Hans Wegner, Axel Christiansen Sell High in Kaminski Auction
On Sunday, January 12, 2014 Kaminski Auctions of Beverly, Massachusetts held a high quality 20th Century Modern Design auction. The sale achieved an approximate sell-through rate of seventy percent, while displaying a steady rhythm of strong hammer prices. Bidders showed great enthusiasm on the floor, on the phones and particularly through several online bidding platforms.
Early in the sale, furnishings appeared to dominate the marketplace. The second lot of the day was a pair of Hans Wegner chairs manufactured by Johannes Copenhagen of Denmark. Implemented in 1949 by Wegner, "The Chair" was not widely noticed by the American public until 1961 during a televised debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. The Chair has retained its highly collectible status over the last sixty-five years and the aforementioned pair sold well at $2,300.
An outstanding Axel Christiansen rosewood credenza was also featured prominently in this sale, achieving $3,500 amidst heated competition on the floor and between several telephone bidders. Ceramic enthusiasts and furniture collectors also clearly appreciated a mammoth pair of Swedish "onion" lamps, circa 1950s, with original parchment shades and matching ceramic finials. These classically Scandinavian lamps sold for $3,250.
Sculptural and glass items drew interest from all bidding platforms, leading to a strong hammer price of $3,000 on an outstanding work by David Aronson, "False Messiah". Buyers also appeared to covet the small collection of Lalique objects and placed bids accordingly. A Lalique plaque titled "Masque de Femme" sold for $4,750, followed by a Lalique Bacchantes vase selling for $2,000 mid-way through the sale.
Fine art found a strong foothold, particularly with a small-scale work attributed to Alberto Burri, which sold for $7,500. Investigations of materials used to create the piece indicate that the work could have been made during the time Burri lived in Los Angeles, California.
A hand-signed silkscreen titled "Six Variants" and dated 1969 by Joseph Albers reached a strong price of $1,100. A staunch advocate of teaching the fundamentals, Albers joined the Bauhaus faculty in 1922 until its closure in 1933, at which time he was invited to teach at Black Mountain College located in North Carolina. There, Albers presided over artists such as Cy Twombly and Robert Rauschenberg as head of the painting program until 1949. Albers transitioned to Yale University in 1950 and has been credited with implementing a complete overhaul of the university's Art program.
In the same genre of Abstract Expressionism, an original oil painting by Elaine de Kooning (wife of renowned artist Willem de Kooning), "Untitled Bull", was awarded to an anonymous phone bidder against an online bidder for $3,000. Rounding out the sale were two works by Henry Moore. Both of the small watercolors on paper depict several abstract, reclining nudes, as was often Moore's signature subject. The first of the two lots by Henry Moore achieved $5,000, while the second reached $4,000.
Past lots are now available for after-auction purchase and can be reviewed by accessing the prices realized link on kaminskiauctions.com. Kaminski Auctions is currently seeking new consignments for the upcoming Spring 2014 Modern sale, to be held May 10th.