Published: December 30, 2019
Review by Greg Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy Doyle
NEW YORK CITY – The December 18 Doyle+Design sale was a cache of imagination and luxury. Spread throughout this 394 lot sale was a plethora of riches, a collection of decorative arts, furniture, lighting and plenty of fine art works that spanned global makers throughout the Twentieth Century.
The sale would gross between estimate at $908,063 with a 75 percent sell-through and 93 percent sold by value.
The top lot came in the form of a glass “Dahlia” chandelier designed by Max Ingrand for Fontana Arte, which sold at $37,500. The circa 1958 chandelier, in amber, yellow, green and clear glass, spanned 60 inches diameter.
“The chandelier – that was really an exceptional thing,” said David Gallagher, senior vice president and executive director of furniture and decorations at Doyle. “If you saw it in person, it was so impressive and beautiful. The quality of it and the size. It’s such a statement piece.”
The chandelier was from the estate of Susan Weber, the founder and director of New York’s Bard Graduate Center. Weber’s 15 lots in the sale spanned European and American design. Adding to her pile was an R. Lalique nickel-plated metal and molded glass “Feuilles de Charme” chandelier, $5,937; a set of four French Art Deco fruitwood fauteuils sold for $3,125; an Art Moderne 1940s chest of drawers in bronze and palisander del rio went out above estimate at $3,750; an Edward Wormley upholstered walnut two-seat sofa, $3,750; and a silver leaf mirror by Phillip Lloyd Powell, $500.
Tiffany Studios lighting claimed six of the top ten lots. At $31,250 was a bronze and leaded glass dragonfly table lamp designed by Clara Driscoll, circa 1910. At the same price was a Moorish style favrile millefiori glass stalactite fixture with a silvered bronze chain-link mount. A nearly identical example sold the lot prior for a more reasonable $11,250. Both were similar size and condition. A pair of bronze and leaded geometric glass and turtle back tile sconces, 12¾ by 11¾ inches, brought $18,750. A green damascene favrile glass piano harp floor lamp would double estimate at $15,000 while a ten-light pond lily table lamp brought $11,250.
Other notable results in glass included a circa 1900 Daum acid-etched triple cameo glass stick neck bud vase. 9¼ inches high, that brought $11,250 over a $5,000 estimate. A Cobweb and Spider vase by Gallé, 19¼ inches high, took $8,750. Works from Rene Lalique ranged from a $9,375 result for a molded opalescent glass sculpture titled “Suzanne”; a molded “Tortues” vase in alexandrite glass, $8,125; and a frosted amber “Bacchantes” vase, $6,250.
In furniture design, New Hope craftsman George Nakashima’s double sliding door cabinet and free-standing shelf came up strong and over-estimate with a $28,125 result. It was commissioned from Nakashima in the 1960s and came with a copy of its original studio design document. French design was supplied with works by Jean Royeré: a $10,000 result for 12-light wrought iron bouquet chandelier and $9,375 for a set of three “Créneaux” nesting tables with marble tops on gilt iron bases. A Jean Prouvé oak and painted steel gueridon table, which had provenance to collector Melva Bucksbaum – noted for her $100,000 Bucksbaum Award to an artist in the Whitney Biennial – went out at $8,750.
“LaVerne is generally still strong,” Gallagher said, referring to a 36-by-26-inch bronze and pewter mirror by the designers, Philip and Kelvin, that took $7,500 over a $3,500 estimate. “But mirrors don’t come up that often – only eight in the last ten years that I can see online – and I believe this was fought over by the design trade.”
The fine art side of the sale was cataloged by Angelo Madrigale, a senior vice president and director of paintings and contemporary art at Doyle.
“This is a fun sale and there were lots of great surprises,” Madrigale told us. “There were diminutive works by major names, Conrad Marca-Relli, Lester Johnson among other modern and postwar artists.”
The highest painting sold that day was a calming seaside town scene by Twentieth Century French artist Roger Muhl, “Les Toits Roses,” 39½ by 43¼ inches, that brought $11,250. Following behind was New York abstract expressionist Mary Abbott, who supplied an untitled still life, 38-1/8 by 24¼ inches, that brought $10,625.
One of the consignors to this side was the late actress Sylvia Miles, twice nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performances in Midnight Cowboy (1969) and Farewell, My Lovely (1975).
“She had small pieces of art from people who she was friends with: Philip Rivers, Hunt Slonem,” Madrigale said. “They were friends, she had a lot of his works. There was a Rauschenberg piece that he made for her. They all did well, an exciting group of little things.”
That untitled Rauschenberg work, inscribed “With Love,” metal leaf and ink on four sheets of brown tissue paper joined into to separate works, would sell for $5,312. Five works by Slonem were led by a portrait of the actress, executed in 2000, that brought $2,500. A group of five Slonem works with an inscribed book sold for $2,375. Works from Mark Kostabi and Howard Finster were found in that collection, with a 34-inch Coca-Cola bottle by the latter fetching $1,750. Kostabi’s “Blue Line Café,” a 1990 acrylic over screenprint on canvas, went out at $1,250.
Madrigale was pleased to see a work by American artist Llyn Foulkes in the sale.
“Foulkes, he showed at Ferus Gallery on the West Coast right around the time that Warhol debuted his soup can show. Ferus Gallery would have shown that first, they were kind of the tastemakers for West Coast postwar art, they were showing amazing things. Foulkes is kind of like the Tom Waits of the art world. A crazy character with a one-man band. But a phenomenal artist who is getting his recognition, he had an exhibition a few years back at the New Museum.”
Foulkes’ mixed media and paper collage on found photo, 8¾ by 9-5/8 inches, went out above estimate at $5,625.
Also making a good impression was Twentieth Century French sculptor/furniture artist Philippe Hiquily’s “La Parade,” a 1957 wall sculpture measuring 34¼ inches wide. It sold for $13,750 above a $7,000 estimate.
“He’s a French artist that made these modernist forms. The one that we had was early, and usually his works have an incredible finish to them – they’re very sleek. They look like a Miro figure but three-dimensional. This form is familiar in its shape but the patina was pretty raw, and that might be part of its condition and part of that might be the artist’s intention. And its early so it may be before he perfected his style. All that being said, it’s relatively rare to see his sculpture in the United States, so we were excited to have it and it did well.”
Madrigale noted that Doyle was pleased with the sale and its universal appeal to collectors. “That’s what this sale is about, having art that pairs well with great design,” he said.
Doyle’s next design sale is slated for June, 2020.
For additional information, www.doyle.com or 212-427-2730.
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