Phillips Modern Masters and Design Sales

Phillips Modern Masters and Design Sales

26 - 27 April '17

Phillips is pleased to offer works by the most respected and refined designers from the past century, including Alberto Giacometti, Jean-Michel Frank, Carlo Mollino, Gio Ponti, Jean Prouve, Armand-Albert Rateau, Jean Royere and Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann. These icons of the 20th century are offered alongside exceptional 21st century works by Ron Arad, Joris Laarman, Marc Newson and Young Sook Park. With estimates ranging from £2,000 to £1.5 million, the Modern Masters and Design auctions will take place on the 26 and 27 April at Phillips London.

Alberto Giacometti's unique ceiling light spotlights the artist's close friendship with a powerhouse of early 20th century arts and culture, the editor Teriade (estimate: £1.5 - 2.5 million).

Teriade spent his life promoting art and artists, and without his vision, Matisse would not have created Jazz and subverted the art world with his paper cut-outs. The present ceiling light is one of three unique plaster ceiling lights that Giacometti created for Teriade. Originally installed in Teriade's dining room in his apartment on rue de Rennes in Paris, it is exceptional in its originality but also in its large size, spanning 129 cm in diameter. Giacometti had begun designing plaster lighting in the late 1920s, a period of intense collaboration with designer Jean-Michel Frank, who championed numerous Giacometti designs in notable interiors, including Elsa Schiaparelli's showroom on Place Vendome (1934); Jean-Pierre Guerlain's apartment (1935) and Jorge Born's villa, Buenos Aires (1939).

The second work to exceed fl million is Armand-Albert Rateau's unique and important dining table and set of ten chairs from the hotel particulier Thalheimer, Paris (estimate: £l - 1.5 million.)

This exceptional suite was conceived by Rateau for the residence of distinguished surgeon Marcel Thalheimer (1893-1972) and his wife Marguerite Stern (1898-1984), and comes by descent to the present owners. In 1931, the Thalheimers commissioned a new residence from the architects Leon Fagnen and Rene Betourn, set in the heart of the 16th arrondissement in Paris. The interior furnishings and decoration, conceived in their entirety by Rateau, were what truly set this home apart. A curving stone staircase led to the first floor, where the present dining table and ten chairs occupied the understated yet sumptuous dining room.

The table top was constructed from a single, solid, and beautifully-figured plank of Japanese ash—a massive size for this tree species—and rested on two austere pillars of Giallo d'Istria marble. The armchairs, though an earlier design for Rateau, effortlessly adapted to their new modernist habitat, echoing the arched recesses in the walls. The hotel particulier Thalheimer was a luxury residence for an elite clientele, yet a thoroughly forward-looking one, designed for the modern era.

The Art Deco section of the sale is further highlighted by Emile-Jacques Ruhlman's ceiling light, model no. 3543NR, which marks the first time this model will come to auction and a rare outing for this design (estimate: £120,000 - 150,000).

Modern Masters brings together a celebration of mid-century French design, including Jean Prouve's 'Cite' armchair, from Jean Prouve's private collection (estimate: £180,000 - 280,000).

The `Cite' armchair is one of Prouve's early masterpieces designed for a competition to furnish the halls of residence at the Cite Universitaire in Nancy, France. Prouve himself lived with and used the present armchair in his own home.

Notable characteristics include the coated steel rockers and leather arm support straps, as Prouve was able to meld both design and functionality whilst creating a dynamic, flowing form. The armchair comes to the market for the first time from the Collection of Laurence and Patrick Seguin, and has been exhibited at the Gagosian Gallery and subsequently in 'A Passion for Jean Prouve: From Furniture to Architecture: The Laurence and Patrick Seguin Collections' at the Pinacoteca Giovanni e Maria Agnelli museum in 2013.

A further highlight by Prouve is a '6 x 9' demountable house, which will be taking over the galleries at Phillips Berkeley Square in the lead up to the sale (estimate: £700,000 - 900,000).




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