Sotheby’s X LOEWE Collaboration
Chestnut roasters, embellished by craft, rub shoulders with Monets and Lichtensteins.
IN EARLY MAY, commerce, art, fashion, design and craft have come together in an exuberant display of decorative pots. Physically on view at the grandly redesigned headquarters of Sotheby’s on York Avenue, New York (opened in May 2019), they share space with canvases by Claude Monet, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein and other modern masters – which Sotheby’s will be auctioning on 12th May.
The pots are the production of the Spanish luxury fashion house, LOEWE, whose creative director Jonathan Anderson is a powerful advocate for craft. A passionate private collector of ceramics, he launched the LOEWE Craft Prize in 2016, supported by the LOEWE Foundation, to honour and celebrate the achievements of leading makers across many craft disciplines. As he comments, he has made craft “central to LOEWE’s identity.”
The pots, their bodies specially created by master potter Antonio Periera, are inspired by the traditional Galician chestnut roaster. The torn holes are functional, but they also provide a scaffold for textile artists and other designers to create a whole range of different playful embellishments. For the seven on display in New York, LOEWE commissioned three artists – ARKO from Japan, Min Chen from China, and Laia Arqueros from Spain – to decorate the roasters using leftover materials from past LOEWE collections.
These range from the witty ceramic additions of Arqueros, to ARKO’s meticulous straw weaving artistry. The seven are available to purchase exclusively through Sotheby’s Buy Now online marketplace ($10,900 – $25,400) – representing the first exclusive consignment with the platform by a major fashion house since it launched in September 2020.
For those unable to make it to New York, a further eighty-four chestnut roasters – some left unglazed, some glazed, some painted – were given to artisans Idoia Cuesta and Belen Martinez from Spain, as well as to artisans in LOEWE’s own ateliers. They have all experimented with new techniques to generate additional creative interpretations of the pots. Holes were braided or passed through with strips of rope, leather strings, colourful ribbons, raffia, feathers, clay or wool threads. These pieces will be exhibited and available for sale in the LOEWE stores worldwide.
As Anderson comments in the press release: “It’s all very engaging, and another way to pay tribute to the superb craft of our unique pieces.” For Sotheby’s, there is the benefit of an eye-catching display to lure New Yorkers into their galleries – and something to buy for those for whom a Basquiat or Cy Twombly are a bit of a stretch.