NEW YORK - On June 14, 2008, Sotheby’s New York will hold a sale of Important 20th Century Design, with highlights ranging from an impressive selection of lamps from Tiffany Studios to 21st Century masterworks of Contemporary Design. The sale features a unique offering: the Artek Pavilion by Shigeru Ban, in collaboration with UPM, estimated to sell for $800,000/1.2 million*. The overall pre-sale estimate for the 150 lots is $7,020,000/9,980,000. Prior to the auction the works will be on exhibition in Sotheby’s 10th floor galleries from June 8 to 13, with a gallery dedicated to the Artek Pavilion which includes a model and images of the prefabricated structure.
James Zemaitis, Senior Vice President and Director of Sotheby’s 20th Century Design Department, noted, “Rather than taking our traditional chronological approach of arranging the sale, we have instead chosen to contrast masterworks of the early 20th century with postwar and contemporary design. It’s a new way of looking at things; for example, in our catalog we feature Louis Comfort Tiffany on one page and on the next, Studio Job.”
Internationally renowned architect Shigeru Ban designed the Artek Pavilion, “the Space of Silence,” (est. $800,000/1.2 million) in collaboration with forest products group UPM using mainly one material: extruded profile out of wood plastic composite, made primarily from recycled materials. The principle raw material for this recycled material is self-adhesive label materials made of paper and plastic. The architecture of the pavilion was designed around a structural-unit concept, repeated multiple times in forming an elongated shed-like building. The pavilion was also designed to be re-assembled, and the elements were pre-built and assembled in Finland. One module of the pavilion, which consists of a roof, wall and structural elements, is approximately 2 meters wide; this module is repeated 21 times. The entire pavilion is 40 meters long and 5 meters wide and can be taken down and re-assembled easily. This nomadic construction, an unconventional piece of ecological innovation with elegant beauty, stands for Artek’s attitude to sustainable development, amplifying the dialogue between design, architecture and art.
The postwar offerings also include An Important and Rare Prismatic Prototype Table for the Alcoa Forecast Program by Isamu Nogushi from 1957 (est.
$100/150,000). The Alcoa Forecast Program was an initiative to emphasize the functional and artistic possibilities of aluminum in the mid- 1950s. The designers who created prototypes for this program were given the objective to create a new
visually attractive design that maintained the inherent qualities of the metal, yet demonstrated an alternative potential. Nogushi developed the iconic design of this Prismatic table, conceived in multiple to form a “kaleidoscope” with variant colors with the intention of adaptability.
A large collection of exciting works by noteworthy contemporary designs will be offered. By Studio Job, a Four-Panel Screen from the “Perished Collection,” 2006 (est. $40/60,000) exemplifies the attention to precision and playful imagery applied to classical forms that are the hallmarks of Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel of Studio Job. Another work, Chair that Disappears in the Rain, by Japanese artist Tokujin Yoshioka from 2007 (est. $30/50,000) is made of glass and Japanese zelkova wood.
With his “Ultimate Art Furniture” series, originally exhibited at Moss in New York in 2006, contemporary designer Constantin Boym uses the painted canvas as a new material with which to create furniture. From this series, Boym’s “Mars and Venus” Chair and Mirror (est. $40/60,000) incorporates an exuberant, heartfelt 1980s study of a Baroque religiousthemed masterwork.
This sale also includes a select group of top-caliber and rare works by Tiffany Studios from private collections. Highlights from these offerings include a “Magnolia” Floor Lamp, circa 1915 (est. $700/900,000); a “Wisteria” Table Lamp, circa 1910, designed by Clara Driscoll in 1901 (est. $500/700,000); an Important and Rare “Apple Blossom” Table Lamp, circa 1905 (est. $250/350,000); and a Jeweled Dragonfly Table Lamp, circa 1910, on a rare matching mosaic glass and bronze base (est. $200/300,000).
Another magnificent work by Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company is an Important, Rare and Monumental Chair, executed circa 1891-1892 (est.
$180/240,000); this work is an early example that relates to two documented chairs of nearly identical design for Havemeyer House. Another highlight from the Aesthetic Movement/American art nouveau period is a Dining Chair by Herter Brothers, circa 1881 (est. $80/120,000), made of carved oak, brass, and tooled and gilded leather, which was designed for the dining room of the Cornelius Vanderbildt mansion.
Also included in the auction is a selection of extraordinary designs by American woodworkers. A group of 15 works by George Nakashima, the legendary dean of the American Craft movement, will be offered from The Collection of Dr. and
Mrs. William Abelove, who acquired pieces from the artist starting in the 1970s. Highlighting this collection is an extraordinary Dining Table Made of English Oak Burl (est. $60/80,000). Also offered is an early group of Wendell Castle carved wood pieces, four in total, all dating from mid-1960s. One of these pieces is a Unique Two-Seat Sofa, dated 1967 (est. $40/60,000), which was acquired directly from the artist by the present owner. Rare works from California modern craftsmen, such as Arthur Espenet Carpenter and J.B. Blunk complete this creative section.