This June, Sotheby’s Important 20th Century Design auction will present a curated selection of decorative arts and design from the last 100 years. Among the highlights in the June 13th auction is an historic collection of furniture designed by Gerrit Rietveld, assembled over a 25-year period by a private Dutch collector. The centerpiece of the collection is an extremely rare aluminum chair, one of only four produced by Rietveld with the assistance of his sons Wim and Egbert. The prototype, designed circa 1942 and now in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum, was conceived by Rietveld on the original drawing as “an aluminum model for a chair folded from fiberboard.” For Rietveld collectors, this chair design has acquired near-mythical status, and it will be the one and only opportunity to acquire this icon.
The auction also includes many rare examples of American and European prewar design from private collections. The sale begins with an impressive selection of favrile glass and leaded glass lamps by Tiffany Studios, including a rare “Dragonfly” Table Lamp on an exquisite matching mosaic glass base, an extraordinary “American Indian” Table Lamp, and a superb “Morning Glory” Exhibition Paperweight Vase. Highlighting the American Arts and Crafts material is an important and rare clerestory window designed by George Grant Elmslie and William Gray Purcell from the Madison State Bank in Madison, Minnesota. A pair of candelabra by KEM Weber—never before seen at auction—is just one of several masterworks on offer in a section presenting the best of American design of the 1930s. The sale also presents collectors with a broad exploration of modern and contemporary design, highlighted by important works by Jean Prouvé, Paul Evans, George Nakashima, Frank Gehry and Studio Job.