Contemporary Art

Table For Four: Three Pieces, Four Different Design Approaches

By Jarret Yoshida, Peter Sandel, Emily C. Butler, Barrie Benson
The Sotheby's Home team selected some of their favorite pieces from the Eclectic | New York auction and asked four interior designers to imagine the pieces’ new homes and how they would incorporate them in a design scheme.

E ach piece, and each designer, reveal the versatility of beautiful objects beyond the utilitarian approach. From joining Terry Williams’s other imagined worlds to Tom Sachs’s humor and energy, the designers’ takes on these pieces come with their personal views on what makes a special piece unique right now.

TERRY WINTERS, MODELS FOR SYNTHETIC PICTURES (SOJKA 97-108), 1994. Estimate $18,000–24,000.

Jarret Yoshida

Designer Jarret Yoshida imagines how one of the Terry Williams's Models For Synthetic Pictures would look like in an interior. Original photo by Anastassios Mentis.


My very first client, who coincidentally had a Terry Winters, was the epitome of chic. Perennial couture front-row denizen and on a first-name basis with Karl, Donna and Valentino, my client’s Winters was the first thing you saw in his home. I would encourage the lucky future owner of this Winters print set to do the same and give it pride of place. Frame your Winters with an oversized frame: 24 x 36. The print is bold, so it can carry the weight of a larger frame. Don't be shy with the matte! Choose a bold color worthy of this print that matches one of the primary reds, blues or yellows we see here. Make your purchase the statement piece in your entry as we did in our client’s entry, and have it join your personal world of beauty and understated elegance. Alternatively, take all your prints and align them over your sofa, 6 over 6, for a dramatic visual abstraction of the natural world right in your own living room.

Peter Sandel

These 12 contemporary etchings by Terry Winters in Models for Synthetic Pictures are a powerful and timely collection of primary color and visual complexity. In using science as a factual starting point for his art, Winters has long explored the interaction between the human mind and the natural world as an intricately networked system. Winters’s work has been interpreted as a metaphor for the way information is processed in the 21st century.

This particular series would be highly impactful installed as a square grid at the top of a stairwell, or hung in a dining room as a feature wall. I would frame each piece in a thin whitewashed maple box frame with splined corners to create continuity and fresh rhythm to the arrangement.

Winters’s approach uses construction to provoke unpredictable, surprising images that emerge and become recognizable. In 2012, when Winters was asked about his creative methods, he replied, “The challenge is to describe another possible world.”

In observing this collection, it seems “that” world might be the one we’re all living in right now.

Emily C. Butler


We once broke up a client’s long corridor with traditional paneling designed to display a series of artwork such as these wonderful Terry Winters prints. Relatively small in scale, I like the idea of being able to study each piece up close in this more intimate setting, and juxtaposing the abstract style against the traditional interior architecture.

TOM SACHS, MIFFY, 2002. Estimate $12,000–18,000.

Jarret Yoshida


Tom Sachs’s bronze Miffy statue is exactly what you need now to lighten the mood of your home. More approachable and easier to display than his world-famous Chanel chainsaw, our very in-the-know Miffy deserves a plexiglass vitrine with a gorgeous thick solid brown wood plinth. She and her new home would look museum-worthy placed towards the end of a long, luxurious marble kitchen counter. A ceiling spotlight on her at night would create high drama, her ears creating long shadows down her back. I like a home that is both chic and approachable, and Miffy’s presence would ensure the latter in one knowing, albeit slightly sardonic, glance.

Barrie Benson


I had the pleasure to meet Tom and his amazing wife, Sarah Hoover, at his most recent exhibit at Thaddaeus in London. His personality matches the playful and creative energy in his art. We need a little humor in our life right now, and this little mini Miffy, similar to his fountain on Park Avenue, seems just right for the times. I can see this little guy perched on a living room mantle or an entry table in a foyer. It adds just the right amount of whimsy to an otherwise stiff and serious room.

Emily C. Butler


The storybook character Miffy always catches me a bit by surprise, having grown up an unwavering Hello Kitty fan. With an X for a mouth (note: Hello Kitty has no mouth), Miffy is described by her inventor as uncomplicated and innocent, which as an adult, makes me question everything we – especially girls! – are fed as children. The artist is known for sparking these reactions using consumer culture as a medium, so I would love to see this clever little sculpture just about anywhere, and then be there for the conversations that inevitably follow!

PIERRE CHAREAU, "CURULE EN M" STOOL, MODEL NO. SN1, circa 1920-1921. Estimate $12,000–18,000.

Jarret Yoshida


Pierre Chareau’s minimalist stool would clearly do well in any modern or contemporary interior. At the same time, it is clearly part of Deco, and the SS Normandie-worthy amboyna wood gives this piece entrée to almost any room style – a hard balancing act to pull off that can sometimes feel like shoving a square peg in a round hole with other furniture genres. As a masterwork, this piece is everything. His M stool belongs center stage, next to a coffee table corner, set perpendicular to the sofa, where it would provide tertiary seating during cocktail parties. When not in use, it can be admired up close as an example of how craft and art commingle in one singular piece of simplicity.

Peter Sandel


French architect Pierre Chareau is known for his functional spaces and modern living. While his architecture and furniture designs are rare, his approach of combining both refined and industrial materials with clean, modern lines is practiced by many designers today. Chareau’s M stool in burl wood is a classic example of an important piece that could easily be layered into any living room design. By tucking it partially under a coffee table, or floating it in a low-traffic corner of the room, this architectural stool serves as both additional seating and contemporary art.

Emily C. Butler


The simplicity of Chareau’s abstraction of a typically more ornately executed design, reserved for high-ranking Romans, allows this elegant piece to live effortlessly in modern and traditional interiors alike. I can see this beautiful piece used as an accent below artwork or layered in as an additional seat in a flexible sitting room furniture plan.

Barrie Benson


Chareau designed many beautiful buildings and furniture in France during the 1920s and 30s. I could see this stool in front of a fireplace, used in a dressing room, or next to a bedside table. When considering a piece, if you can envision it in multiple places, you know it's one worth collecting. It's very sculptural in quality, so it almost feels like a piece of art and would work in the most traditional of settings as well as in a modern space. Pierre Chareau is an excellent addition to any important furniture collection.

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