Phillips to Offer Works by Design Masters Spanning the 20th and 21st Centuries

  • NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • May 25, 2022

  • Email
Joris Laarman | “Bone” chair, 2006 | Estimate: $500,000 - 700,000
Courtesy of Phillips

Phillips to Offer Works by Design Masters Spanning the 20th and 21st Centuries


Sale on 7 June to Feature Works by Alberto Giacometti, François-Xavier Lalanne, Joris Laarman, Shiro Kuramata, Harry Bertoia, and Ron Arad

NEW YORK – 25 MAY 2022 – Phillips is pleased to announce highlights from the upcoming Design auction in New York. Taking place on 7 June, the sale will feature important works by modern and contemporary makers who have come to define the collecting category, including Alberto Giacometti, François-Xavier Lalanne, Joris Laarman, Shiro Kuramata, Harry Bertoia, and Ron Arad. The sale will be followed by the previously announced sale on 8 June, Contemporary Studio Artworks from the Estate of Jack R. Bershad. The full press release for this sale can be read here.


Cordelia Lembo, Head of Design, New York, said, “We are delighted to conclude the spring season of Design auctions at Phillips by presenting such a remarkable group of works. From ceramics by Georges Jouve and Doyle Lane to Joris Laarman’s iconic Bone chair, to rare and important works by Gustave Miklos and Alberto Giacometti, this auction offers a diverse and edited selection of design, craft and sculpture from the 20th and 21st centuries.”


Joris Laarman’s Bone chair leads the sale. Using data driven modeling software that simulates the natural growth patterns of bones and trees, this ultra‐strong chair was designed to use a minimal amount of material. Since its creation in 2006, it has become an icon of 21st century design, cementing Laarman’s reputation as one of the most innovative designers of today. Other examples of the Bone chair are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the Centraal Museum, Utrecht and the Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, among others.

Alberto Giacometti | Pair of rare "Main Tenant une Coupe" wall lights, circa 1931 | Estimate: $200,000 - 300,000
Courtesy of Phillips


Shiro Kuramata is widely admired for his ability to free his designs from gravity and use materials in ways that defied convention. Kuramata discovered design during his time at the Teikoku Kiz ai Furniture Factory in Arakawa-ku in 1954.  By 1965, at the age of 31, he opened his own firm: Kuramata Design Office. His dynamic use of materials, particularly those that were transparent, combination of surfaces and awareness of the potential of light in design led him to create objects that stretched structural boundaries and were also visually captivating. One of Kuramata's most famous chairs, Miss Blanche (designed 1988), was directly inspired by the protagonist of Tennessee Williams' play "A Streetcar Named Desire." Miss Blanche was produced as an edition of 56, one for each year of Kuramata’s life.


Alberto Giacometti’s wall lights also feature as an important highlight in the auction. Before dedicating himself to figural portraits in bronze, Giacometti enjoyed a productive tenure as a designer, creating expressive objects of utilitarian use. He designed the present lot, along with several other domestic accessories and furnishings, in partnership with acclaimed French interior designer Jean-Michel Frank. A fixture amongst the Surrealists, Giacometti drew upon the leitmotifs of the movement, employing fragmentation and iconography in his work. The present lot renders the eponymous fist holding a sconce in the precarious grasp of its fingertips.

Shiro Kuramata | "Miss Blanche" chair, designed 1988, executed before 1991 | Estimate: $250,000 - 350,000
Courtesy of Phillips


François-Xavier Lalanne’s Mouton de Pierre represents a significant work in the artist’s oeuvre, a fantastic menagerie of creatures. Most art historians and critics often cite surrealism as Lalanne’s primary creative influence; however, the original series title, Pour Polytheme (For Polythemus), is a reference to Homer’s Odyssey. The cyclops Polythemus imprisons Odysseus and his compatriots, who escape their captivity by clinging onto the bellies of the monster’s giant sheep. This vignette in the epic poem was a favorite subject amongst Baroque painters and the subject is likely a reference to Lalanne’s tenure as a security guard at the Louvre, where he encountered ancient Assyrian and Egyptian sculptures of fauna. Lalanne initially made his sheep from bronze and wool, creating a flocculent first generation of ovine. In 1979, he created a herd that was able to be displayed outside. Lalanne continued to make closed editions of epoxy sheep to be exhibited outdoors, perhaps in recognition of their pastoral origins. The Mouton de Pierre reiterates Lalanne’s wit, the title translating to “Sheep of Stone” in English, an eponym dedicated to the medium.


A celebrated innovator in postmodern design, Ron Arad’s work has experienced a renewed interest by the next generation of collectors, as evidenced by his spectacular Prototype “D-Sofa” which sold for £1.2 million in last year’s Phillips’ London Design sale. Arad is often credited with ensconcing the field firmly within the twenty-first century and employed cutting-edge technologies and novel materials to experiment in furniture-making. The result was a playful resurrection of Expressionism, with unexpected lines and volumes rendered in such materials as polyurethane, carbon, and patinated and sprung steel. The B.O.O.P. (Blown Out of Proportion) vase offered in the June auction fully embodies this innovative spirit. Produced in 1998 in conjunction with the Blown Out of Proportion (B.O.O.P.) collection, Arad utilized superplastic aluminum, a novel medium at the time, which allowed for extreme contortions and hollowing, due to its fine-grained nature. To create the vase, Arad heated the aluminum and inflated it through a stencil, forming the ballooning hollows that are characteristic of the series. The present vase was the first and largest work from the B.O.O.P. series and was exhibited at the critically acclaimed exhibition, Ron Arad: No Discipline, at the Museum of Modern Art in 2009.

Also included in the sale are four Harry Bertoia Sonambients, three suspended gongs, and a pair of Singing Bars that were personally gifted by the artist to young experimental composer and musician David Moss over the course of their friendship, beginning in the early 1970s.  During the early 1960s, Bertoia moved away from furniture design and began focusing on more sculptural works. His exploration into sound sculpture, a process he called “Sonambient,” added a new dimension to his fluency in materials. These bold and dynamic sculptures ranged from a few inches to twenty feet tall. Bertoia and Moss developed a bond, experimenting with and testing the limits of music and sound.


Auction: 7 June 2022

Auction viewing: 2-7 June

Location: 432 Park Ave, New York, NY

Click here for more information:






  • Email

Related Press Releases