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20th Century Design

Design Soars in 3 Sales Totaling $25.1 Million

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. 

Strong Bidding Drives Thomas Molesworth Sale to Double Its High Estimate


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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