Important Design
Live Auction: 10 December 2020 • 2:00 PM EST • New York

Important Design 10 December 2020 • 2:00 PM EST • New York

S otheby’s Important Design sale presents a curated survey of Design from the last century, from notable examples of American Arts & Crafts and French Art Deco to outstanding pieces of Contemporary Design. The auction is anchored by masterworks of mid-century and postwar decorative arts from the collection of Mike and Renée Silverstein. The couple’s commitment to quality and connoisseurship for over four decades prompted them to acquire superlative works by Jean Royère, Georges Jouve, Maria Pergay and George Nakashima, among others. Highlights from the sale also include an exceptional selection of sculptures and functional pieces by Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, led by a rare and delicate “Iolas” flatware service, a Table au Requin and a Grand Mouton de Peter. An exceptional “Structure Végétale” chandelier by Claude, which brings together the rare combination of both birds and butterflies, further distinguishes this chapter. In addition to superb pieces from the Lalannes’ floral and animalier world, the auction also features works by European design masters that include Louis Majorelle, Jean Dupas, Pierre Jeanneret and Jean Prouvé. Mid-century American design is represented through important and rare forms by Harry Bertoia, Paul Evans, Isamu Noguchi and Wendell Castle, each of which embody key aspects of their celebrated practice. Complementing this American chapter is a selection of Western vernacular furniture by Thomas Molesworth.

Masterworks by Les Lalannes

Discover the fantastical world of Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, the legendary artist duo known for their poetic and humorous reinterpretations of the animal and natural worlds through sculpture and decorative arts, in a highly curated section led by important masterworks of animalier sculpture. This chapter is led by two exceptional works by Claude, a Unique “Structure Végétale aux Oiseaux et Papillons” Chandelier and a “Iolas” Flatware Service. Superior animal forms by Francois-Xavier include a Grand Mouton de Peter, a Table au Requin and a Tortue Topiaire III, which playfully complement Claude’s flora-inspired designs.

Journey to Modernism: The Collection of Michael and Renee Silverstein

Sotheby’s is honored to present the collection of Mike and Renee Silverstein. Mike and Renee, married in 1958, embarked on a lifetime collecting journey from French Art Deco through Modernism, brought together by their strict commitment to quality and a connoisseurial approach. Their collection includes iconic examples of European and American design, seamlessly woven together to delight the observer with unexpected and provocative dialogues.

Mid-Century Design Masters

Complementing the Silverstein collection is a robust selection of important works by mid-century designers, led by a rare “Snowflake” Ceiling Light by Paavo Tynell. This stunning piece designed circa 1950 exhibits a complex configuration of 24 snowflakes made with brass mesh. Masterworks by Carlo Scarpa, Paul Frankl, Viktor Schreckengost, Charlotte Perriand, Pierre Jeanneret and Jean Prouvé further complement the sale and epitomize the many iterations and manifestations of mid-century Modernism on both sides of the Atlantic.

Exceptional American Studio Design

Paul Evans’ “Sculpture-Front” Sideboard, a superb and highly sculptural example of the artist’s practice, leads the American Studio chapter of the sale. The wide range of materials and techniques presented here attests to each artist’s superior practice and mastery over their chosen medium. Wendell Castle’s Two-Seater Settee, one of only three examples of the model made by the designer, further highlights this section together with superior works by George Nakashima, Harry Bertoia and Isamu Noguchi.

Thomas Molesworth Furniture from the Lazy Bar F Ranch

Opening the sale is an extraordinary selection of Thomas Molesworth furniture from the Lazy Bar F Ranch near Cody, Wyoming. This group was originally commissioned by Max Wilde, a well-known ranger and an ardent conservationist, and remained at their original location for over 85 years after they were made. Exhibiting Molesworth’s characteristic burled wood, colorful leathers and dynamic Chimayo weavings, this exceptional group presents a variety of iconic forms from desks, tables and lamps to quintessential seating with vigorous burled legs.

Icons of Contemporary Design

This curated section showcases important works by contemporary designers, led by a “Leaf” Table by Joris Laarman. This rare and impressive table exhibits the designer’s recognizable use of high-tech digital manufacturing processes paired with a unique organic treatment of forms derived from the natural world. The chapter is further complemented by important designs by Marc Newson, Judy McKie, Ettore Sottsass, Shiro Kuramata, Ron Arad and the Bouroullec brothers.

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