20TH CENTURY DECORATIVE ART & DESIGN at CHRISTIE’S




As mentioned yesterday on the blog in the article dedicated to Phillips’ two significant sales tomorrow showcasing 19th century and 20th century important objets, today’s post will be featuring the third exhibition of an equally anticipated sale on Wednesday focusing on 20th century decorative art and design, orchestrated this time by leading international auction house, Christie’s. Never has it been more thrilling for A-Gent of Style to witness at the same in London two events celebrating some of his most cherished designers and ensembliers.


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It was shortly after meeting Tessa Kennedy last month at Christie’s, South Kensington, at the exhibition for the sale of her lifetime collection (which you can view here) that A-Gent of Style unexpectedly caught sight in a corner of the hallway of a rare Jacques Adnet desk and chair from 1950 in oak, beautiful caramel leather adorned with the designer’s trademark stitching and brass round pulls on the drawers. After some investigation, A-Gent of Style found out the Adnet ensemble would be part of a 20th Century sale scheduled for the end April, which brings us to today’s feature.


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Last Thursday late afternoon, A-Gent of Style was greeted by Jeremy Morrison, the sale’s specialist, at Christie’s King Street, who very kindly gave him a private tour of the exhibition (his team was hurriedly putting the finishing touch as he arrived) before it opened to the public the following day. Since the Michael Inchbald sale a few months ago, the space had been split in two distinct areas, both beautifully curated into elegant vignettes, one dedicated to the 20th Century Decorative Art & Design and the other to the Lalique: An Important Private Collection.


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The first sale encompasses objets from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements and also post-war and contemporary design, featuring a variety of stylish yet practical pieces suited to the collector, the interior decorator, and the private customer alike. Amongst the carefully selected works are chandeliers, mirrors, wall lights, dining tables and chairs, alongside unique eye-catching works of art including striking Art Deco figures and works in glass by some of the finest craftsmen of the 20th Century. With estimates ranging from £2,000-120,000, discerning collectors will not want to miss the opportunity to acquire quality works by the leading designers of the last 120 years. The sale is expected to realize in excess of £1,200,000 over 124 lots.

The Art Deco selection is led by one of A-Gent of Style‘s favourite furniture designers, Marc Du Plantier, whose ormolu-mounted ebonised wood and verre églomisé occasional tables, one with a mermaid motif and the other centred by a centaur, dated 1940-41, make a rare appearance (estimate £30,000-50,000). Antony Redmile’s 1970s camptastic bust, composed of shells, malachite and quartz, is of high-impact and makes a strong visual statement (estimate: £7,000-10,000). Fontana Arte’s mid 20th C rare and large circular chandelier in gilt-metal and silvered brass, with 40 lights issuing from curved candlearms rubs shoulders with Ruhlmann’s elegant dressing table, circa 1930 in mahogany and silvered metal. A-Gent of Style also spotted Lelli’s quirky and playful ceiling light, c.1954, produced by Arredoluce, in painted aluminium and brass, and last but not least, a pair of lounge chair (deceptively comfortable despite their low back. And yes, we tried them) by Leleu, circa 1960, in  silvered metal, brass and upholstery.

The exhibition is on show until 12pm this Wednesday 30 April and the auction will be at 2pm. You can view the full catalogue here.



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The concomitant sale is the single owner collection Lalique: An Important Private Collection which will also take place at Christie’s King Street on 30 April at 1pm. The calibre of this private collection bears testimony to the discerning eye of the collector and is a fitting tribute to the extraordinary vision and creativity of the master glass-maker René Lalique, who continues to enthrall an international audience nearly seven decades after his death. Distinguished from previous collections which have appeared on the market in the last decades, this collection primarily focuses on large-scale vases in rare designs and a wide spectrum of colours. In addition to the jewel-like coloured works, there are a number of exquisite hand-crafted cire perdue vases and a selection of significant display items, such as Oiseau De Feu, which features a mythical firebird and is illuminated from below (estimate: £25,000-35,000). With estimates ranging from £2,500 to £150,000, the 83 lots have a low estimate in the region of £1.5 million. Christie’s has been selling Lalique since 1971 and has offered more Lalique at auction than any other auction house internationally. In 2013, Christie’s Lalique sale in London realised over £1.3 million, the highest total ever achieved.

You can view the full catalogue here.



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A-Gent of Style would like to thank Christie’s and especially Jeremy Morrison,
the 20th C design sale’s specialist, for all their help and support.

– All photographs by A-Gent of Style and Christie’s –





“DESIGN BRASILIERO, MODERNO E CONTEMPORANEO”



 
If A-Gent of Style could be granted one super power, it would be to be at different places at the same time. It would be futile indeed to try to keep up and keep abreast with the plethora of design-led events occurring in London at any given time let alone attend them all.


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By happenstance, A-Gent of Style went to the Embassy of Brazil two days ago to pick up a friend and whilst waiting for him in the lobby, he noticed in the room next door a furniture exhibition that he is delighted he came across.

Brazilian Design: Modern & Contemporary Furniture is the largest and most important exhibition ever offering a comprehensive overview of Brazilian modernist and contemporary design in the United Kingdom. In association with The Embassy of Brazil and Vanishing Points, it presents over 45 pieces on display and focuses on two distinctive periods of Brazilian design, comprising a time span of over 80 years and ultimately warranting the status of Brazil as one of the leading producers of furniture and object design in the world.


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Whilst A-Gent of Style recognises and appreciates the beauty in some iconic pieces that he has seen either in auction sales, design fairs or major museums from around the world, he must admit he was not completely conversant with modern Brazilian furniture until he saw this exhibition, which was not only an eye-opener but also a great way to familiarise himself with important designers or/and their creations.

A-Gent of Style particularly likes the Moderne, minimal and unfussy look of some pieces, like Tenreiro’s chaise longue or Motta’s Pierre Jeanneret-esque ‘Asturias’ armchair, and also the restraint elegance reminiscent of post-war Scandinavian furniture such as Tenreiro’s ‘Three Feet’ chair, Rodrigues’ Oscar chair, Zalszupin’s table, Mendes da Rocha’s Paulistana armchair or even Bo Bardi’s Bowl chair that is resonant with Jean Royère‘s Egg chair and also de Zanine’s contemporary Moeda chair most probably inspired by Mathieu Matégot’s perforated iconic pieces.


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Highlights include the Three Feet Chair and the Five-Woods Table by Joaquim Tenreiro; the Fish Bench, a unique piece designed by the Campana Brothers for their first ever exhibition in Brazil and Sideboard by José Zanine Caldas, considered by many as the first sustainable Brazilian designer. Other pieces on display are the Oscar Chair (Sergio Rodrigues), the Rio Chaise (Oscar Niemeyer), the Africa Chair (Rodrigo Almeida), the Moeda Chair (Zanini de Zanine), the Braz Chair (Carlos Motta), the Água Table (Domingo Tótora), the Bowl Chair (Lina Bo Bardi), a cupboard by Móveis Cimo and lighting pieces by Maneco Quindaré.


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Modernism, often referred to as the ‘Golden Years’ in Brazilian design started in the 1930s and 1940s following in the footsteps of the architectural movement that emerged in Brazil at that time, paradoxically influenced by the Bauhaus school, but which, at the same time, freed itself from traditional European aesthetics creating a language of its own. It was based on the use of concrete and glass materials.

The Contemporary Period thrived in the late 1980s along with all of the other creative movements that remained virtually stagnant for over 20 years during the military dictatorship. This period is notable for its diversity and irreverence in tandem with socioeconomic and environmental sustainability, as corroborated by the works of the designers such as the Campana Brothers, Carlos Motta,
Maneco Quinderé, Domingos Tótora, Zanini de Zanine, Rodrigo Almeida and Gustavo Bittencourt.

It is precisely through its diversity, irreverence, creativity and sustainability that the Brazilian design has achieved unequivocal recognition abroad, both through the accolade of international awards and circulation of key pieces at the selective and highly competitive international market. Solo exhibitions of contemporary exponents of Brazilian design can be seen at major museums around the world with many objects in important private collections as well.


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If you have a spare moment until 9 May to go to Trafalgar Square,
A-Gent of Style highly recommends you paid a visit to the Embassy of Brazil to see this brilliant exhibition in the beautifully dark-oak panelled,  Grade II listed
Sala Brasil, which is open Monday – Friday, 11am-5pm.

Sala Brasil Gallery, Embassy of Brazil, 14-16 Cockspur Street, London SW1Y 5BL. Free admission.


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– Photos by A-Gent of Style



CLEAN BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND



 

If crystals and gems can clean up negative energy, can a gem-shaped soap get you squeaky clean, make you smell good AND purify your aura at the same time??


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These gorgeous, faceted shapes are not actually jewels but real soaps.
A-Gent of Style fell head over heels for these sybaritic gemstones and more precisely their angular cuts, their depth, their brilliance, their transparency, their range of colours and last but not least their fragrance. Aside from their cleaning virtues, they would also create a beautiful display and inject a dose of chic in any bathroom,  kitchen sink or even on a coffee table.

These Soap Stones, made by Brooklyn-based company PELLE, are handcrafted, handcut glycerine soap consisting of all natural, vegetable-based soap ingredients and are inspired by natural gemstones such as Rose Quartz and Aquamarine, and metamorphic rock such as Jade and Onyx. They combine these brilliant colours with the fragrant effects of essential oils such as Eucalyptus, Lemon-Basil, Grapefruit and Camphor (they also have unscented soaps). The full collection of Soap Stones range between 3 sizes and 7 colour/scent combinations.

And great news for UK readers: the Soap Stones are available from the Conran shops! Prices vary between £7, £16 and £29 according to the size.
Gemstones have never been so affordable.


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PELLE are designers and architects Jean Pelle and Oliver Pelle who met and studied at the Yale School of Architecture. From their studio in Red Hook Brooklyn, the husband and wife don’t limit themselves to just making soaps; they also create lighting, furniture, products and architecture. PELLE produces everything from shelving to candlesticks, lighting, and seating, all noteworthy for their out-of-the-box designs that re-imagine common decor necessities.

“Soap is such a malleable and sculptural material to work with”, the couple says. “It’s like plaster or clay, but it is so much easier to shape since it cuts like butter. Glycerin soap is particularly wonderful because of its transparency and its ability to take on other layers such as smell and color. We love how the soaps take on different looks – they’re great dry, but they’re kind of magical when they touch water. They look like glistening gems and the smell becomes stronger. Our inspiration comes from observing and re-imagining the possibilities of objects and spaces around us. Ultimately, our work is about a search for a unique beauty that is within the materials and forms we find in our process.”

Uniquely beautiful, the Soap Stones certainly are!


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– Photos by PELLE –




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