Market Report Summer 2022
The hottest collectible design results of the season
As the sultriest days of summer descend upon us, we’re taking a look at the hottest auction results of the season. In the past month, objects made in France took center stage across a number of sales and, as a category, fetched the highest bids—a handful surpassing the million dollar mark. Notably though many of the lots that most over-performed their estimates came from Italy and the US, while a familiar faction of rockstar designers from the contemporary era continued to shine brightly.
If a theme can be traced this season, collectors appear to be in the mood for the work of those singular createurs most closely associated with august tastes and haute living; much more sumptuous than rationalistic. An affinity for unique handmade expressions and exquisite craftsmanship is also evident. Scroll on to see the names driving the most recent bidding wars.
The Spirit of Paris, presented by Christie’s New York June 6
Featuring design objects from the 1920s and ‘30s, Christie’s Spirit of Paris sale shined a light on the rich materiality and sensuous forms of the Art Deco era—and realized a total of $11,510,070. A straw marquetry cabinet by Jean-Michel Frank (1925) was the top lot at $1,500,000, more than double its high estimate. Alberto Giacometti’s Grecque Table Lamp (1937) closely followed, soaring past its top estimate of $300,000 to achieve $1,184,000. In fact, many of the lots in this sale over-performed their estimates, perhaps driven by dreams of a life more serene and genteel in contrast to the current state of the world.
Design, presented by Phillips New York June 7
Realizing $5,100,000 total, Phillips’ Design sale offered an eclectic but curated mix, covering a wide range of eras, styles, and provenances. The white hot, “fabriqué en France” darlings of the current market, like Diego Giacometti, Jean Prouvé, Georges Jouve, and François-Xavier Lalanne, performed robustly. Many of the pieces that blew past their estimates, however, came from elsewhere, including outstanding works by Shiro Kuramata , Gio Ponti, Gabrielle Crespi, and Doyle Lane—the 20th-century American potter who's enjoying quite the renaissance. The top lot was a Joris Laarman Bone Chair (2006) at $630,000.
A Collection That We Dreamt Of, presented by Sotheby’s New York June 8
Drawn from the impeccable Upper East Side residence of renowned collectors Delphine and Reed Krakoff, this sale also covered an encyclopedic range of works by leading artists and designers of various periods and genres, including Adolf Loos, Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, Jean Prouvé, Maria Pergay, George Condo, and Louise Nevelson. Pod of Drawers by Marc Newson (c. 1987) and Bélier by François-Xavier Lalanne (2001) were the top sellers at $831,600 and $882,000 respectively. Other high performing lots were more unexpected, reflecting the the Krakoffs' keen eye for style.
Important Design, presented by Sotheby’s New York June 9
Sotheby’s Important Design sale offered a number of masterworks that spanned over a century. French designers from both the Deco and Modernist eras were most heavily represented—and most highly sought after. Think Diego Giacometti, Pierre Chareau, René Lalique, Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand, and Jean Royère, among others. Tops sellers exceeded the million dollar mark: Cerf et Renard Console by Diego Giacometti (c. 1972) sold for $2,349,000; Pair of Pommeaux de Canne Armchairs by Diego Giacometti (c. 1963) sold for $2,228,000; and Refectory Table by Jean Prouvé (c. 1939) sold for $1,623,000. The next-in-line top-seller was more of a surprise, a one-of-a-kind lantern by American Craftsman architects Greene & Greene (c. 1908), which had a top estimate of $250,000 and sold for $1,502,000. Other rare Deco-esque gems also over performed.
Hubert de Givenchy - Collectionneur, presented by Christie’s Paris June 15-17
For Christie’s Paris, most of June was given over to multiple sales of the exceptional private collection of fashion icon Hubert de Givenchy. Achieving an astounding total of €114,400,000, the sales featured 17th- and 18th-century furniture and art alongside masterpieces from the Modernist era, all drawn from M. de Givenchy’s various homes. Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture, Femme qui Marche I, sold for €27,169,500, setting the record for the most expensive work sold at auction in France so far this year. And 19 new auction records were set for fine and decorative art. Of the top ten works sold, 5 were 18th-century furniture and decorative arts. According to Christie’s, “Such exceptional, strong prices for 18th-century furniture have not been achieved since the 1990s.”