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Phillips announces highlights from the New York Design Auction in June
Eckart Muthesius, Important sideboard, from the Ma haraja of Indore’s Banquet Hall, Manik Bagh Palace, Indore, circa 1931. Estimate: $200,000 – 300,000. Image courtesy of Phillips.

NEW YORK, NY.- Phillips announced highlights from the upcoming New York Design auction, which will take place in New York on Thursday, 6 June. Featuring the studio craft collection One of a Kind: Property from the Collection of Diane and Marc Grainer , as well as works from other notable private collections, this sale is comprised of 150 lots. Spanning key periods in this category from early 20th century masters, such as Alberto Giacometti and Eckart Muthesius in the 1930s, through to present day artists, such as Ingrid Donat and Marc Newson, the selection of works to be offered will traverse the last century in Design.

Cordelia Lembo, Phillips’ Head of Design, New York, said, “We are delighted to announce highlights from Phillips’ June Design sale, which will connect important works from various crucial periods in Design history from across the globe. Eckart Muthesius’ sideboard comes from Manik Bagh Palace, one of the most significant interiors of the 20th century, from which Phillips has a history of selling record-setting works. Alberto Giacometti’s ‘Tête de femme’ table lamp is a wonderful example that is coming to market for the first time after remaining in a family collection since its acquisition in the 1940s. We are also proud to offer works from several prominent private collections, including those from the collection of Diane and Marc Grainer.”

Leading the sale is the Important sideboard, from the Maharaja of Indore’s Banquet Hall, Manik Bagh Palace, Indore, which was designed by Eckart Muthesius in 1931. This sideboard is one of two designed for the magnificent banquet hall of Manik Bagh, a palace in India whose name translates to the Garden of Rubies. In the 1920s, Muthesius had befriended the Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Holkar II while the two were studying at Oxford. When the Maharaja returned to India he set out to build a new, modernist palace called Manik Bagh, asking Muthesius to collaborate with him on the project. Particularly avant-garde for India, built and furnished with pieces made from industrial materials, the grand palace was a landmark of flourishing modernism. This sideboard, among other pieces designed by Muthesius for the Manik Bagh Palace, epitomizes the simple, functional forms from that epoch of Design.

Alberto Giacometti’s ‘Tête de femme’ table lamp will also be offered as a highlight of the auction. Known for his sculptural representations of the human form, in this work Giacometti explored femininity through the stoic bust of a woman. This is the first time that this work will be offered at auction.

A rare chess table designed by Isamu Noguchi and produced by Herman Miller will also present a rare opportunity for collectors. The Japanese-American artist conceived of his biomorphic design when he was invited to take part in the “Imagery of Chess” exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York, by which point Noguchi was already an established artist and designer. “Imagery of Chess” explored the discourse surrounding chess, a game bound up with a slower and more ritualistic past, and its relationship with the fast-paced modern epoch. Chess is a platform upon which intellectuals can show their mental brilliance and the physical platform, the table designed by Noguchi, is intended to reflect that.

A strong selection of works by Harry Bertoia will also be presented in the auction, spanning a variety of media. The group includes two kinetic sculptures, a sculpture in redwood and steel, a bronze sculpture, and one of his famous “Sonambient” sounding sculptures. In celebration of these works and Phaidon’s new publication on Harry Bertoia, Phillips is pleased to host a book launch and panel discussion on Sunday, 2 June, which will focus on the work of this legendary artist. The discussion will include Cordelia Lembo, Phillips’ Head of Design in New York, Celia Bertoia, Director and Founder of the Harry Bertoia Foundation, Wilbur Springer, Chairman of the Board of the Harry Bertoia Foundation, and Beverly H. Twitchell, Ph.D., Consultant to the Foundation. 

Phillips will offer an exquisite Commode Galucha t designed by Ingrid Donat. Born into a family of artists, Donat was born in Paris and then brought up in Sweden, returning to Paris in 1975 to attend the École des Beaux Arts. Commode Galuchat , produced in 2014, showcases Donat’s interest in patterning.

Marc Newson’s “Event Horizon” table is emblematic of Newson's ambitious retro-futurist aesthetic and was designed as part of a series with Orgone chair, Orgone Stretch chair, and Alufelt chair (1993). The table was produced for Ikepod (also known as Pod), Newson’s and Oliver Ike’s innovative watch company. The aluminum and enameled interior of the table seems to take on an almost life-like sense of motion, with its ductile surfaces and curvilinear edges confusing the boundaries between the object and the space around it. Like a jet-engine, the smooth angles of the Event Horizon table transition effortlessly into equally compelling interior spaces, with the glowing red enamel core of the piece seeming to ebb and flow like plasma. Achieving this sleek, space-age effect required Newson to return the aviation technologies that had long inspired him, using an aircraft factory in France before finally settling on an Aston Martin subcontractor in Buckinghamshire, in order to achieve the piece’s polished fluidity and seamlessness.

Finally, Phillips will offer a selection of twenty works from the studio craft and design collection of Diane and Marc Grainer. Prescient and longtime collectors, the Grainers began acquiring works in the late 1970s, focusing on securing the best examples by each artist. The works from this collection to be offered in June include design masters such as Judy Kensley McKie and renowned ceramists such as Lucie Rie and Gordon Baldwin, and ceramists being offered by Phillips for the first time, including John Ward, Richard Shaw and Lawson Oyekan. These works offer a comprehensive overview of British studio ceramics, as well as American craft and studio furniture. Meaghan Roddy, Phillips’ Senior International Design Specialist, said, “It is an honor to have the opportunity to include in the sale works from the Collection of Diane and Marc Grainer, whose depths of collecting touch upon a compelling spectrum of design periods, accessible to both established and budding collectors and enthusiasts.”

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