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20

Eileen Gray

An Important and Unique Six-Panel Screen

Estimate:

1,500,000

to
- 2,000,000 USD

Eileen Gray

Eileen Gray

An Important and Unique Six-Panel Screen

An Important and Unique Six-Panel Screen

Estimate:

1,500,000

to
- 2,000,000 USD

Lot sold:

2,137,500

USD

Eileen Gray

An Important and Unique Six-Panel Screen


circa 1921-1923

lacquered wood, silver leaf

78 1/2 x 101 1/8 x 5/8 in. (199.3 x 257 x 1.5 cm) fully extended

Overall in very good condition. The present work – one of the artist’s most important surviving masterpieces in lacquer – retains its original lacquer and is in remarkably well-preserved condition. The piece has recently been professionally stabilized and conserved by a professional lacquer restorer with extensive experience in lacquer works by Eileen Gray. All of the conservation work that was recently executed is fully reversible. In the tradition of ancient lacquer techniques, the front side of each panel has been applied with numerous layers of lacquer, starting with a black ground, then built up with numerous layers of red lacquer, which was overlaid with a transparent brown lacquer. When viewed in person, the exquisite and rich brown-red lacquer – a signature color of the artist – displays much greater nuance and visual depth than seen in the catalogue photographs. The coloration of the lacquer is also richer and slightly more vibrant than depicted in the catalogue illustrations. The lacquer is in very well-maintained condition overall and presents with minor surface irregularities inherent to the process of the lacquer application as well as evidence of very minor rubbing and occasional very minor flecks to the lacquer consistent with gentle handling. The front sides of the panels present with some occasional hairlines to the lacquer, the most prominent of which have recently been professionally conserved and stabilized. The outer right panel presents with a very minimal area of prior inpainting to the lacquer covering some shallow indentations and measuring approximately 3/4 inch in total. The upper edges and areas surrounding the hinges with flecks and areas of minor losses to the lacquered surface. These losses have recently been sensitively stabilized and relacquered with a color and tonality that matches the original lacquer surface. The reverse side of the panels has been sensitively re-finished with a black lacquer coating in keeping with the original treatment of the screen. The verso also presents with occasional and very minor surface irregularities inherent to production and small scattered hairline cracks which are stable. The original silver leaf elements present very well overall and retain their bright surface treatment. The silver leaf presents with some darkening throughout, minor flecks and losses to the edges as well as occasional and very minor lifting to the surface. A varnish and blackening agent were recently applied to localized areas with losses to the silver leaf to homogenize and restore the original surface. The original hinges are in very good functional condition and present with oxidation and rust marks throughout consistent with age. Please note that due to the fragile nature of the piece, the screen should preferably be handled with gloves and kept away from direct sun exposure.  


In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

Galerie Jean Désert, Paris
Jean-Henri Labourdette, Paris
By descent to her daughter Mme. Louis Pauwels, Paris
Jean-Claude Brugnot, Paris
Sotheby's New York, December 1-2, 1989, lot 754
Steven A. Greenberg, New York
Christie's New York, The Steven A. Greenberg Collection: Masterpieces of French Art Deco, December 12-13, 2012, lot 32
Jean Badovici, "Eileen Gray: Meubelen en Interieurs," Wendingen, series 6, no. 6l, 1924, p. 9 (for the present lot photographed in Eileen Gray's Paris gallery, Jean Désert)
Philippe Garner, "The Lacquer Work of Eileen Gray and Jean Dunand," The Connoisseur, London, 1973, p. 4 (for a related design on a lacquer wall paneling from the Suzanne Talbot apartment)
Eileen Gray: Designer 1879-1976, exh. cat., Victoria & Albert Museum and Museum of Modern Art, London and New York, 1979, p. 28 (for the present lot illustrated)
Peter Adam, Eileen Gray: Architect/Designer, New York, 1987, p. 75 (for the present lot illustrated)
Philippe Garner, Eileen Gray: Designer and Architect, Cologne, 1993, p. 51 (for the present lot illustrated)
Caroline Constant, Eileen Gray, New York, 2000, p. 46 (for the present lot illustrated)
Eileen Gray, exh. cat., Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2013, p. 159 (for the present lot illustrated)
Jennifer Goff, Eileen Gray: Her World and Her Work, Newbridge, Ireland, 2015, p. 169 (for the present lot illustrated)
Eileen Gray, exh. cat., Bard Graduate Center Gallery, New York, 2020 (for the present lot illustrated)
Eileen Gray: Designer 1879-1976, traveling exhibition, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1979; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1980
Eileen Gray, DeLorenzo Gallery, New York, December 1997
Eileen Gray, traveling exhibition, Centre Pompidou, Paris, February 20-May 20, 2013; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, October 12, 2013-January 26, 2014
Eileen Gray, Bard Graduate Center Gallery, New York, February 29-July 12, 2020; October 13-October 28, 2020