Vase Arp3 by Jean Arp and Atelier Manufacture de Sèvres, 1956. Collection Cité de la Ceramique, Sèvres
Vase Arp3 by Jean Arp and Atelier Manufacture de Sèvres, 1956. Collection Cité de la Ceramique, Sèvres
Fernando Santangelo, interior designer for Bette Midler and for the Chateau Marmont curates the upcoming Contemporary Living Sale at Sotheby’ NY on 28 July.
He states: “I thought it would be in a way like working with gouaches or writing poetry … in which you sort of create a group of works or images to mean something beyond the actual objects themselves.”
In this statement he touches on a fundamental aspect of collecting material culture – the idea of creating a narrative through composition. We all collect design in one way or another. And what makes this ‘material culture’ collectible is the meaning we give it.
Very often it starts with an instinctual aesthetic experience, which compels us to explore other attributes … sometimes it’s about form and craftsmanship, sometimes it’s about supporting and aligning ourselves with the intention of the designer, it might be about associating ourselves with former owners of the same object, or a philosophy represented by the object.
There are many characteristics to every object. By combining objects we can create more elaborate and personal ideas and expression … and our choices reflect our own characteristics!
For examples Santangelo seeks “the best of a period, concept, philosophy” … to create an eclectic interior. Some ideas he mentions he is drawn to creating with interiors are expressed in the following images:
He says, “There are shapes that relate and there is a moment there that is held still.” Can you fell this idea in the image above?
There is a “musical” element to this ensemble he suggests. Do you experience this? Consider how the movement expressed in each object that tends to compel your eye to move from one object to the next creating a sense of movement.
Dynamism and secrets are the themes he points out in this composition. With these two words the idea of a genie (suggested by the movement or ‘dynamism’ of the print) rising from chest of the silver flasks seems quiet obvious, tangible and magical.
Click on any of the photos above to watch a video of Fernando Santangelo speaking about this project.
Emmanuel Bossuet in his stunning appartment in Paris. Image courtesy of The Socialite Family
You describe yourself as a Decorative Artist. What is your philosophy in your design work? The term ‘decorative artist’ is a broad one and can suggest many things. I don’t dedicate myself to being a mere ‘surface designer’ or solely an ‘ornamantist’ but rather I commit more widely to a graphic oriented approach whatever the subject, be it pattern or a piece of furniture. In practical terms it means, I guess, that I somehow prioritize the visual rendition and optical aspect of a piece, and how it will behave in a given environment – within of course a much broader array of criteria….
My commitment definitely has something to do with being an ‘auteur’, whatever the medium may be. And for me discipline is not a theme in itself (which would mean remaining bound to an academic definition of any given medium…). Rather I believe that the theme of any work, any place and perhaps any time is what I can actually bring to it.
Gold and black ‘Dandelion’ screen by Emmanuel Bossuet, PAD Paris 2016, on Armel Soyer’s stand. Image courtesy of Emmanuel Bossuet
‘Dandelion’ wallpaper with embossed paper on Velin d’Arche 300grs, by Emmanuel Bossuet. Edited by Armel Soyer Gallery
Have you always been interested in the decorative arts? And how did you become involved in that metier? What drew you to it? As a child I always regarded the decorative arts with a suspicious eye to say the least…mainly perhaps because I had long found myself surrounded by lesser quality artefacts which were impoverished copies of the grand styles. Most of them Louis XV style… These copies were speaking a very mysterious language to me : totally irrelevant, full of inner and irresolute contradictions.
Years later, my interest in fiction and story telling brought me to a serious study of the graphic arts, drawing and photography which then led me, after a few curvy creative detours to work as as industrial product designer. Incidentally I also got involved at the same period in the field of fashion where I personally focused on pattern making for prints or embroideries. Up to now, most of my close friends are people working in the fashion industry. However, it became clear to me that on the one hand, the aim of the electronic industry (as an industrial product designer) was not to conceive the best products possible and this was a total denial of my commitment as a designer. And on the other hand, the fashion pace seemed far too frustrating in its essence : Why renew your proposals every season, quite often artifically, when you actually seek to invent instant classics rather then obsolescent novelties ? Where is the Grail in all this ?
My attitude towards this analysis was then to look for a more perennial playground, involving lifestyle and artistry alike : and that is why I declared myself a ‘decorative artist’, quite wittily at the time because the word ‘decorative’ was seen as a pejorative, if not provocative term then. Only ten years ago, the term was regarded as a declaration of war on intelligence. Especially in the art field. In the art market, if ‘decorative’ could be added somewhere in the boiler, it was considered the best thing to appeal to a clients actual criteria. It became a widespread essential feature.
Appolonius lustre by Emmanuel Bossuet for Maison Charles. Seen here at AD Collections Quai d’Orsay 2015
From where do you draw inspiration? What inspires you? Strangely enough mostly from reading : memoirs in the first place, then essays and technical or scientific literature. I don’t really look much at other people’s work, except when I want to look more closely at why a certain type of project failed or, in my opinion, simply didn’t manage to reach its underlying goal (its always more pleasant to learn from others’ misconceptions than from yours, right ?…)
But what inspires me the most on an everyday basis is the creative process in itself and the many notions you should beckon or dismiss in the creation. And the rhythm thus involved. Let me draw you a picture : after a finely-tuned study I often end up saying that I foresee ‘one solution and a half’ regarding a specific project : which basically means not exactly two…
Plates designed by Emmanuel Bossuet
Ceramic tiles in a bathroom by Emmanuel Bossuet. Just love the dynamism of the spectacular design! Image courtesy of Emmanuel Bossuet
How do you see the design market in France now? There is basically strictly no product design now in France. We don’t have Ikea here, and the car industry is much more about styling. What we call ‘design’ here is more a matter of dedicated galleries, interior design studios and luxury brands looking to express themselves in a certain environment. This is a strongly flourishing milieu, mostly because creation is still tightly linked to a centuries old tradition here in France of exceptional savoir-faire. Whatever the technique involved you’ll always find here the best craftsmen or companies to realise a project. This is what makes France stand apart in this field from other countries in Europe.
And we can’t deny that Paris in itself attracts the attention of so many people which means that endeavours and creations here are projected onto the international stage and always looked at under a particular spotlight. This is definitely the place for creation.
You became Artistic Director of Maison Charles in 2014. Can you tell us about your role there? Charles is a particularly splendid signature mark and a genuine reference for anyone interested in interior design, be it bronzesmithing or simply lighting. The name ‘Maison Charles’ itself has always been a reference point to describe high-end 60’s and 70’s fixtures. Which is true even now perhaps.
When I started as artistic director of Maison Charles, I had to seriously immerse myself at once in its history and know-how, and as is the case for any venerable house, there is always an intricate mix of these elements with the bare realities of production and market focus. As in everything, there are always many exceptions !
My role there is now mainly to focus on special projects and editions which will lead towards defining Charles in terms of aesthetic innovations for the future. I tend to play the role of forerunner in a way – from quicksand to thin ice, the objective being at my level to help the brand play an ever more prominent yet singular role in the decorative arts field, but on our new grounds. In practical terms, this can take the form of exhibitions, collaborations and special orders. For example, we recently exhibited the first models of the ‘Desert Rose’ range, which I designed, at the event held by AD magazine in Paris – a chandelier, table and tableware. And we are now setting up an exclusive collaboration revising an all-time Charles classic with a top-end department store for the end of the year in Paris.
Art direction is of course not similar to PR work on an every day basis, but if you consider the goals through the scope of creative opportunities for a brand, it should all really be viewed in the same way.
‘Desert Rose’ low table by Emmanuel Bossuet for Maison Charles. AD Collections 2016.
Can you tell us about one of the favorite pieces you’ve designed and why it is important to you. As they all belong to the same string it may be difficult for me to pick up any from the flow ! In some ways I always have a special regard for the ones that escaped from me by reaching a kind of autonomous life by themselves.
Among the most particular projects I would perhaps mention the work we did with Stockman, the famous French bustform manufacturer for couture, a few years ago. These intensely graphic pieces were first created for a one-shot exhibition organized by friends in a commercial showroom. But soon afterwards they were shown at Musée des Arts Décoratifs, then at Centre Georges Pompidou and finally landed at Musée Grevin where ten of them are exhibited as stand-alone pieces. I guess that is what I consider “escape”…
Stockman busts by Emmanuel Bossuet in the Musée Grevin.
Wishing you all a good weekend.
Entrance to Musée Eugene Delacroix
Dimore Studio’s latest installation for DesignDays2106, which took place this past week in Paris, is particularly provocative in the context of the current trend of curators to create shows based on ‘Big Art History’. Big Art History, part of the Big History Project, is an idea invented by David Christian and supported by Bill Gates – which promotes exhibitions and learning opportunities that span large periods of time and often include numerous media categories for example art, design and fashion all in one show that spans 500 years – in an effort to aggregate history. It’s the big data approach that is influencing these ambitious projects.
progetto NON FINITO – Pouf 042 (above and below)
As you can see from these photos, the exhibition entitled Conversations entre Couleurs, explores the correlation between the paintings of one of France’s most celebrated romantic painters, Eugène Delacroix and the contemporary work of Emiliano Salci e Britt Moran of Dimore Studio.
While small in scale, and a conversation between just two parties the dialogue that ensues across 200 years between paintings and furniture gives the viewer visual access to the past in a way that is fresh and exciting. It’s perhaps opening up the idea of drawing macro conclusions about the success of certain color patterns. The idea of culling this type of information (conclusions?) from of our material culture past is quite fascinating.
progetto NON FINITO – Pouf 042 (detail)
Here are a number of images from the exhibition that explore similar colors used in these two different mediums.
progetto PALMADOR – Deconstruction Table
progetto PALMADOR – Big One Table
progetto PALMADOR – Penta table (above and below)
progetto PALMADOR – Totem screen
Drawing connections over time is a beautiful and rich exercise that seems to create the possibility of bringing history alive and into focus in a way that is very relevant to our lives today.
Some other photos of Dimore Studio’s work the illuminate their masterful and carefully edited use of color and texture:
This is what the Seine looked like this morning … no boats passing through Paris at this point.
Here’s hoping for a little sunshine! Bon weekend!
Pierre Paulin Retrospective at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Image courtesy of Wallpaper magazine
Pierre Paulin (1927-2009) was a true innovator in the world of design. Always interested in the dialogue between comfort and the body, he created a new art de vivre where comfort, glamour and style co-existed in perfect harmony. In his exploration of forms, techniques and new materials, he opened up groundbreaking possibilities, working with polyester foam and stretch jersey, and creating pieces with joyful flowing lines and uninhibited bright colors. He said “my work is at the junction of technique and a bit of poetry”.
Some of Paulin’s iconic chairs, (Tongue chair, Mushroom chair, Tulip chair), Centre Pompidou
Tongue chairs, stacked
Bureau de Dame, C193, Edition Thonet. 1959. Image courtesy of Galerie Pascal Cuisinier
He graduated in 1950 from the Centre d’art et de Techniques (the institution which eventually became Ecole Camondo). His first designs for Thonet-France were financed by his father in 1954 and he went on to work with la maison de’édition de meubles Artifort in the 1960s where he developed his groundbreaking series of chairs with wooden structures, Pirelli foam and stretch polymer jersey material. Paulin originally gave his work identity numbers and found the names later added “perfectly ridiculous”!
Ribbon chair (Fauteuil F852), 1966. Steel tube, latex mousse and stretch jersey cover
Chauffeuse F598, named ‘Groovy’, 1972. Metal, polyster mousse, stretch jersey
Banquette ‘back to back’, 1967. White metal, polyester mousse, red stretch jersey
Some major high-profile commissions confirmed his prodigious talent. In 1961 he designed the entrance foyer of the Maison de la Radio in Paris, the Denon wing of the Louvre in the 1970s (working with the Mobilier National), the private apartments of Georges and Claude Pompidou in the Elysée Palace in 1971, and François Mitterand’s office in 1984.
Drawing of Foyer of the Maison de la Radio, Paris, Pierre Paulin, 1961. Paulin Archives
‘Fumoir’ designed by Paulin, Elysées Palace, 1970-71
‘Fumoir’ in the Elysées Palace, 1970-71. Look at the beautiful ‘Rosace’ low table in smoked glass
Rosace low table in smoked glass
Fauteuil from the Elysées Palace ‘Salon des Tableaux’, 1971-72. Steel tubing, mousse and leather. Edited by Mobilier National.
Dining room for George and Claude Pompidou, Elysées Palace, 1971
President Mitterand’s office in the Elysées Palace, designed by Pierre Paulin. 1984
The exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, the first retrospective there of Paulin’s work, is an absolute must-see. With over 70 pieces of furniture and around 50 drawings, it covers 40 years of his work. The Paulin family generously donated furniture, archives, documents and drawings to the Pompidou last year. In the spirit of Paulin’s pre-occupation with the human body and comfort, several re-editions of his chairs on which you can sit are placed in front of a screening of the great master discussing his work. And the chairs are very comfortable, cocooning the body while looking sensational.
Arranged chronologically, his iconic pieces are on view – the Mushroom chair (1960), Tongue Chair (1967) and the Ribbon Chair (1966) – along with lesser known pieces from the Fifties and various prototypes. Also exhibited are projects which Paulin produced himself and which never went into large-scale production (the Tapis-siège carpet seat, the Déclive recliner and the Tente).
Tapis-siége, 1970. Image courtesy of Paulin, Paulin, Paulin
Déclive lounger. Structure of aluminium slat, covered with polyester foam and removable covers in wool. 1966-1968. Edited by Autoédition. Image courtesy of T magazine, NY Times
Tent, 1969-70. Model created for Artifort in material and metal
Pierre Paulin, Centre Pompidou. Exhibition runs through to 22 August 2016
Wishing you a great weekend.
The Design Sales at Christie’s (25 May) and Sotheby’s (24 May) went on view yesterday.
The sales are similar in many ways reflecting the strongest trends of buyers these days. The houses took opposite approaches in their catalogues and views. The Sotheby’s catalogue shows each item individually while in the showroom they are presented in inspiring vignettes and Christie’s does almost the opposite by presenting lovely vignettes in the catalogue and a sparser-feeling exhibition.
Here are just a few highlights and comparisons we thought you might enjoy:
If you are interested in the work of Jean Michel Frank there are three different categories to be aware of: The work by Jean Michel Frank – the most coveted and therefor most expensive, the work of Jean Michel Frank for Maison Comte in Argentina, and pieces that are inspired by Jean Michel Frank and produced by Maison Comte. Christie’s offers a range of Maison Comte furniture and lighting including this mumble de rangement for example this is wood inlay whereas Frank used straw marquetry. Frank’s straw marquetry has inspired many designers (as a quick google search will prove )
Christie’s auctioned this cabinet by Jean Michel Frank, ca. 1925 that came from the collection of Yves St. Laurent and Pierre Bergé.
At Sotheby’s this striking mueble below, caught our eye and we thought of Fornasetti but it turns out to be by Osvaldo Borsani, another very important mid-20th century Italian designer. The four front panels are covered in fabric. The pulls are by Lucio Fontana.
Sotheby’s has a large display of works by Alberto and Diego Giacometti. It’s really worth a visit to see this work in person. Christie’s shows the work of Philippe Anthonoiz is a living designer who worked in the atelier of Diego Giacometti. His work is coming up more and more at auction. There are tables by each designer in the upcoming sales:
Above and below: Diego Giacometti Table Base, 1960s at Sotheby’s
Pair of side tables below by Philippe Anthonoiz, 1989, in Chrisite’s sale
Each house is selling the same Diego Giacometti rug – with the same estimate of 10,000-15,000 euros.
Here it is pictured at Sotheby’s.
Christie’s is offering this pair of chairs by Diego Giacometti, from Coco Chanel’s residence in Lausanne Switzerland.
Both houses are presenting collection of ceramics by Georges Jouve. Below is a photo of some of the works offered by Christie’s.
These chairs have it all –
View at Sotheby’s with a Campana Brothers chair. I was never a fan of this one until I heard Murray Moss put it into context in this one minute long video – worth your time …
‘Blaze’ cabinet in brass and tulip wood, 2015 by Alex Hull. Edition of 8 + 2P
Gallery Fumi is one of the most exciting of the London galleries specializing in contemporary design. Their booth is always one of our first stops at PAD Paris! This year was no exception and we loved the Blaze cabinet in brass and tulip wood by Alex Hull and the ‘Mise en Place’ table in bronze by Glithero. Sam Pratt, co-director of the gallery, was kind enough to answer some questions, despite his very busy schedule preparing for the gallery’s summer opening in Sardinia next week.
‘Mise en Place’ table in patinated bronze, 2016 by Glithero. Unique piece
Detail of ‘Mise en Place’ table, by Glithero
What is your philosophy? Gallery Fumi promotes a unique vision: a distinctive aesthetic based on a curiosity about materials and what they can do, and it fosters attitudes to object-making which are gestural and playful. It combines the beautiful with the teasingly provocative and recognizes the sheer power of objects to communicate ideas. We are unafraid of the unconventional, embracing change and the new, while promoting the value of craftsmanship.
‘Liquid’ lamp in blown glass, brass and LED, 2013, by Jeremy Wintrebert. Edition of 11 + 1AP.
Detail of ‘Liquid’ lamp by Jeremy Wintrebert
What trends do you see in contemporary design in England at the moment? There are so many! Trend could equal a fad and like fashion could last one season and its gone. My recent observation is that stone and other natural materials are being used more. I do see more ecological and technology related work either in the making or in the piece itself. The one trend I tend to focus nnd appreciate more is the increasing focus on craftsmanship which of course we at Fumi champion. When all fails, I think good craftsmanship will be the one to stand the test of time….and trend!
Book shelf/screen, 2010, in ash, stainless steel and brass by Thomas Lemut. Edition of 3 + 1AP.
‘Newcair’ armchair, 2015 in stainless steel, leather and brass by Thomas Lemut. Edition of 8 + 2AP +1P.
You exhibit at PAD Paris as well as several other international fairs. What do you see as the role of the design fair in today’s market? Is its role continually evolving? I believe fair organisers and galleries are constantly trying to evolve and improve, they owe it to the visitors and clients ! The fair situation is a highly demanding and competitive one and there is a constant need to improve and be better. Galleries spend a fortune these days on stand set up at these fairs in an effort to be different and thereby impress and attract clients.
The design fair has gained in importance over the last few years as people look to other avenues apart from art to express the need to surround themselves with beauty and make their lives more meaningful. The fact that the art market has been somewhat dull in the past few years might have helped fuel that attraction to design.
‘Singularity’ light in brass and acrylic, 2015, by Bob Lorimer. Edition of 3.
What do you look for in the artists you work with? Of course talent and promise but also almost as important for us at FUMI is that we like the artist as a person. We never work with anyone we do not like. We strongly believe this is the only way to have a good long lasting relationship.
‘Engineering Temporality’ console, 2015, in steel by Tuomas Markunpoika. See our previous post on the work of this talented designer.
What inspires you? I could be somewhat fickle and say beauty which does, but there are all sorts of things…travel, music, conversation.
‘Sguardo Cubetti 1’ cabinet, 2016, amber mirror and paint on panel, by Sam Orlando Miller. Unique piece
Could you tell us about the present exhibition showing the work of Sam Orlando Miller in your London gallery with its very intriguing title. ‘Tra l’occhio e l’ombra’ is the first solo show at our gallery by artist Sam Orlando Miller. Its a very different body of work from him and a change in direction. For many years Sam from his studio in Italy has worked with glass largely making beautiful sculptural wall mirrors, patinated and otherwise. The title translates into “Between the eye and the shade”. He describes the choice of the title as, “When light is low or fading, when the quantity of visual information is reduced and a point of uncertainty is reached, like when you are standing in a field and can no longer make out the leaves of a tree, a fleeting moment can occur when you suddenly understand the entire landscape and yourself standing there with time stretching out around you in all directions”.
In the show there are two bodies of work: Sguardo Cubetti (roughly translates to View small cubes) where all the works in the series spring from one imaginary perfect object. This standard takes the form of a cube that has had its surfaces divided by a trompe d’oeil three-dimensional grid, and in turn this illusion has partially been given actual depth in the form of a box with a door. Sam says of these works ‘Opening a box always offers the chance of the unexpected, a small thrill of anticipation irrespective of what the box might or might not contain. This work is about that moment; between the visible and invisible, inside and outside, reality and illusion’. The other body of work, the mirrors is called Nostalgia Futuro (translates to Nostalgia Future). In these works, the image of the studio interior seen in the mirror is painted onto the over-lapping, patinated plane around the mirror itself. There is a difference between the patination and the painting that is deliberately elusive.
‘Nostalgia Futuro 1’ mirror, 2016, in mixed media on panel with mirror by Sam Orlando Miller. Unique piece
What advice do you have for collectors? The proverbial, buy what you like!! Never be swayed by trend. You have to live with it and you should want to live with it for a very long time!!
‘Tra l’Occhio et l’Ombra’ showing the work of Sam Orlando Miller, runs through to 30th June.
Fumi Gallery, 16 Hoxton Square, London N1 6NT.
Office Chair, ca. 1959- 60, teak and recovered in leather
Recently we had the chance to learn about Patrick Seguin’s passion for Pierre Jeannerat, Jean Prouvé and Jean Royere at his Paris Gallery. This week we would like share the work of Pierre Jeanneret – specifically his chair designs for the Chandigarh India project in the 1950s.
Shortly after India gained independence in the lat 1940s, the Prime Minister Nehru of Chandigarh hired Pierre Jeanneret and his cousin Le Corbusier to build the capital city, which would become the administrative capital of the province Punjab.
The Galerie documents that, “The sole instruction given by Nehru was to be « expressive, experimental and to not let themselves be hindered by tradition ». Chandigarh originated in a unique urbanistic global approach, and would be, as Nehru wished, a symbol of modernity.”
Office chair, circa 1959-60 recovered in black hide
While the two men started the project together in the early 1950s, Le Corbusier soon left to take on other projects while Jeanneret stayed for 15 years to complete the project as chief architect and urban designer. He simultaneously created a furniture style used in the Senate and office buildings that is evidenced in the chairs in this post.
The design feels very relevant in today’s interiors. They have strong clean and efficient form that is influenced by and simultaneously breaks away from history. The use of teak, a local Indian wood acknowledged the environment for which the designs were conceived. These chairs symbolized modernity and forward thinking. They are powerful, elegant and understated.
Office chair, circa 1955-56, re-caned
The gallery has documented Pierre Jeanneret and Le Corbusier’s work on the Chandigarh project in this publication.
Judges Chairs, circa 1955
Advocate chair, circa 1955-56
The upholstery can be customized. All of the chairs are authenticated and in their structures are all original.
Photo courtesy of Galerie Patrick Seguin
28 year old Kagan in his Two Position rocker and ottoman, 1955. Image by Herman van Ness, courtesy of Vladimir Kagan Design Group
Ondine chair in walnut, designed 1958. Image courtesy of Vladimir Kagan Design Group.
“I am evolutionary, not revolutionary. I’ve always designed to fill a void in the lifestyle of the modern home”. Vladimir Kagan
The design world lost the inimitable Vladimir Kagan last month. His highly individual biomorphic forms and powerfully sculptural pieces were his signature marks. His designs are in the permanent collections of the V & A Museum and Vitra Design Museum, among others and he was inducted into the Interior Designers Hall of Fame in 2009.
Serpentine sofa, designed 1949. Image courtesy of Vladmir Kagan Design Group.
A custom Serpentine sofa, 2007, in a New York town house by Julie Hillman Design. Photography by Bärbel Miebach. Image courtesy of Vladimir Kagan Designs.
A proponent of the adage ‘form follows function’, Kagan put the comfort and functionality of his pieces in the forefront when designing furniture. Talking about his revolutionary Serpentine sofa in an interview in April 2015 Kagan said, “A curved shape makes more sense so that you’re not sitting like birds on a wire, lined up. People like to sit out in the open, away from the wall. A sofa should float in space, like interior landscaping”. His work is infused with a deep sensuality and a sense of the joy of life, avoiding the austerity that was the hallmark of much Modernist furniture. Fluid and seductive, the inventive sensuous shapes and undulating lines of his work speak of his sheer delight in the beauty of form.
The German-born son of a cabinetmaker, Kagan studied architecture at Columbia University before joining his father in the family business, and opening his own shop in New York in 1949. His breakthrough commission was for the Delegates Cocktail Lounges in the UN Headquartes in Lake Success in 1947-48. He infused his sleek and inventive designs with the pragmatism of the craftsman, calling his work “vessels for the body”.
Ralph Pucci International have produced licensed re-editions of some of his designs and Kagan was working at the time of his death on new designs with them. You will find the authorized international showrooms where KAGAN CLASSIC collections are available, made to the exacting specifications of original Kagan Designs, at www.vladimirkagan. You can also find his beautiful recently revised book ‘A Lifetime of Avant Garde Design’ on the site.
Tri-symmetric 412 glass coffee table. Designed 1950. Image courtesy of Vladimir Kagan Designs.
175E Contour Lounge Side Chair. Designed c 1958. Image courtesy of Vladimir Kagan Designs
Vladimir Kagan armchair, c1953. Image courtesy of Brooklyn Museum.
Vladimir Kagan Stool, c 1960. Image courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
The Lotus chair, c 1970 Back in production. Image courtesy of Vladimir Kagan Designs
Unicorn sofas in a private London home by Vladimir Kagan. Designed 1960s. Image courtesy of AD.
Vladimir Kagan (1927 – 2016)
Drouot has always held an allure for collectors, amateurs and tourists alike and we also know it can also feel rather daunting. This week we explain what exactly ‘Hôtel’ Drouot is and how this operation works. Next time you’ll be ready!
First thing to know is that The Hôtel Drouot itself isn’t an auction house. It’s a building that looks and feels like an American mall with florescent lighting and a central escalator connecting several floors, which opened in 1852 and today hosts about 75 small, private Paris-based auction houses, each with its own auctioneer.
There are 16 salerooms and outside of each one is a screen telling you which auction house is offering what sale is inside. It also list all of the specialists that worked on the sale. There are over 200 independent specialists that assist the auction houses to identify and authenticate every single object offered for sale.
About 1,300 sales take place in the Hôtel per year and on average about 500 objects sold per day – 6 days a week. Hotel Drouot is open Monday – Saturday.
Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Lithograph
Flowers low table, with colored silkscreen on paper after Andy Warhol, Edition SundayB Morning.
Pair of Jacques-Emil Ruhlmann (1879-1933) ash wood bergères, model ‘Bas Ducharme’, circa 1927.
Who can go? Just like all auction houses Drouot is open to the public and anyone can attend and participate in an auction.
What is for sale? Everything. From box lots that can contain vases, incomplete sets of Limoges dishware, fur coats, silvered trinkets, pin boxes, etc … with estimates of 10-20 euros to the most important/valued furniture and art in the world. France, having been the wealthiest country in the world during the reign of Louis XIV until the 19th century accumulated a lot of riches and cultural objects that are still uncovered in homes to this day. The quantity and quality of objects is unique to France and consequently the treasure hunt is alive and doing very well here at Drouot!
You can certainly feel the energy of the hunt! We were recently there before opening hours for a private view and the moment the doors opened to the public at 11am the escalators were packed. And people were on a mission! Don’t get in their way. Everyone seemed to have done previous research and knew what they were there to see. Some people pulled suitcases behind them anticipating leaving with treasures. Others carried flashlights to use when they pull out drawers to examine construction, and still others examined silver stamps. One thing for sure – the objects for sale are sold as is – authenticity is a matter of wording, which can be tricky for the unseasoned browser. We noticed that many people were saying good morning to each other tipping us off that they are regulars and mainly dealers.
French black lacquered wood and silvered cast iron standing cabinet.
Art Deco Glass and Silvered Metal Tray
How it works:
Whew! It’s very impressive! The energy is palpable. Drouot says that almost 5,000 people come through each day.
Unlike Christie’s and Sotheby’s there are no set bidding increments so you need to really pay attention!
Set of four Tulip Chairs by Aero Saarinen (1910 – 1961) Edited by Knoll International
Some extra info:
Rosewood commode by Kurt Ostervig (1912-1986) Edited by KP Mobler
Four gilt cast iron chairs by Rene Prou (1889- 1947)
All photos from catalogues for upcoming sales at Drouot.