20th Century Design

Design Soars in 3 Sales Totaling $25.1 Million

By Sotheby's

Demand for iconic works by François-Xavier Lalanne, Thomas Molesworth and Jean Royère drove a $25.1 million combined sale total across Sotheby’s May design auctions, surpassing the overall high estimate of $21.6 million. The week started with a bang as Thomas Molesworth: Designing the American West The Ruth and Jake Bloom Collection (23 May) brought a remarkable $2.7 million – more than double its high estimate. The The Collection of Delphine and Reed Krakoff realized a total of $8.7 million, with François-Xavier Lalanne’s “Moutons de Laine ” garnering top prices. The following day in Important Design (24 May) more works by Lalanne, Royère and Tiffany Studios exceeded their high estimates to achieve a $13.7 million sale total. Read on for results from every sale.

Thomas Molesworth's quintessentially Western designs attracted heated bidding in a spirited sale. Three-quarters of the  lots exceeded their high estimates and ten records were set for his designs. Highlights included an Octagonal Games Table that sold for $225,000, more than three times its high estimate as well as a playful red Molesworth door that surged past its $8,000 high estimate to reach $137,500. 

Works from the collection of tastemakers Delphine and Reed Krakoff garnered top prices for the whimsical works of Les Lalannes. François-Xavier Lalanne's “Moutons de Laine”– comprising five wool sheepone black sheep and one white sheep– together garnered $2.3 million, nearly double the combined high estimate. The rare black sheep set a new auction record for a single “Mouton de Laine” at $735,000. Meanwhile, Claude Lalanne’s “Crocodile” armchair and a unique "Aux Branchettes" chandelier both garnered totals well above their high estimates. Another highlight was Harry Bertoia’s grand-scale sculpture Untitled (Monumental Bush), which fetched $519,000.

Collectors clamored for works by Jean Royère with an extraordinary “Étoile" sideboard from the Dumont Commission fetching $1.8 Million, a new record for the designer. Meanwhile, Jean Royère’s avant-garde "Ours Polaire" armchairs inspired active bidding, outstripping the high estimate to reach $795,000. François-Xavier Lalanne’s whimsical “Sauterelle” bar was another highlight garnering $1.6 million, more than twice its low estimate. 

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