PIASA AUCTIONS: SCANDINAVIAN vs BRAZILIAN vs AMERICAN DESIGN





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Over the last couple of years, A-Gent of Style has covered many a sale specialising on 20th C design on this blog, and the relevance and importance today of this speciality is showing no sign of dwindling. On the contrary.

So when you think the auction design market could not get anymore saturated with antique and vintage pieces, cometh a new (-ish) player on the scene who comes up trump with new acquisitions and collectibles.


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Enters Paris-based auction house Piasa Auctions who is currently dedicating a sale and accompanying exhibiton in its Left Bank space to an important selection of objets by Scandinavian masters in dialogue with equally iconic American and Brazilian designers. This group of architects and designers frequently collaborated and merged the modernist vernacular popular in Europe and the USA with traditional Brazilian techniques and indigenous materials such as rosewood.

Today’s auction focuses on the relationship between these three important regions in furniture design gathering stellar designers such as George Nakashima, Flemming Lassen, Arne Jacobsen, T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings, Kaare Klint, Poul Henningsen, Hans Wegner, Axel-Einar Hjorth, Edward Wormley, Paul Evans, Jorge Zalszupin, Joaquim Tenreiro, Sergio Rodrigues, José Zanine Caldas.

After considerable success in 2013 and 2014, this evening’s sale will be Piasa’s fifth in this genre and will be grouped under 294 different lots showcasing a selection of sought-after pieces with a pre-estimate of 1.5 million euros.



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Piasa will concurrently offer a large section of the sale focusing on 40 important pieces by Axel Salto with important private provenance such as Raf Simon’s private collection. 


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In preparation for the imminent and eminent sale, 
A-Gent of Style  spoke to Cédric Morisset, Head of the Design Department at Piasa.


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Why the timing of this sale? why is it relevant today?

We anticipate the general international auction schedule. It is important for us to open the new season.

What do you attribute the importance and relevance of these designers to today?

Scandinavian design can be seen as the most looked-after design by high level collectors. Brazilian and American design are the next big thing according to me, although the rarity of Brazilian design doesn’t allow the market to bloom. I have more hopes on American design by Paul Laszlo, Paul Frankl, Paul Evans,
G. Nakashima,T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings etc…


Is there a mix of provenance? do the pieces come from private collectors, antique dealers, museums? 

It’s always a mix of provenances. Always a lot of private collectors.

Is there a common denominator between these designers and these pieces?

There are a lot of historical and style connections between Brazilian, American and Scandinavian design. A few examples:  a lot of Scandinavian designers have worked in the USA (Eero Saarinen for instance for Herman Miller). Also, most of the Brazilian designers were migrants coming from Europe and inspired by the Scandinavian taste that they have adapted to local materials and workshops. Finally, most of the Danish and Swedish designers were using a lot of precious Brazilian woods such as rosewood.

What makes a piece ‘timeless’ or ‘iconic’?

It’s a tough question to answer, but a ‘design classic’ is a  manufactured object with timeless aesthetic value. It serves as a standard of its kind and, despite the year in which it was designed, is still up to date. What makes it timeless is its innovation, its simple elegant shapes, balanced and pure. Maybe also its perfect conception.

Are there any pieces in the sale that are rare and that have not been ‘seen’ in any sale in a long time?

Several vases by Axel Salto, rare and unseen, notably big with a beautiful enamel. Also a fantastic desk by Larsen and Bender Madsen (lot 83), only piece of this time known so far. A rare Hans Wegner “Crocodile” cabinet produced to a few copies only.

Which pieces do you think will generate the most interest and why?

Probably all the Axel Salto pieces. Because gathering such a collection is really hard and the quality is exceptional.



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You can view the full catalogue of the sale here


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– photos by PIASA –





JOSEPHINE, IMPERIAL TASTEMAKER



 

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It is by pure happenstance that A-Gent of Style entered the private world of one of France’s most remarkable First Ladies last June when he was in Paris, and discovered a modern woman with an extraordinary destiny and a lavish lifestyle.


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 2014 is the bicentenary of the death of Josephine and on this occasion the Musée du Luxembourg dedicated this spring an exhibition, conveniently on A-Gent of Style‘s doorsteps, called “Josephine”, about the French Empress, which brought together personal mementos and major works from her prestigious art collections borrowed from Malmaison, the Empress’s last residence, and private loans. 



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The exhibition, now closed, retraced and revisited Josephine’s extraordinary life and times, from her native Martinique, her first marriage to Alexandre de Beauharnais who was guillotined during the Reign of Terror and the turbulent years of the Revolution (she narrowly escaped being beheaded too owing to Robespierre’s timely fall), followed by her meeting with Général Bonaparte who propelled his first wife to the top of the empire and made her sovereign (he crowned her himself in 1804; Jacques-Louis David’s famous 1807 painting was notably not on display sadly and was sorely missed), up to her life after divorce (Napoleon divorced her as she could not bear him any heir; he is reported to have mentioned her name in his last breath) in Malmaison where she withdrew and indulged her taste and élan for the arts and gardens. 


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 Her relationship with fashion, arts, travels, music and botany made her a great benefactor of paintings, but especially of applied arts, reflecting the luxury and refinement which she loved (in contrast with the very masculine and military era of Napoleon’s empire). Her influence was considerable and her role in setting the style in the consular and imperial period was crucial, which consequently saw her being emulated throughout Europe. Avid art collector, Josephine contributed to the promotion of the antiquities, but also of the great Dutch masters. She was also a talented decorator judging by the exquisite and tasteful rooms at Malmaison that she created (the paintings of her boudoir and music room are ravishing – see the last photos) and promoted various national companies such as carpentry and textiles. Visitors were given a glimpse of the intimacy of her apartments, her taste for varied collections  – paintings, furniture, antiquities, fashion, paraphernalia, music, and also her passion for gardens, flowers and birds.

Through a beautifully and cleverly curated exhibition, A-Gent of Style was enthralled to see beauty all around and grateful to be allowed to take photos (some unfortunate glares could not be avoided; apology in advance) of the sumptuous objects on display from the ravishing and delicate textiles of Josephine’s wardrobe adorned with superb fabrics, embroideries and beading (A-Gent of Style couldn’t help thinking of Charlotte di Carcaci’s Instagram feed; check it out, it’s magnifique), to the elegant paraphernalia, fine antique furniture and paintings, and last but not least, her incredible jewellery. 

Hopefully you will be enthralled too.


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– All photos by A-Gent of Style




 

 

“A LONDONER IN PARIS”: THE CURIOUS WORLD OF GALERIE SALON





“Marchand de tout, faiseur de rien”

“Merchant of everything, maker of nothing”



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Galerie Salon is one of those unique stores that are difficult to pinpoint. Is it an antiques store, a capsule of a flea market taken out of the suburbs, a concept store, a thrift shop, a collectors’ gallery, a micro museum?


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Originally named after a hair salon that was situated at the exact same location in the 1920s, Galerie Salon is a multi-faceted shop that embrace all of those descriptions. Situated in St Germain-des-près, A-Gent of Style paid Galerie Salon a visit during his last stay in Paris last month as he had been alerted about this charming repository of objetscuriosités and artefacts. In this chic Parisian den, you will find antiques from French, Swedish and Italian provenance but also creations by contemporary artists and artisans.

Carole and Stéphane Borraz are the founders of Galerie Salon who have owned the boutique since 2003. Both passionate and consummate antiques collectors who traipse the world in search of great antiques finds and also popular bargain hunts, the couple, who originally met at the Ecole du Louvre, used to own a stand in the flea market of Saint-Ouen and have since amassed and replenished Galerie Salon with an impressive selection of eclectic wonders.


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Since 2010, the Borraz have selected a few contemporary brands and invited them into Galerie Salon to complement their own collection through unique collaborations, and also help usher Galerie Salon in modern times.
Astier de Villatte tableware, John Derian artefacts, Kuhn Kéramik creations,
Le Baigneur soaps, Bonjour Paris and Bonjour New York maps and the latest of them all (and last but not least), the divine (roll drum)…Antoinette Poisson.

Despite their disparate elements, this motley crew of enchanting oddities live harmoniously next to each other and are juxtaposed brilliantly into a cohesive whole, thanks to the seemingly effortless talent of la charmante Carole who has successfully managed to combine in one single room tradition with innovation, elegantly mixing a profusion of styles and genres.

Next time you are in Paris, make sure you visit this wondrous olde worlde shoppe with a twist.



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– photographs by A-Gent of Style – 







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