Published: December 26, 2000
NEW YORK CITY – Two sales at Christie’s New York on December 8 emphasized a demand and international interest for Twentieth Century applied arts. Although different in style and approach, the sales Tiffany: Innovation in American Design and Important Twentieth Century Decorative Arts offered examples creations by leading Twentieth Century designers and artists active in the decorative art field. World auction records were set in the two sales.
A “Tardieu” chromed metal and lacquer desk by Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann, executed in 1929 for the Salon des Artistes Decorateurs, was the star of the sale Important Twentieth Century Decorative Arts. The desk sold for a solid $1,876,000, not only setting a world auction record for Ruhlmann but also a record for any piece of Art Deco furniture ever sold at auction. This record price is shared with the Edgar Brandt’s “L’Oasis” screen that was sold at Christie’s New York during the Masterworks sale on June 8 for exactly the same amount.
The afternoon, devoted to Louis Comfort Tiffany, also had its share of records. The “Danner Memorial Window,” created in 1913 and a prime example of Tiffany’s glass, set a world auction record for a Tiffany window at $1,986,000.
In 1996 Christie’s New York achieved the previous world auction record for a Tiffany window, selling the “Parakeets and Gold Fish Bowl Window” for $1,047,500.
A mosaic column, inspired by the Byzantine mosaics Tiffany has so much admired in the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, sold for $831,000. Four additional existing columns from the same series are all in museum collections.
The Tiffany sale also realized $1,101,750 for the collection of lamps from the Sydney and Frances Lewis Art Trust Collection. The property from the Estate of Leslie N. Nash, probably the most important archival material on the Tiffany studios to have come to auction, attracted tremendous attention and sold for $630,462.
Other highlights of the morning sale were the “Nicolle” silvered bronze and red lacquered wood cabinet by Jacques-Emile Ruhllmann that sold for $336,000 and an upholstered macassar ebony sofa for the Maharaja d’Indore by the same designer, which found a buyer at $314,000. A diamond and gem-set silver and gold brooch designed by Josef Hoffmann for Mrs Fritz Warndorfer and executed by the Winter Werkstatte realized $292,000.
Gross sale results at the Twentieth Century Decorative Arts event were $7,472,838; Tiffany: Innovation in American Design sale achieved $6,629,143.
At Christie’s East, a Private Collection of Italian Glass garnered $1,559,059, and a Twentieth Century Decorative Arts sale brought $1,152,134 for a total of $16,813,174 from all four sales.
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