Take a Sneak Peek at Design Week

Take a Sneak Peek at Design Week

From Tiffany glass to 20th-century French design, the upcoming Design Week at Sotheby’s spans continents and periods.
From Tiffany glass to 20th-century French design, the upcoming Design Week at Sotheby’s spans continents and periods.

S otheby’s December Design Week will feature a select group of noteworthy objects sure to add grace and magnitude to any collection. Here are some of the dazzling highlights on view at our New York headquarters 2–7 December, with live auctions set for 6–8 December.

The Perelman Collection: Masterworks of Design

The Perelman Collection is a superlative assemblage of works gathered over the past four decades by renowned businessman Ronald O. Perelman. Ranging from the 1920s to the 1940s, and covering the best of the Modernist and Art Deco periods, each work from the Collection represents an unparalleled level of quality and provenance, making this sale an exceptional auction event.

Eugène Printz, An Important Sideboard

The superb sideboard presented here encapsulates legendary cabinetmaker Eugène Printz’s talent in skillfully combining patterns, textures and materials into a harmonious ensemble. This lot in particular exemplifies an opulent interpretation of an Art Deco, featuring Baroque elements and African influences and exceptional materials.

Armand-Albert Rateau, An Important Vanity Table

The present vanity table is emblematic of French artist and designer Armand-Albert Rateau’s ingenious vision that infused classical, antiquity and Baroque techniques and themes with a modern sensibility to create a truly stunning design language. The design for this vanity table originated from a project with one of Rateau’s most prominent clients, French couturier Jeanne Lanvin.

Pierre Legrain, Unique Pair of Stools and Low Table for Jeanne Tachard

Commissioned by Ms. Jeanne Tachard for her villa at La Celle-Saint-Cloud, located on the outskirts of Paris, this pair of stools (lot 10) and low table (lot 11) constitute two of the most important furniture designs from this legendary project and further established Legrain’s stature as a leader of the avant-garde. The two unique designs hold a particularly important place not only in the career of their maker but as masterpieces of 1920s European Art Deco, embodying a new, more mature phase in the oeuvre of the designer.

Eileen Gray, Unique Table From the Apartment of the Artist

This stark, substantial table is exceptionally important considering that it remained in designer Eileen Gray’s own apartment, on Rue Bonaparte in Paris, for almost half a century. It exhibits the mastery of lacquer that garnered Gray much attention while incorporating the minimalist elements and forms of her modernist work. With sculptural reliefs on both ends of the base, the form reads as modern and beautifully artistic.

Rembrandt Bugatti, Éléphant Au Repos

Rembrandt Bugatti (younger brother of race car manufacturer Ettore Bugatti) forged an idiosyncratic career through his unique personal perspective alongside his development of innovative methodologies, and was thus an outlier among modernist sculptors.  In his approach to studying and understanding living creatures, Bugatti expertly captured in static material the multiplicity of emotions within animals.

The Doros Collection: The Art Glass of Louis Comfort Tiffany

Glass designs from the studio of Louis Comfort Tiffany are a feat of both artistry and ingenuity that realize the full potential of the medium. Sotheby’s is delighted to present Volume I of the Collection of Jay and Micki Doros, the most comprehensive collection of glass works by Tiffany Studios to ever come to market. The first of a multi-auction series beginning this December, Volume I features works that epitomize Tiffany’s unparalleled innovation and technique.

The “Lava” Vase

Blown glass objects produced by Tiffany Studios were internationally acclaimed for their forms based on nature and the use of vividly colored glass. More than one hundred years later, “Lava” vases are considered by many to best epitomize the creative supremacy of Tiffany’s blown Favrile glass and one of the firm’s most artistically adventurous explorations of the medium.

The “Window” Vase

“Window” vases were perhaps the most technically difficult type of blown Favrile glass object ever attempted by the Tiffany Furnaces. There were apparently only six examples ever produced, all of them made around 1920, including the present work. Its impressive integration of form, structure and decoration distinguish this example as a masterwork.

The “Cameo” Technique

Although inspired by the European production, Tiffany’s cameo glass broke with tradition in both the way it was executed as well as the motifs depicted. One of Tiffany’s most valued employees, Fredolin Kretschmann (1853–1898) was a virtuoso of the cameo technique, and the hand of this master craftsman can be seen in works like the Cameo “Rose” Bowl, which was likely made by Kretschmann and epitomizes his supreme skill and artistic acumen.

The “Aquamarine” Technique

In July 1913, Tiffany sent one of his gaffers to Bermuda to examine the marine life and vegetation of the tropical waters from a glass-bottomed boat and tasked him with replicating his observations in glass when he returned. The final result were “Aquamarine” vases that met with immediate critical success.

Monumental Vases

Tiffany sought to create Favrile glass pieces that could compete in scale and visual power with any of the fine arts, including sculpture. These monumental vases generally relied on a relatively conventional form and shape, and their massiveness offered a blank canvas for some of the richest and most incredible decorations produced by the firm.

Important Design

Encompassing every high note of American and international design from Arts and Crafts to mid-century modern to contemporary, Sotheby’s Important Design Auction will feature work from names such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand, Joaquim Tenreiro, Gio Ponti, Harry Bertoia, George Nakashima, Ingrid Donat and many more.

Continuing the Legacy: The Rockefeller Dining Chairs by Jean-Michel Frank and Christian Bérard

These dining chairs are the product of the relationships between some of the most important figures in 20th-century patronage and design: Nelson Rockefeller, Jean-Michel Frank and Christian Bérard. They are steeped in the history of American politics and evolution of the Parisian Art Deco style. Theatrical in design, they are also synonymous with the convivial conversation and hushed government secrets they witnessed during Nelson and Happy Rockefeller’s many dinner parties.

An Important “Mesa” Coffee Table by T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

The “Mesa” Coffee Table remains one of the most widely recognized and celebrated designs by British architect T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings. Introduced in 1952 by Michigan-based manufacturer Widdicomb Furniture Company, the highly sculptural table is inspired by the sprawling mountain ranges that Robsjohn-Gibbings viewed from above as he traveled across the United States.

Jean Dunand, “Serpent” Vase

Executed circa 1907, the “Serpent” vase belongs to the early period of Jean Dunand’s career in which he made a name for himself with his metalworking. Composed of patinated bronze, the vase features a hammered martelé ground and irregular rim, underscoring the handmade nature of the work and evoking the texture and delicacy of a fired ceramic.

Dreaming in Glass: Masterworks by Tiffany Studios

The “Wisteria” table lamp model is widely recognized as an icon not just of Tiffany Studios’ extensive body of work, but also as a design icon of the 20th century. This extraordinary Wisteria example presents a stunning, highly saturated and nuanced color palette in its lush panicles, ranging from deep cobalt to lavender with translucent tiles with vibrant green and aquamarine striations.

Judy Kensley McKie, Pair of “Seagull” Armchairs

Judy Kensley McKie believed she was transforming furniture from the inanimate to animate through use of animal motifs. The pair of “Seagull” armchairs illustrates McKie’s skill in manipulating material to evoke the essence of an animal. The seagull’s wings are rendered as the overarching arms of the chair, outstretched and read for flight, while its tail feather serves as the chair back.

Sculpture By Design: Rateau | Giacometti | Les Lalanne

Sculpture By Design is a celebration of the work of five legendary 20th-century artists from three distinct generations: Armand-Albert Rateau, Diego and Alberto Giacometti and Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne. This curated sale concept emphasizes the shared poetic, modern and lyrical sensibilities of these iconic artists. Brought together for the first time in an auction context, each exemplifies a standard of quality and quest for experimentation that makes their work outgrow the traditional boundaries between sculpture and design.

Claude Lalanne, Pomme de Londres and Pomme d’Hiver

The Pommes of Claude Lalanne can be placed alongside the “Moutons” of her husband, François-Xavier Lalanne, as one of the most impactful and recognisable motifs of Les Lalanne. This re-appropriation of the ubiquitous and commonplace, by considered manipulation of both scale and material, produces the palpable reappraisal of familiarity in the viewer – a juxtaposition of the instantly recognizable against the entirely unexpected in a single work – for which both artists are today so celebrated.

Sotheby’s is delighted to offer not one but two examples never before offered at auction: Pomme de Londres (lot 33) has the dual advantages of being conceived both as both an indoor and outdoor piece whose artistic power is equally as effective in a natural setting as it is inside a home. Monumental in scale, Pomme d’Hiver (lot 305) stands over seven feet tall, an exaggerated and greatly enlarged version of an apple beautifully captured in gilt bronze. Fitting for a garden or exterior setting, it is one of the artist’s most quintessential works; the patinated apple’s exaggerated proportions reference the Surrealist motifs of René Magritte and Salvador Dalí.

Armand Albert Rateau: An Important Armchair for George and Florence Blumenthal

One of the most important and rare pieces by Armand-Albert Rateau to ever come to auction, the present armchair – commissioned by Mr. and Mrs. Blumenthal for the indoor swimming pool of their Upper East Side mansion – is one of only eight recorded examples of the model known to exist. Through meticulously sculpted bronze decorations, the armchair perfectly encapsulates the precocious talent of its maker and incorporates Neoclassical and figurative references that make the piece all the more unique and significant in the history of 20th century decorative arts.

François-Xavier Lalanne, Singe Attentif I and Singe Attentif II

Respectively known as Singe Attenif I and Singe Attenif II, these charismatic figures are among François-Xavier Lalanne’s most beloved bestiaries and epitomize the outstanding practice of the celebrated animalier sculptor. Designed to rest on a ledge, the Singes are characterized by their slender sweeping tails and stoic elegance.

Diego Giacometti, “L’Oiseau” Console

The beauty of the present “Oiseau” Console resides in its handsome composition and the harmonious coexistence of superb figurative elements immortalized in bronze. Diego Giacometti enhanced the dynamism and texture of the scene with a beautifully nuanced patina, which is further complemented by the original dark slate top. Superbly proportioned, the console features a small bird facing a coupelle towards which he appears to be approaching, exemplifying the designer’s keen ability to capture both naturalistic motifs and narrative tension in his work.

 Alberto Giacometti, “Tête de femme” (“Figure”) Floor Lamp

The present lot is an exceptional example of one of Alberto Giacometti’s most iconic design creations and epitomizes his incomparable collaboration with Jean-Michel Frank. Somewhere between figuration and abstraction, the treatment of the surfaces of the design recalls some of the most successful and compelling Surrealist compositions. The bust of a woman constitutes the focal point of the work and breaks up the otherwise abstract construction of the elongated form.

Property From The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Sold To Benefit Acquisition Funds: Claude Lalanne, Pair of “Structure Végétale” Candle Sconces

As with Claude Lalanne’s entire body of work, these “Structure Végétale” lights are more than merely functional candle holders – they present as a unique mélange only she could imagine. Like a bird’s song, they are intrinsically euphonious.

Poetry and Passion: The Distinctive Jewelry and Objects of Line Vautrin

Poetry and Passion: The Distinctive Jewelry and Objects of Line Vautrin is an exciting online auction featuring the work of French designer Line Vautrin. Known as the “poetess of metal,” Vitrine studied under Elsa Schiaparelli before presenting her first collection of playful jewelry at the age of 21.

20th Century Design Interiors + Design Design Week

About the Author

More from Sotheby's

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos, events & news.

Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.

arrow Created with Sketch. Back To Top