A century of design highlights September Auction of decorative arts

LOS ANGELES — Bonhams & Butterfields held its Fall auction of 20th Century Decorative Arts on Sept. 29, 2009. The 400-lot sale offered a diverse group of high quality pieces spanning a century of design by well-known figures of the period. Featured works included strong examples of Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Mid-Century Modern and works by Contemporary Studio artists. The successful Los Angeles auction brought over $950,000.

The firm was pleased to offer a selection of works by California craftsman Sam Maloof in celebration of his life and career. Among the highlights were a 1970-71 circular walnut dining table and eight chairs. Estimated to bring $18,000-$25,000, the set brought $39,650 to become the top lot of the auction.

Other objects represented in the sale included a selection of early 20th century items such as an oak and copper tall case clock by Gustav Stickley (estimate $5,000-$7,000, sold for $20,740); a pair of Gustav Gurschner bronze figural candlesticks, circa 1900 (estimate $1,500-$2,000, sold for $15,860); an Austrian cold painted bronze and marble Harem table lamp, circa 1900 (estimate $4,000-$6,000, sold for $15,860) and a Tiffany Studios intaglio carved Favrile glass and bronze counter-balance lamp (estimate $8,000-$12,000, sold for $10,370).

According to decorative arts specialists Angela Past and Jason Stein, "A renaissance of interest was seen in the market for early 20th century and Arts & Crafts pieces. Demonstrated by strong prices for work by Gustav Gurschner, Gustav Stickley and Vienna secessionists, buyers sought out rare and unusual items from theses periods."

Leading the California offerings were items by Dirk Van Erp and John Nyquist. Highlights included a hammered copper and mica lamp, circa 1911 by Dirk van Erp (estimate $12,000-$8,000, sold for $24,400); a hammered copper baluster vase, circa 1911 by Dirk Van Erp (estimate $3,000-$5,000, sold for $21,350) and a selection of works from the personal collection of John Nyquist used by the designer in his Long Beach, Calif., home.

Also featured during the fall sale was a group of studio glass and ceramic pieces of art by renowned ceramic and glass artists Beatrice Wood, the Steuben factory, Dale Chihuly, Glen Lukens, William Morris and Frantisek Vizner among others. Notable highlights included an Orange Bowl, 2009 by Frantisek Vizner (estimate $10,000-$15,000, sold for $10,370); a stoneware vessel titled Cimen, circa 1970 by Claude Conover (estimate $9,000-$12,000, sold for $18,300) and a signed copper luster glazed earthenware two-handled chalice by Beatrice Wood (estimate $3,000-$4,000, sold for $5,185).

For the first time, Bonhams & Butterfields was pleased to offer a collection of neon signage and works of art. Comprised of over 10 lots, many of the items were used in award winning films, television and music videos such as an animated enameled steel Beer Mug sign from the 2007 blockbuster Transformers starring Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox (estimate $3,000-$4,000, sold for $8,052), a Japanese animated neon and wood sign: Slam Dunk from the Quentin Tarantino classic Kill Bill (estimate $3,000-$5,000, sold for $4,575); and a two-part blue aluminum sign: Lucky from the film Collateral starring Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith (estimate $3,000-$5,000, sold for $3,660).

For more information on this and other Bonhams & Butterfields events, visit www.bonhams.com/us.

Photos courtesy Bonhams & Butterfields.


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