Over the course of their 72-year marriage, Pritzker Prize-winning architect I.M. Pei and his wife Eileen amassed a substantial collection of modern and contemporary art. The collection, which was kept privately in their home up until Pei’s death this past May, will be going up for auction at Christie’s this Fall with a total value expected to exceed $25 million. The collection of 59 works will be on sale from November 12 to December 4. A global tour of exhibition previews will begin in Paris this month before traveling to Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and ending in New York in November. The auction will feature a diverse range of paintings, sculpture, and works on paper falling under Christie’s categories for Chinese painting, impressionism, modern, and postwar art. Their collection illustrates not only a significant moment in 20th-century abstraction but also the couple’s deep relationships and dialogue with influential artists of the time. Many of the works were commissions or personal gifts from the artists themselves. “My parents’ collection is a reflection of how they lived. They shared a deep curiosity about the world,” said Pei’s daughter Liane in a press release, “no matter the country, they always seemed to have friends, many of whom were artists, architects, gallerists and museum directors, ready to welcome them.” One of the collection’s highlights includes two paintings by the couple’s close friend Barnett Newman. Untitled 4, 1950 and Untitled 5, 1950 were given to the couple by Newman’s widow, Annalee, in 1970, shortly after the artist’s death. The paintings were just two of a series of six—others can be found in the collections of MoMa and the Art Institute of Chicago. Additional notable works that filled the interior of the Pei’s Manhattan residence include paintings by Jean Dubuffet and Franz Kline as well as objects by Isamu Noguchi and Henry Moore.
Posts tagged with "Christie's":
Rafael de Cárdenas of Architecture at Large ventured into his first curatorial endeavor with Christie’s for a special installation that premieres the sale of The Collector: English & European Furniture, Fine Art, Ceramics & Silver. From a gilt centaur with an amethyst base to a cameo acid-etched vase to a Louis XVI mahogany desk, de Cárdenas studied individual works in the upcoming sale to design a display of highlights from the auction. Showcased atop bronze-hued plinths, de Cárdenas’ favorite lots are interspersed in a landscape of flowers and palm leaves delicately arranged by Meta Flora. With over 300 lots, the auction encompasses 17th to 19th-century European furniture, sculpture, works of art, silver, ceramics, carpets and more, with starting prices ranging from the thousands to the hundred thousands. AN asked Rafael de Cárdenas about his installation design, his personal knowledge of decorative arts, and what he found fascinating about the sale. The Architect’s Newspaper: How long have you been collecting decorative arts and why did you start? Rafael de Cárdenas: Barring a few purchases at antique shops in France, I wouldn’t say I’m a collector of decorative arts. I collect quite a bit of design pieces but mostly 20th century. Working with Christie’s on this exciting collaboration may change that however. I will be bidding on pieces in the auction! Can you tell us about the installation and what your inspiration was? I don’t think these items need a lot of razzle dazzle; they are quite dazzling on their own. We are simply curating a particularly mannerist selection together on semi-rounded tiered plinths. The plinths isolate each piece, giving them more attention than they might normally have in a traditional living environment. We are working with Meta Flora to weave a monochromatic but lush landscape as an element interacting with the pieces. In your studies of the lots, what did you find most intriguing or surprising? Lot 237, a George Woodall for Thomas Webb glass cameo work, is particularly compelling in its general moodiness. I’ve been drawn to the glass works most, I’d say. Lot 271, a Louis Solon for Mintons glass vessel, is another favorite. Many of the smaller fragile works are so atmospheric almost to the point of no other function. What are your favorite works/artists from the 17th to the 19th century? I would have been unable to answer that a few months ago, but I particularly like the pieces by George Woodall for Thomas Webb Glass in the auction. The installation is on view in Rockefeller Plaza at Christie’s from April 6-9. Afterward, the auction will follow on the day after, on April 10.
A Quincy Jones' Brody House in LA's Holmby Hills has hit the market for a whopping $24.95 million, report the Wall Street Journal and LA Curbed. The 11,500 square foot modernist home has nine bedrooms, a tennis court, pool, and a guest house on 2.3 acres. It also features a floating staircase, floor-to-ceiling glass windows, and plenty of indoor-outdoor spaces. Not coincidentally the art collection of the home's owners, Sydney F. and Frances Brody, is going up for auction today at Christie's in New York. It includes works by Picasso, Giacometti, Matisse, Degas, Renoir (not bad staging pieces for a house sale). The couple were founding benefactors of LACMA, major patrons of the Huntington Library and Gardens, and known for throwing legendary parties full of stars. Frances Brody died last November. We think Mr. and Mrs. Brad Pitt would like living here.
Economic uncertainty has done little to dampen enthusiasm at the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé Collection auction at Christie’s in Paris. Multiple sales records have been broken, including the highest price for a piece of 20th Century design, Eileen Gray’s Art Deco “dragon chair” from 1917-1919, which fetched $28,341,909, far surpassing the high estimate of $3,833,040. Gray (1878-1976) is best known for her chrome-plated tubular steel side tables from 1927, which are still in production. This version, which goes so well with Corbusier armchairs, is for sale at Design Within Reach for $550. The dragon chair shows how much Gray’s work evolved in less than ten years. And though many modernists renounced the art deco, art moderne and other transitional styles as products of bourgeois decadence, many modern designers began their careers working in these much less dogmatic and highly seductive styles. Another such example from the sale, a pair of curved Honduran mahogany stools designed Pierre Chareau, architect of landmark modernist Maison de Verre, were sold for $44,767. Design history aside, would you sit on a $28 million anything?