Published: June 28, 2022
Review by Z.G. Burnett, Photos Courtesy of Capsule Auctions
NEW YORK CITY – Litchfield County Auctions conducted its Deco + Design II sale on June 15, presented by Capsule Auctions. The total for the sale was $145,156 and operated remotely with Capsule’s in-house bidding software, LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable. Bids were also taken over the phone. Most of the sales and all of the top lots went to collectors, with almost an even split between American and European bidders. The connection between the two houses is Nicholas Thorn, who is president of Litchfield and a managing partner of Capsule. The auction was a sequel to the Deco & Design sale that took place on February 24, and both offered objects from New England and New York estates. The majority of lots in both auctions came from the collection of Seymour Stein (b 1942), an American music executive who co-founded Sire Records, was vice president of Warner Bros. Records and is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Ceramics were the predominant category of the sale, with a selection of glass, silver and furniture.
French ceramics filled most of the top lots, with a monumental Sèvres lamp taking the day at $11,563, more than double its low estimate. The open form urn concealed an interior light bulb that illuminated the carved figural frieze when lit, depicting a battle between a centaur and humans, one mounted on horseback. The lamp was in good condition with a few small losses, crazing and some possible restoration. From Stein’s collection, the urn lamp sold to a European collector.
Another Sèvres piece with Stein provenance in the top lots was a porcelain vase with Olympic motifs, emblazoned with “athelétisme” on its top. The vase was designed by Gaston Goor (1902-1997), whose works on canvas and paper have been appearing frequently at auction of late. The vase sold for $5,875.
The second highest lot was an Art Deco low table designed by Jean Dunand (1877-1942). The table combined two different categories of decorative arts, with an églomisé mirror top surface supported by a frame gilted in eggshell lacquer. The panel showed a maritime scene of ships on a rough sea with dolphins and sold for $10,635 to a European collector.
The third highest lot was an occasional table, made from iron and Daum glass by Edgar Brandt (1880-1960), who was a prolific iron worker and weapons designer. The wrought iron frame showed a beaded rim and foliate apron with a swag motif, and its legs terminated on scrolled feet. Both glass shelves were acid-etched and incised with “Daum Nancy France” and the factory’s signature cross of Lorraine. The table sold for $8,125.
These first four lots were followed by an earthenware tile frieze by André Metthey (1871-1920), depicting Aesop’s fable of “The Bear and Two Travelers.” The 33-paneled frieze shows the moment when an attacking bear whispers to a traveler playing dead, while his companion hides in a tree, that a true friend doesn’t abandon another in danger. The frieze got away with $4,250.
Two of the top lots were created by Jean Mayodon (1893-1967), one of the foremost French ceramicists of the Art Deco style. The first was a ceramic vase in an urnlike form with cartouches of figures and animals on its convex body, which realized $3,750. The second was another vase in a more bottle-like form with tiers of graduated crescents on its exterior that sold for $2,625.
A large stoneware vase from Atelier Primavera sold for $3,625, depicting an enameled scene of two hunters, farm animals and possibly a dog or wolf. Primavera was founded in 1912 by René Guilleré, a French lawyer who also founded the Society of Decorative Artists, and the manager of the Parisian department store Le Printemps, Pierre Laguonie. “Primavera” is a reference to the department store’s name, and in the 1920s the label was known for its Art Deco designs. Despite its healthy production throughout the Twentieth Century, the firm shut down in 1972.
Last but not least of the top lots was a group of earthenware objects by Robert Lallemant (1902-1954), each colorfully decorated with stylized images of the Art Deco period. The lot included a trinket box with cocktail motifs, a pair of bookends with antelopes and two vases showing boxers and rugby players. One of these had been remounted as an oil lamp. The group lot gathered $2,875.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For information, www.litchfieldcountyauctions.com or 860-567-4661.
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