Bonhams sale Dec. 19 features Greene & Greene designs

NEW YORK – Bonhams will celebrate 20th-century design at its Dec. 19 auction of Art Nouveau, Art Deco and modern design, including a collection of Greene & Greene furnishings.

Brothers Charles and Henry Greene began their education at Calvin Woodward’s Manual Training School of Washington University in St. Louis. The school’s educational format was groundbreaking for the time, basing its curriculum on “education of the hands” as well as the mind. This early training was the foundation of the brothers’ focus and interest in tools, materials and craftsmanship. The Greenes went on to complete their education as architects at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

After a trip to Pasadena, Calif., to visit their parents, the Greenes opened an architectural firm in that city. Greene1.jpgBy 1903, Greene & Greene began to offer integrated design services, which included furniture.

A pair of upholstered armchairs from the Cordelia Culbertson House, 1911-13, by brothers Charles and Henry Greene, estimate $60,000-$90,000.

Over the decades, the Greenes’ distinct style garnered widespread recognition. Scholars credit Greene & Greene with the introduction of high-art aesthetics and superior craftsmanship to the American Arts & Crafts movement.

Bonhams will offer the seating furniture from the noted Cordelia Culbertson House, 1911-13, designed by Charles and Henry Greene. The current owner purchased the chairs in an estate sale in the 1980s. While the chairs have been reupholstered, the original fabric, along with the ebony tacking strips, have been saved and will be offered along with the furniture.

Greene2.jpgAnother example of Greene & Greene designs for the Culbertson House – a three-panel screen – could bring as much as $50,000.

A pair of Greene & Greene inlaid mahogany armchairs, for the Cordelia Culbertson House, executed in the workshop of Peter Hall, Pasadena, Calif., circa 1913, estimate $60,000-$90,000.

Also up for bid is a selection of European Arts & Crafts works by Christopher Dresser, Archibald Knox, W.A.S. Benson, Otto Prutscher, Georges De Feure, Carl Klimpt and Frank Brangwyn, among others.

A collection of cameo-glass vases features works by Emile Galle, including an enameled “Persian” bowl (estimate $20,000-$30,000) and a “verre parlant” cameo glass shoe, wheel carved with existential poetry by Victor Hugo (estimate $10,000-$15,000). A fruitwood marquetry-inlaid dragonfly cabinet with frog feet is expected to sell at $30,000-$40,000, while a Daum Nancy cameo-glass lamp with applied escargot could bring $40,000-$60,000.

Other featured lots include two pairs of silvered bronze sconces by Parisian anthropomorphic designer Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann. His “Lotus” sconces are estimated at $40,000-$60,000, and the “Antelope” sconces are expected to bring $20,000-$30,000.

A selection of Lalique molded glass works from a private collection includes a “Belecour” vase (estimate $20,000-$30,000); a “Tortues” vase in deep amber (estimate $20,000-$30,000); an enameled “Oranges” vase (estimate $25,000-$35,000) and an opalescent “Oran” vase (estimate $20,000-$30,000).

The sale’s illustrated catalog is online for review and purchase at www.bonhams.com/us.

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