Published: June 26, 2001
Doyle Includes Single-Owner Collection of Perfume Bottles in Belle Epoque Sale
NEW YORK CITY – On Wednesday, June 6, Doyle New York featured decorative arts from the Gilded Age at an auction of La Belle Epoque. Among the selection of furniture, bronzes, candelabra, porcelain, silver, rugs, and fin-de-siecle paintings were 80 lots of perfume bottles from a single-owner collection.
Among perfume bottles, collectors vied heavily for the top lot, an Art Deco cameo glass bottle in orange with gilt-stylized flowers and a cloisonne-mounted stopper, which achieved $8,050.
Also popular with bidders was a figural bottle of a playful bichon frise designed by Christian Dior that fetched $6,325. Entitled “J’Appartiens a Miss Dior (I belong to Miss Dior),” this was a deluxe presentation commemorating the 10th anniversary of the House of Dior and was shaped after the designer’s own bichon frise. The hanging label at its neck bears its title, and a paper label under the cushion is numbered in Roman numerals and signed “Tian Dior” (Dior’s nickname) in his own handwriting.
The Paris perfumeur Jean Desprez presented the perfume Votre Main in 1939. This deluxe presentation is made of fine white porcelain and is shaped like a hand with a pink rose porcelain stopper. The bottle came in four sizes, and a group of three that were offered in the sale was purchased for $6,325.
From the Victorian era and in the Egyptian Revival style was a pair of gilt-incised ebonized wood pedestals, circa 1870, from Kimbel & Cabus (1876-82), that realized $21,850. Each gold and black pedestal is set with busts of Egyptian women. The New York City firm of Kimbel & Cabus was among the first in America to work extensively in the Modern Gothic mode.
Other highlights included an interesting desk that is highly sought after by collectors, the Wooton patent walnut desk. The example in the sale achieved $14,950. The Wooton desk is best known for its large number of interior compartments that allow records and office supplies to be stored conveniently in one area.
The desk’s design provided an ingenious solution to the businessman’s increasing problem of organization and satisfied the Victorian love for order. It came in four grades, ordinary, standard, extra, and superior, the ornamentation increasing with each higher grade. John D. Rockefeller, Ulysses S. Grant, Joseph Pulitzer, and perhaps even Queen Victorian owned one. The example in the sale was most likely a standard grade.
Another desk capturing the bidder interest was a Carlo Bugatti (Italian, 1856-1940) desk and chair en suite that was purchased by a French bidder for $14,950. This stylish desk bears copper wrapped elements and is further mounted with suede and mother-of-pearl.
The cover lot of the sale was a bronze and alabaster bust of a proud female warrior by the most famous Viennese sculptor of bronzes, Carl Kauba (1865-1922). The figure, which has an elaborate polychrome helmet and a lion drapery resting on the marble base, was competitively bid to $17,250.
Also of note was a Louis XVI-style gilt-bronze and cut glass 12-light chandelier that sold for $16,100. Standing out among the art glass was a Lalique Alicant glass vase designed in 1927 and molded with parakeets that realized $9,200.
Of the ceramics, a Newcomb high glaze pottery vase decorated by Hattie Joor in an elongated ovoid form with incised irises took the top lot at $10,350.
A selection of silver was led by a Georg Jensen sterling silver after-dinner tea and coffee service in the “Blossom” pattern that achieved $11,500. The sale also offered a selection of Judaica, a highlight of which was a continental silver charity box in the form of a mausoleum, which brought $3,162.
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