Published: December 13, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Abell Auction
LOS ANGELES – Abell Auction presented Twentieth Century design on November 29, an online sale featuring more than 450 lots of designer furniture, paintings and multiples, decorative arts and luxury goods. Among the original works of art on offer, a highlight topping the sale was a Mr Brainwash (b 1966) subway panel from 2016. Bought online, it sped past all stops to arrive at $400,000, twice its high estimate. Awash with a hallucinogenic patina of graffiti stencils and mixed media on aluminum, plywood and Plexiglas, the panel was signed to verso of panel six and measured 84 by 286 inches overall. Best known by his moniker Mr Brainwash, Thierry Guetta is a French-born Los Angeles-based street artist who blends Pop and street art with appropriated iconic images rendered in a vibrant palette.
A ceramic owl, “Chouette,” by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) flew to $21,250. Created in 1969, the white earthenware clay turned vase with engobe decoration (green, black, red, white) was numbered 18 from the edition of 350 and stamped with the “‘Madoura Plein Feu” and “Edition Picasso” pottery stamps on the underside. Measuring 9 inches wide, 5½ inches deep and 11½ inches high, the ceramic owl has a fierce gaze from piercing black eyes and its ruffled inlaid feathers hint of an adventurous past. Of course, it is the Spanish master’s painterly brush strokes, expressively strewn across the body that accentuate the bulbous curves of the vase, Picasso’s artistic handling shining through.
Other Mr Brainwash works were offered, including a 2016 silkscreen on paper depicting Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988), the American artist who rose to success during the 1980s as part of the Neo-Expressionism movement. Signed and dated lower right, the 35-by-49-inch brought $16,250.
Avant-garde foodies were not ignored, as a navy blue La Cornue “Grand Palais 180” range crossed the block at $25,000. The crown jewel of the Château Series and commanding respect and admiration in any kitchen, the “Grand Palais” models stretch to almost 6 feet in length, the range boasting one grand vaulted gas oven and one grand vaulted electric oven, set beneath one of seven rangetop configurations.
Playful Twentieth Century furniture designs found favor with bidders. A colorful Hans Hopfer / Roche Bobois “Mah Jong” sofa with manufacturer’s labels and covered with kaleidoscopic Kenzo fabric more than doubled its high estimate, finishing at $17,500. Comprising three corner sections, three side sections and eight flat sections, the sofa’s sections each measured 39 inches wide; 39 inches deep, with seat height of 8 inches.
Fetching $12,500 was a Flag Halyard chair by Danish designer Hans Wegner. The 1950s white-enameled and chromed steel pierce featured fabric and flag line, with loose sheepskin. Unsigned, it was 41 inches wide, 44 inches deep and 31 inches high.
Sam Maloof (1916-2009), the revered California furniture designer and woodworker, is admired by everyone, from former presidents to museum curators to hobby woodworkers, within the collections of several major American museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In this sale, one of Maloof’s lectern/reading stands brought $8,750. In walnut, signed “1996 Sam Maloof,” it was 38 inches wide with adjustable height from 56¼ to 66½ inches.
Another Twentieth Century sofa, a Ligne Roset Togo sectional piece, commanded $23,750. Both stylish and comfortable, it was covered with charcoal leather and comprised three sections; one section 52 inches wide, 36 inches deep, 26 inches high; seat height: 14 inches; one section 66 inches wide; the corner section 36 inches wide, 36 inches deep.
Prices include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For more information, www.abell.com or 310-858-3073.
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