Review / ANNIE ET JEAN DALSACE: Les collections de la Maison de Verre
White glove sale for the collection of Annie and Jean Dalsace.
ON THE 7th of October, after nine decades in private hands – surviving two wars, countless crises and auction houses inventories – each of the 116 lots coming from the Maison de Verre found a new owner. The white glove sale at Christie’s Paris totalled more than €12 million hammer price (more than €15 million including buyer’s premium), against a total high estimate of €5.5 million.
This should not come as a surprise, as the estimates were conservative and only lightly took into consideration the outstanding provenance. The auction house’s encouraging pricing was perhaps a factor behind the strong bidding, but it has to be said that this collection ticked every box.
Every lot performed well above its estimate (on average 130% above the high estimate). The iconic ‘MF 1002’ bergère (lot 16) by Pierre Chareau, with tapestry based on a cartoon by Jean Lurçat, sold for €668,000 (with premium*) against an estimate of €30,000-€50,000. Its pendant (lot 14), which had its original upholstery (as stated in the salesroom notice, but not in the catalogue), sold for approximately half of that (€325,000) – but still five times its top estimate.
The stunning illuminated mirror ‘MG 311’ (lot 2) sold for €644,000 with an estimate of €50,000- €70,000, while the ‘SN9’ table (lot 97) sold for €596,000 against an estimate of €30,000 to €50,000.
Amongst the extreme prices some lucky and attentive collectors were able to buy the rare ‘porte lettre’ for €18,750 (estimate €3,000-€5,000), and a beautiful stool ‘SN 1’ (lot 61) for €27,500 (estimate €15,000-€20,000).
Was it a defining design market moment as promised by Christie’s? This sale can be interpreted as a sign that historical design has the power, even when anchored in a rigorous modernist aesthetic far from the current trends, to seduce collectors and make strong prices. The world record for a work by Chareau was not broken, but the desk ‘MB 624’ (circa 1929) became the new record – by far – for a desk by Chareau (€812,000, on an estimate of €200,000 – €300,000), to be placed alongside the new record for a stool by Chareau (lot 78, €137,500, against an estimate of €20,000-€30,000).
Above all market considerations, however, this landmark sale gave us the chance to look at a beautiful collection, assembled with a rare love and care.
*All prices include buyer’s premium, unless stated.
ANNIE ET JEAN DALSACE: Les collections de la Maison de Verre at Christies, Paris.