By Carter B. Horsley
The November 14, 2009 Design
auction at Phillips de Pury is highlighted by numerous spectacular
works including examples by Ettore Sottsass Jr., Harry Bertoia,
Paul Evans, Ben Jacober and Vannick Vu, Jean-Pierre Vitrac, Fernando
and Humberto Campana, Michael Geertsen, Shiro Kuramata, Charlotte
Perriand, Toni Zuccheri, and Isamu Noguchi,
Lot 37 is a "Piccoli Libri"
cabinet made by Ettore Sottsass Jr. (1917-2007). The large and
colorful cabinet was made in 1992 and is 83 5/8 inches long. It
was made for Gallery Milano in Italy and is number8 from the edition
of 9. It has an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. It failed to
One of the auction's more striking
items is Lot 5, "Acrylic Stool," by Shiro Kuramata (1934-1991).
Made of acrylic with embedded feathers in 1990, it measures 21
1/4 by 13 by 16 1/8 inches. It is number 25 of an edition of 40.
It was manufactured by Isimuri, Japan. It has an estimate of $70,000
to $90,000. It failed to sell.
Another fine work by Kuramata
is Lot 15, "How High the Moon" a nickel plated steel
mesh and steel sofa that measures 27 1/2 by 58 7/8 by 32 1/4 inches.
It was created in 1996 and is number 3 of an edition of 30. It
has an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. It failed to sell.
Another Venini piece is Lot
87, a rare and manumental "Il Cavallo di Leonardo,"
by Ben Jacober (b. 1930) and Yannick Vu (b. 1942). Produced by
Venini, Italy, it is an artist's proof for the edition of six.
It measures 55 1/8 by 35 5/8 by 30 3/8 inches.Venini first presented
this piece in Venice in 1993 at the Palazzo San Gregorio and a
45-foot-high version without blown glass was exhibited that summer
in the Giardini at the XLV Venice Biennale. This lot has an estimate
of $50,000 to $60,000. It failed to sell.
Lot 14 is an exotic work entitled
"Exile" that is a coffee table made of patinated cast
bronze and polished cast aluminum by Vincent Dubourg (b. 1977).
It was made in 2008 and measures 30 by 37 3/8 by 35 inches. It
has an estimate of $30,000 to $40,000. It failed to sell.
Lot 132 is an 80-panel "Sounding
Column" by Harry Bertoia (1915-1978). The patinated bronze
sculpture is 31 inches high and was created in the 1960s. It has
an estimate of $70,000 to $90,000. It failed to sell.
Lot 81 is a spectacular polychrome
glasss and bronze sculpture by Toni Zuccheri (1937-2008) in the
form of a spectacular bird of no less than paradise. It was made
in 2007 and produced by Venini, Italy. It measures 33 1/2 by 41
3/8 by 19 5/8 inches. It has an estimate of $45,000 to $55,000.
It sold for $110,500 including the buyer's premium as do all
the results mentioned in this article. The present work, which
is known as "Araba Fenice" (Arab Phoenix), was the last
work made at Venini by Zuccheri before he died.
Lot 53 is a two-tiered wall-mounted
shelf entitled "Nuage" by Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999).
It was produced circa 1958 by Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé
and measures 28 by 142 by 13 1/2 inches. It has an estimate of
$70,000 to $90,000. It sold for $80,000.
Lot 31 is an "adjustable
table lamp" in stainless steel by Jean-Pierre Vitrac (b.
1940). It is 55 1/2 inches high and was made circa 1970. It looks
like it could not only illuminate but also brew coffee and land
on the moon. It was manufactured by Verre Lumiere in France. It
has an estimate of $22,000 to $28,000. It sold for
Lot 105 is a sculpture of glass
bells made by Fernando Campana (b. 1961) and Humberto Campana
(b. 1963) and produced by Venini, Italy. It is 118 1/8 inches
high and was created in 2009. It has an estimate of $35,000 to
$45,000. It sold for $40,000.
Certainly the most adorable
works in the auction are the "two standing objects"
of Lot 38 by Michael Geertsen (b. 1966). Sadly, they are not robots
but glazed earthenware. The tallest is 29 3/4 inches high and
was made in 2008. The lot has an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000.
It failed to sell.
Lot 147 is a rare and important
"Meditation Room" model no. 820-PC1 by Isamu Noguchi
(1904-1988). The work dates from circa 1975 and is made up of
Japanese mulberry bark paper, copper rod, and rope and was produced
by Ozeki Company of Japan, and is one of two examples ever produced.
It measures 96 by 47 1/2 by 47 1/2 inches. It has an estimate
of $80,000 to $120,000. It was formerly in the archive of Steph
Simon whose gallery in Paris represented the artist. It failed
The auction sold 76 percent
of the 153 offered lots for $3,589,750.
It was particularly successful
with works from the Venini Archive, selling 97 percent of the
works for $945,375 above a high pre-sale estimate of $673,000.
New auction records for glass were set for Carlo Scarpa, Toni
Zuccheri, Napoleone Martinuzzi, Miroslav Hrstka, Harri Koskinen,
and Emmanuel Babled. The auctio also sold 100 percent of its Brazilian
furniture section with Joaquim Tenreiro's three-legged chair selling
for $80,500. Jean Royere's pair of "Boule armchairs"
from circa 1942 sold for $482,500, almost double its high estimate.
The contemporary ceramics section was 100 percent sold.