Some superb results at Sotheby’s Important Design sale, December 13, 2017

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

I was leafing through my catalogs when I noticed one from Sotheby’s Important Design sale on December 13, 2017. There were some great results that tie into the Arts & Crafts Conference we just finished last week. My post is a little late, but I hope you find it interesting and worth reading.

The top lot of the sale was #54, a Claude Lalanne Bureau Crocodile
that realized $2,175,000

Sales totaled $13,948,625 for the 165 lots offered. Three Crocodile lots, #s 52-54, by Claude Lalanne, topped the sale. However my interest is with the Arts & Crafts and the Art Deco lots in the sale.

Greene & Greene lantern from the Robert R. Blacker house in Pasadena, CA, Sotheby’s lot #83

Lot #83 was a beautiful Greene & Greene lantern with iridescent glass from the Robert R. Blacker house in Pasadena, California. It sold near its low estimate of $250,000, realizing $287,500, including buyer’s premium.

Frank Lloyd Wright Tree of Life window from the Darwin D. Martin House, Buffalo, New York, Sotheby’s lot #90

Seven lots of windows by Frank Lloyd Wright were included in the sale. Three lots, #s 88-90, all achieved the same result of $435,000 versus estimates of $200,000 – $300,000.

A rare R. Lalique Luxembourg vase, Sotheby’s lot #107, sold for $150,000, including buyer’s premium

Two good pâte-de-verre vases by Argy-Rousseau, #s 105-106, failed to sell, with identical estimates of $30,000 – $50,000, while five lots of R. Lalique glass all sold mostly at or above their high estimates.

For the complete results of the sale, click here.

Our next show is not until May 18-20, 2018, when we’ll exhibit at the 2nd edition of the resurrected Chicago Antiques + Art + Design Show at the Chicago Merchandise Mart. It’s a wonderful venue for a show that deserved to be restored from purgatory.

We’re still very much in business between shows, so please don’t hesitate to email or call. I recently listed some of the new items on my website and will list more every week. Click Philip Chasen Antiques to take a look. I will make every effort to actively list new items as often as time permits. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.

Strong results for Arts & Crafts at Sotheby’s Important 20th Century Design sale, December 16, 2010

Every major and not-so-major auction house holds its 20th Century Decorative Arts sale in December. It makes for a very busy month.

Sotheby’s held three decorative arts sales on December 16th. In my previous blog, I covered the superb results of the Important Tiffany sale. Today I’ll review the results of the Important 20th Century Design sale, which grossed $6,933,688, despite the failure of the cover lot to sell, a Greene & Greene desk and chair from the Pratt House of Ojai, CA.

The first section of the sale was devoted to Arts & Crafts furniture, ceramics and lighting. The strong results probably had most of the consignors smiling.

Rare Greene & Greene lantern, Sotheby's lot #30

The top lot of this section of the auction was a Greene & Greene lantern, one of six that had been removed from the Blacker House in Pasadena, CA. It sold toward the lower end of the estimate of $400,000-600,000, realizing $470,500, including buyer’s premium. It’s curious to note that the following lot, #31, another of the six Greene & Greene lanterns, failed to reach reserve and did not sell.

Rare 17 inch Teco Calla Lily vase, Sotheby's lot #23

Rare and impressive examples of Arts & Crafts ceramics all sold well, with one Teco vase doing exceptionally well. Lot #23 was a rare 17″ Teco Calla Lily vase, estimated to sell for $80,000-120,000. It soared to three times its pre-sale estimate, to sell for $314,500.

Rare Gustav Stickley book cabinet, Sotheby's lot #38

Gustav Stickley was well represented in the sale with furniture and metalware. A rare book cabinet, lot #38, sold for $194,500, against a pre-sale estimate of $80,000-120,000.

Other superb results from the sale were a cire perdue René Lalique statuette ($602,500), a cire perdue René Lalique vase ($494,500), a pair of armchairs by Emile Ruhlmann ($410,500) and a dining suite by Claude Lalanne ($386,500). For the complete results of the sale, click on the following link: Sotheby’s Important 20th Century Design results.

If you like my blog, please let your friends know by sending them a link. Then check out my new Tiffany, Daum, Gallé and R. Lalique acquisitions. I’ve recently listed many of them on my website, including Daum blackbirds, swans, rain, and more to come in the next few days, plus a killer red Tiffany Favrile vase. Here’s the link.

One of the perks of the business – a visit to the Blacker House

Harvey and Ellen Knell in front of their home, the Blacker House

Harvey and Ellen Knell in front of their home, the Blacker House

The entry hall of the Blacker House

The entry hall of the Blacker House

The Blacker House was named after the lumber magnate, Robert Rue Blacker. It’s an original Greene & Greene house that dates to 1907. It was magnificently appointed with custom furniture, lighting, doors and windows, all in the finest Arts & Crafts manner. The Blackers lived there until 1944, when Robert Blacker’s widow Nellie, died. Subsequently, the house was owned by several people — one of whom sold all the furniture and the fireplace surrounds. Later in its history, the property was subdivided, but the main house remained intact with all of its light fixtures, windows and doors.

The next owner was Marjorie Hill and her husband, who lived there for about 35 years.

In 1985, a Texas collector, Barton English, purchased the home from Marjorie Hill for approximately $1,000,000. Without ever living in the house, he started stripping everything he could, including about 60 light fixtures, the magnificent stained glass entry doors and most of the stained glass windows. After selling just a few of the light fixtures, he recouped all of the money from his purchase of the house. The Pasadena locals became enraged and referred to this travesty as a “rape”. They forced the city to pass an emergency ordinance, which stopped English in his tracks. Had he been allowed to continue, the tile fireplaces would also have been removed, as well as the wood paneling, etc.

One more family owned it before Harvey and Ellen Knell bought it in 1994. Since then, the Knells have spent considerable time, effort and money in lovingly restoring it to its former glory, including faithfully reproducing the missing light fixtures and furniture.

The dining room of the Blacker House

The dining room of the Blacker House

The Knells were kind enough on this trip to Pasadena, to invite us to view their magnificent home.  What a treat!  They did extensive research to uncover the original details and hired today’s finest craftsmen to recreate them.  Whatever had been ruined by neglect, earthquake or other disaster, both natural and man-made, was reversed.  In some cases, the Knells were able to buy back the original furnishings or architectural elements and restore them to their original places in the house.   Unfortunately for the Knells, some of the items, like the octagonal lighting fixtures in the living room, have become prohibitively expensive, making it nearly impossible to restore all of the items to their original locations.

The living room of the Blacker House

The living room of the Blacker House

So a big thank you to the Knells for their gracious hospitality.

Please send me your suggestions or questions about art glass, lamps, Louis Icart, shows, auctions, etc. If it’s interesting, I’ll answer your question in a future blog entry.

Call or write and let me know what you would like to buy, sell, or trade. philchasen@gmail or 516-922-2090. And please visit my website.