On November 23, Christie's will present 500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe, including Oriental Carpets, featuring over 500 works of all styles and movements in a richly varied sale that offers collectors a diverse range of works of art to choose from. The continuing international appeal of 500 Years was illustrated by the October sale in New York, which realized $14 million- the most successful sale for this category at Christie's New York.
The sale is highlighted by a number of private collections, including significant groups of English, French and Italian works of art from West Coast collections, an assortment of fanciful and elegant walking sticks, and exotic Tibetan tiger rugs. Two outstanding pieces of European furniture come from a New York private collection, including the leading lot of the sale, a spectacular German marquetry bureau-cabinet made in Mainz circa 1775. The group of nine walking sticks includes examples of varied materials from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. There are entertaining subjects such as a seated pug in smoky quartz with diamond eyes and a French diamond-mounted metamorphic cane that reveals a miniature clock.
A Mainz Masterpiece, Mainz, circa 1775
The exceptional shape and ambitious design of this bureau cabinet, which is conceived almost as a piece of architecture, place it firmly at the zenith of the masterful cabinet work produced in Mainz in the mid to late-18th century. The domed cupola, exaggerated scroll moldings, curvaceous bombé surfaces and intricate marquetry are notable characteristics of Mainz cabinets of the period.
Estimate: $200,000 - 300,000
A Pair of Carved Limestone Figures of Angels, early 16th century
These beautiful angels are being sold by the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, to benefit the acquisition fund. The elegant and gracefully carved figures are from the workshop of Giovanni Buora (1450-1513), and they illustrate some of the most sophisticated and sensitive aspects of Venetian sculpture in the High Renaissance.
Estimate: $70,000 - 100,000
A Continental Diamond-Mounted Smoky Quartz and Enamel Cane, late 19th/early 20th century
The sale commences with an assortment of fanciful and elegant walking sticks of varied materials from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. The finely crafted, amusing subjects include a seated pug with diamond eyes and a French diamond-mounted metamorphic cane that reveals a miniature clock.
The Tuileries Déjeuner
This lavender-grey porcelain Sèvres coffee set and its fitted armorial box tooled with Napoleon III cypher correspond to a delivery to the Tuileries Palace in February 1862. This delivery, in turn, corresponds to the detailed itemization found in the Sèvres saleroom register for 31 August of the previous year, the tray described as a Plateau de déjeuner mince coulé, fond sous émail, fleurs et insectes en pâte d'application, décor en or chinois, the gilding attributed to Tristan, the pâte-sur-pâte decoration to Gély.
A North Italian Olivewood, Amaranth, Rosewood and Marquetry Commode, Milan, circa 1785
The bold geometric marquetry of the highest quality and the remarkable survival of the preparatory drawings for a virtually identical commode allow a firm attribution to the workshop of Giuseppe Maggiolini, celebrated "Intarsiatore" to Archduke Ferdinand (d. 1824). The surviving drawings were made for a commode or pair of commodes produced by Maggiolini's workshop in 1783 for the archducal villa of Monza. Maggiolini was first noticed for his advanced and highly skilled marquetry work in 1768, and in 1771 he received his first important commission to supply furniture to the Milanese court, and he thereafter enjoyed great success and numerous commissions from the bourgeoisie in Northern Italy.
Estimate: $100,000 - 150,000
A Lavar Kirman Pictorial Carpet
Among the carpet highlights is a Lavar Kirman Pictorial carpet. Exceptional both in its quality and large size, this carpet possibly illustrates the dramatic love story of Layla and Majnun. The unusual combination of the detailed pictorial program combined with its large size and ivory ground makes this carpet equally desirable for a discerning collector or a sophisticated decorator.
Estimate: $50,000 - 80,000
A Pair of George III Satinwood, Harewood, Ebony, Tulipwood and Marquetry Commodes, circa 1775
From a California Collection, the exceptional quality and design of this pair of neo-classical commodes bear all the hallmarks of the 1770s style of the celebrated firm of Mayhew and Ince. The striking veneers, use of ebonized borders, and finely engraved marquetry maintain a balanced design that will appeal to both the traditional and the modern eye.
Estimate: $120,000 - 180,000
Two Pairs of Chinese Export Padouk Side Chairs
Also from a private collection, the two pairs of Chinese Export Padouk Side Chairs, circa 1740, are carved with scrolling decoration in low relief to imitate English gilt-gesso examples. The chairs were produced in Canton for export under European supervision.
Estimate: $30,000 - 50,000, each pair
A Heriz Carpet
A magnificent Heriz carpet leads the decorative pieces with its beautifully drawn design creating bold geometric blocks of color. With a fine weave, ivory medallion and saturated rose field, this carpet exemplifies the upper-echelon of Heriz carpets woven in the 19th century.
Estimate: $20,000 - 30,000
A Large Meissen Porcelain Model of Count Bruhl's Tailor
The year 2010 marks the tri-centenary of the Meissen Porcelain Factory (1710-2010). This accomplishment alone is a standing testament to the ingenuity and creative fervor of its craftsmen. Some of the more elaborate Meissen pieces include a whimsical large model of Count Brühl's tailor seated astride a billy-goat. Count Heinrich Brühl was minister and was appointed administrator of the Meissen factory from 1733 to 1763. By tradition, Brühl was a man famed for his fashion sense and his tailor was thus an important part of his entourage.
A Pair of North Italian Blue-Painted And Parcel-Gilt Girandole Mirrors, Venice, circa 1750
These charming mid-18th century Venetian mirrors are from the collection of noted Portland, Oregon architect John Yeon (1910-1994) and were installed in his most famous house, the Watzek House, built in 1937. Yeon was an early practitioner of the Pacific Northwest style of architecture, combining a clean, modernist aesthetic with a deep-seated sense of place and respect for landscape. In contrast to the clean lines of his architecture, the European furniture Yeon collected was richly sculptural and rococo in flavor, with a particular emphasis on sumptuous painted pieces from Venice. He bought from celebrated dealers, especially Adolph Loewi, and many of the objects have been featured in significant museum exhibitions.
Estimate: $20,000 - 40,000
The sale will also include pieces from the historic Stansted Park suite of giltwood seat furniture, comprising three pairs of armchairs and a settee (estimate: $70,000-110,000 per pair of chairs and $50,000-80,000 for the settee). A separate press release is available.
Auction: 500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe, including Oriental Carpets November 23
Viewing: Christie's Rockefeller Galleries November 19-22
Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had global auction and private sales in 2008 that totalled £2.8 billion/$5.1 billion. For the first half of 2009, art sales totalled £1.2 billion/$1.8 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and expertise, as well as international glamour. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie's conducted the greatest auctions of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and today remains a popular showcase for the unique and the beautiful. Christie’s offers over 450 sales annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $80 million. Christie’s has 53 offices in 30 countries and 10 salerooms around the world including London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai and Hong Kong. More recently, Christie’s has led the market with expanded initiatives in emerging and new markets such as Russia, China, India and the Middle East, with successful sales and exhibitions in Beijing, Mumbai and Dubai.