s Images Limited 2022

Les Lalanne
Can there be a design sale without works by the celebrated French couple? In this case, the ‘Grenouille Fontaine’ (Christie’s Lot 97, estimate €400-600,000) or the ‘Tortue Topiaire’ (Sotheby’s Lot 89, estimate €150,000-200,000), both by François-Xavier Lalanne, must be mentioned. However, this is more out of duty than sheer enthusiasm, as the last dedicated sale gavel sounds are still resonating and the sale of Marie Lalanne’s collection has been announced (Christie’s New York, 7th December).

François-Xavier Lalanne, ‘Topiary Tortoise’, 1987 (Lot 89, Sotheby’s ‘Important Design’ sale, estimate €150,000-200,000) COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

François-Xavier Lalanne, ‘Topiary Tortoise’, 1987 (Lot 89, Sotheby’s ‘Important Design’ sale, estimate €150,000-200,000. Sold for €390,6000)
COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

Finally, it is interesting to note that both auction houses are presenting a small section dedicated to the French 1980s. No surprises in the names put forward but perhaps a test to see if the market is evolving towards the ‘collectible’.

Martin Szekely, ‘Passif’ low table, 1987 (Lot 166, Sotheby’s ‘Important Design’ sale, estimate €15,000-20,000) COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

Martin Szekely, ‘Passif’ low table, 1987 (Lot 166, Sotheby’s ‘Important Design’ sale, estimate €15,000-20,000. Sold for €44,100)
COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

Perhaps no records will be broken in Paris but these sales offer truly high-end collecting opportunities.

Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, ‘Beugel’ chair, 1927, edition Metz & Co, 1930 (Lot 67, Christie’s ‘Design’ sale, estimate €30,000-40,000. Unsold) COURTESY: © Christie’s Images Limited 2022

Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, ‘Beugel’ chair, 1927, edition Metz & Co, 1930 (Lot 67, Christie’s ‘Design’ sale, estimate €30,000-40,000. Unsold)
COURTESY: © Christie’s Images Limited 2022

‘Important Design’ at Sotheby’s Paris, 22nd November at 14.30 CET.

‘Design’ at Christie’s Paris, 29th November at 15.00 CET.

Article by Astrid Malingreau
Article by Astrid Malingreau
Astrid Malingreau is an independent advisor focused on 20th century contemporary design. She previously worked for Christie's in London and New York as a specialist in decorative arts and design. View all articles by Astrid Malingreau