Paris Design Sales / May 2022
Les Lalanne collection of French curator Daniel Marchesseau at Sotheby’s, and Charlotte Perriand’s personal collection at Christie’s – some of the highlights of this spring’s sales.
THE LAST COUPLE of years have seen Christie’s and Sotheby’s raising the estimate bar and increasingly focusing on the higher end of the design market, which means they concentrate principally on quality, scarcity and provenance.
The talk of the town is undoubtedly the group of works by Les Lalanne sold at Sotheby’s by French curator Daniel Marchesseau to fund the renovation of the collection of the Musée d’Orsay’s new building. As a lifelong friend of the couple, Marchesseau has been living with many of Les Lalanne’s fabulous creations such as Claude Lalanne’s unique lighting sculptures, or the endearing ‘canard’ salt and pepper shaker (Lot 118, estimate €1,000–1,500), one of the collector’s favourites.
This collection is only a part of the impressive Les Lalanne section offered in the Sotheby’s sale. Among other highlights on offer is the iconic ‘Rhino secretaire’ (Lot 140, estimate €2,000,000–3,000,000). The expected price reflects the known appetite for this artist’s work: a piece that belonged to François-Xavier himself and was part of his estate sold for €5,404,400 with an estimate of €700,000–1,000,000). Another outstanding item is the unique ‘Grand Bouquetin’ (Lot 143, estimate €1,500,000–2,000,000).
The astonishing selection of pieces by Diego Giacometti is led by the unique ‘Console aux oiseaux, aux feuilles et aux grenouilles’ (Lot 69, estimate €1,000,000–1,500,000), which could make a new record for his work. Among other masterpieces by the same artist, the ‘Miroir aux chevaux’ deserves special mention. Dating from 1942 and originally belonging to Daniel Marchesseau, it is one of the earliest works designed by Diego as he was separated for the first time from his brother during the War (Lot 78, estimate €10,000–15,000). Look out, too, for the ‘Millepiedi’ table by Franco Campo and Carlo Graffi audaciously estimated at €80,000–120,000 (Lot 54), and the unique necklace holder made for Marguerite Maeght (Lot 72, €40,000–60,000).
A few streets away, Christie’s will be offering the personal collection of Charlotte Perriand, which will undoubtedly draw collectors and institutional attention. Amidst rare and impressive works such as the‘Brazza’ cupboard (Lot 3, estimate €100,000–150,000), the forward-thinking spirit of Perriand is perhaps best represented through the simple ‘table de travail’ (Lot 2, estimate €40,000–60,000) adapted by the designer in 1986 (then aged 83) for her computer.
Collectors who may have missed the Maison de Verre sale will have a chance to view a further selection of work from Annie and Jean Dalsace. Early Art Deco enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the two outstanding works by Armand-Albert Rateau, one from the collection of Jeanne Lanvin (Lot 47, estimate €20,000–30,000), the other from the artist himself (Lot 76, €40,000–60,000) at – all things considered – attractive estimates. The top lot of the sale is a sculptural ‘forme libre’ dining table by Georges Jouve and Janette Laverrière. A scarce model, only two examples of which are currently known, this table might not have a shiny provenance but it certainly has an elite estimate (Lot 100, estimate €500,000–700,000).
Both auction houses will be offering outstanding masterpieces which come with robust estimates (most likely due to the increased competition to get consignors). Expectations for new records are high. Recent sales of modern and contemporary art seem to confirm the strength of those markets, but will design sales be comparably resistant to the current political and economic situation?