Fine 20th century design takes the spotlight in Dec. 10 auction

NEW YORK – When Heritage Auctions presents its Signature® 20th Century Design Auction to New York City, on Dec. 10, 2009, it will be a celebration of the style, international flair and timelessness of the great designers and design movements of the century just passed. Names like Tiffany, Giacometti, Bertoia and Rietveld will highlight the offerings at 104 East 25th Street, 3rd Floor.

”I’m always guided by a passion to offer auctions of a consistently high caliber. This auction, in keeping with the great international auction tradition, represents some of the best there is to offer in the key aspects of 20th Century Art and Design,” said Christina Japp, Director of 20th Century Design Auctions at Heritage Auctions. “We’re featuring superb examples of some of the greatest names to emerge from the last 100 years or so, and we think collectors will respond enthusiastically to these offerings.”

Leading the way in the Tiffany section of the more than 800 lot auction is a Tiffany Studios “Bamboo” Floor Lamp, circa 1910, with vibrantly colored glass. The piece, estimated at $200,000-$300,000, comes from a private New York collection where it’s resided for the last 30 years.

“This is as fine a specimen of Tiffany as collectors are likely to see this year,” said Japp, “and would be a gorgeous cornerstone to any advanced Tiffany collection.”

Another of the key pieces offered is a Diego Giacometti gilt-bronze chair, Tabouret de Coiffeuse, designed by the famed craftsman in 1960. The chair comes to Heritage from New York collector Andrew Crispo. It is estimated at $60,000-$80,000.

The Schiller-David Collection of Dutch Art Nouveau and Art Déco, 1880-1930, anchors the Dutch Modernism section of the auction, and will be the subject of a pre-auction lecture by Amsterdam-based Dutch Modernism Expert Rob Driessen.

“The Schiller & David Collection offers a unique view at the roots of Dutch Modernism,” said Driessen, “which sprang from symbolism and orientalism, as well as early constructivism. We find important youth works by later De Stijl heroes Bart Van der Leck (De Farizeeers, circa 1905, a pencil and black and blue pastels on paper, estimated at $32,000-$42,000) and Gerrit Rietveld, showing the influence of symbolist painters.”

The day of auctions will begin with the auction of the Collection of Michael Playford and Two Zero C Applied Art, Ltd., more than 300 pieces in all, which includes works by Carlo Bugatti, Jean Dunand, Alvar Aalto, Andre Sornay, La Maison Desny and many other artists reflecting the design of the 20th century.

There will also be an evening session devoted to more than 200 lots of Lalique and related French art glass. According to expert Nick Dawes, it will be “the finest Lalique auction that New York has seen for many years,” featuring rare works by Rene Lalique and a unique collection of modern, limited edition artistic pieces.

Further highlights from the Tiffany section of the auction include, but are not limited to:

Two Tiffany Studios landscape windows from “Fenway Gate” in Boston, Mass.: These two specimens come to the Heritage NYC auction from the private collection of a distinguished Florida family. They are estimated at $150,000-$200,000 and $80,000-$120,000, respectively.

Tiffany Studios “Drophead Dragonfly” table lamp estimated at $150,000-$200,000.

Tiffany Studios paperweight glass “Narcissus” vase, circa 1916 estimated at $40,000-$50,000.

Further highlights from the Important 20th Century Design section of the auction include, but are not limited to:

Carlo Bugatti, Portrait of a Lady, circa 1910-1911: A personal work from Bugatti believed to depict Barbara Bolzoni, the wife of the artist’s first son, Ettore Bugatti, founder of the Bugatti automobile manufactory and is widely considered a pioneer of modern automobile engineering and design. The portrait is estimated at $50,000-$70,000.

Claude Lalanne, Trone de Pauline: The fanciful and inspired work of the Lalannes consistently defies placement within the strict confines of a single movement in the history of 20th century design. In this “throne” Claude Lalanne tempers the delicacy of foliage with the monumental weight and scale of bronze. Estimated at $30,000-$50,000.

Harry Bertoia “Prototype” Sculpture for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Chapel Reredos, circa 1955: A prototype for the reredos, or altar screen, Bertoia was commissioned to create for the Kresge Chapel at MIT. The screen is among his first monumental architectural works and marked the artist’s continuing collaboration with noted modernist architect Eero Saarinen. It is an intriguing testament to the collaboration between two great 20th century artists. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000.

Otto Prutscher for J.C. Klinkosch, Vienna, a circa 1920 eight-piece silver and ivory tea and coffee service estimated at $20,000-$30,000.

Further highlights from the Dutch Modernism section of the auction include, but are not limited to:

Joseph Mendes da Costa, Slapende Apen, sculpture, circa 1908, estimated at $28,000-$38,000.

Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, Vereeniging van Onthouders, 1917-1920: This fine lithograph is the only recorded copy of the artist’s only poster. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000.

Bart Van der Leck, Bataver Lijin: Two studies and two proof prints for the poster, circa 1915: Estimated at $22,000-$28,000.

Four Rozenburg eggshell porcelain vases, which carry estimates that vary from piece to piece between $3,000 and $7,000.

For more information about this and other Heritage Auctions, visit
Photos courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries.


*Great Books, CDs, Price Guides & More
*Share YOUR Thoughts in the Antique Trader Forums
*Check out our FREE Online Classified Ads
*Sign up for your FREE e-mail newsletter
*Visit the Antique Trader blog for the latest news and views from the Antique Trader editors
*Enter the Antique Trader Treasure Hunt Sweepstakes