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Popular Prouvé desk and chair headlining Nov. 6 auction

Not only will bidders encounter one seldom-seen piece of Prouvé furniture during Michaan's Nov. 6 auction, but two in offerings of a desk and a chair.

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Mid-century modern offerings will be presented at 1:00 p.m. PT on Nov. 6 in an approximate 475 lot sale offered by Michaan Auctions, highlighted by a wide variety of artisan furnishings and collectibles. Perhaps one of the most classic modern design highlights is found in a Finn Juhl 45 chair listed as lot 3339 ($6,000-7,000). Largely regarded as the first Danish modern chair on the market, it became a prototype for models of Danish modern seating to follow. The Finn Juhl 45 was the first to break with traditional design, as it freed the seat and back from the chair’s frame. This important, groundbreaking feature gave the Finn Juhl 45 a defining place in the history of Danish furniture design. To this day, original Finn Juhl 45 chairs remain a rare find in the marketplace.


Offerings from Jean Prouvé are found in both a desk (lot 3293, $6,000-8,000) and chair (lot 3294, $7,000-8,000) in the sale. Prouvé, whose work remains relatively unknown in public circles, has been sought after for years by A-list connoisseurs and museums. His clean lines and minimalist forms have found favor in collectors such as New York hotelier André Balazs, actor Brad Pitt, gallery owner Larry Gagosian, fashion designer Marc Jacobs and lifestyle guru Martha Stewart. Prouvé has been widely praised for successfully translating manufacturing technologies into modern design without compromising key aesthetic qualities.

Desirable furniture pieces from George Nelson as well as Charles and Ray Eames will also make an appearance at auction. Of note in the Nelson auction collection is a circa 1950 secretary desk that incorporates leather, metal and mahogany in a minimalist design (lot 3378, $4,000-6,000), as well as a highly sought after and rare thin edge rosewood cabinet (lot 3377, $2,000-3,000). Nelson’s mark on modern design has been influential in a number of enduring and stunning pieces. From the delightful Marshmallow Sofa that charmed with its whimsical design to the first L-shaped desk which set the tone for the modern workstation as we know it, Nelson established himself as a furniture original. Also of note are over 30 Eames design lots, encompassing chairs, radios, photos and tables.

Modern jewelry is highlighted by an extremely rare Margaret De Patta pin #6 (lot 3362, $8,000-10,000). The silver boomerang shaped brooch is accented by clear quartz crystal; a De Patta design form that has proved to be quite coveted. A nearly identical pin was exhibited at LACMA in 2011’s “California Design, 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way,” as well as at the Peabody Museum in 2014. The pioneering jewelry designer’s work has also been included in the Oakland Museum, London’s The British Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian and at the Museum of Art and Design in New York.

Modern enthusiasts are sure to delight in two original, unusual and highly collectible pieces showcased in the sale. A circa 1910 Märklin attributed tin steam engine ship model is listed at an auction estimate of $8,000-10,000 (lot 3237). The amazingly true-to-life model was crafted in painstaking detail, down to renditions of miniature life preservers. The model ship’s engine also remains in working condition, making this piece quite an excellent find.


A Studebaker automobile will also be made available, with historic ties to the Grateful Dead (lot 3462, $300,000-500,000). The 1949 model, also known as “The Dred,” was bought in 1966 by Owsley Stanley, the Grateful Dead’s first manager and soundman. Stanley once used the car to drive the Grateful Dead to Los Angeles to record and to appear at the “Dead at the Acid Tests.” Owsley also used the vehicle in the mid-60s to the early ‘70s to transport the Grateful Dead’s sound equipment. The Studebaker of an Owsley painted red color was then repainted by his friend in a multicolored, psychedelic manner that incorporated the red paint.

The illustrated auction catalog will be posted online at when it becomes available. Previews open at Michaan’s Auctions on October the 31st to November the 2nd, as well as the day of sale, November 6, 2014. For general information please call (510) 740-0220 ext. 0 or e-mail Michaan’s Auctions is located at 2751 Todd Street, Alameda, CA 94501.

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