Published: July 28, 2016
NEW YORK CITY — Wright’s on-site auction for The Four Seasons restaurant was a white-glove sale July 26 as all 650 lots sold for a total of $4.1 million, more than quadruple the presale estimate.
Thousands of bidders sought items from the iconic restaurant’s landmarked interior, famous for hosting the original “power lunch” for power brokers, celebrities and the like. The sale began at 10 am and continued until after midnight with hundreds of people in attendees in the historic Grill Room and Pool Room.
“The response to this auction is a testament to the beloved icon that is the Four Seasons and to the owners Alex von Bidder and Julian Niccolini, who have operated the restaurant for over 40 years,” said Richard Wright.
The auction was led by Emil Antonucci’s sign for the Four Seasons with its well-known four-tree logo at $120,000 followed closely by the second highest-grossing lot, a curved banquette and table #35 from the Grill Room by Philip Johnson Associates, going out at $62,500. Architects Philip Johnson and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed the restaurant’s interior space. der Rohe also designed the exterior of the Seagram Building, which housed the restaurant since its opening in 1959.
Other top lots included a custom Tulip table from the Grill Room’s bar by Eero Saarinen at $45,000, a stemware collection by Garth and Ada Louise Huxtable for $35,000, a set of two Barcelona chairs by van der Rohe for $21,250, and bar stools designed by van der Rohe with Johnson for the Grill Room at $23,040.
The Four Seasons has been one of the most recognizable international-style interior spaces and has been described as a “cathedral of Modernism.” On July 16, the restaurant closed to prepare for its move to a newly designed location after its lease in the Seagram was not extended.
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