PIASA to offer Scandinavian-American design and Peder Moos's private collection

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PIASA to offer Scandinavian-American design and Peder Moos's private collection
Poul Kjaerholm (1929-1980), Chest-of-drawers, 1955. Oregon pine and nickel Edition Rud Rasmussen, H 73 x L 105 x P 75 cm. Estimate: €30,000-40,000.

PARIS.- PIASA are offering the exceptional private collection by the celebrated Danish furniture designer Peder Moos.

Peder Moos (1906-91): Furniture Designed with a Free Spirit
After the success of the sale of furniture by Danish designer Peder Moos from Østrupgaard manor-house in March 2014, PIASA are to offer for auction sixty emblematic Moos works from his private collection, which have remained in his family until today. Peder Moos was one of the greatest furniture designers of his era. His work stands out through the influence of Nature and his highly personal technique.

A specific technique
“Moos would have no stock or backup supplies, his furniture was made to order or to be presented at the Guild’s exhibitions.

Some clients, amongst whom the Crone family in Copenhagen, supported him and understood his ambition. They were willing to give in to his idiosyncrasies in the hope of securing a piece of furniture from P. They never quite knew in advance when the piece would be delivered, its final shape and form, the wood chosen for its making… nor anything of course about the price!

In an article dated 1947, P. explained the source of his inspiration. “My inspiration is related to nature and technique in all its richness and beauty.” As a child he grew up in the midst of nature and admired its simplicity and perfection.

The lines of his furniture were extremely fine in their design, like in nature, his creations were astounding in their audacity. In order to achieve the ideal shape, he gradually removed matter, carving out his research to the confines of the possible. Most remained puzzled by his approach, which he summarised as “an economy of forms. When everything superfluous has been removed, the goal is achieved.” To emphasise certains points, when he found it absolutely necessary, he would add volume such as in the ball-shaped base of his table leg or would choose to use wood species of a higher density. As the backrests of chairs are subject to heavy forces he strengthened them. The way he calculated the structure of his pieces was precise and intelligible. He used solid wood for the planes and glue-laminated wood to highlight joinings or on the contrary to conceal technical details, e.g. hiding the wires of a lamp. A distinctive signature of his work would be the inlaid motifs made from wedges and/or dowels which underline the assemblies. As an excuse to create a decorative effect, he used sharply constrasting colours of wood to make them even more visible.

As a person he was peculiar and unfettered, his furniture productions were few and far between, more akin to a painter or a sculptor he created every element as unique, gauging its colour, the contrasts and volume. A monogramme evocative of the two legs of the M in Moos, or as suggested by some a double X, XX for 20th century, would be used to initial the project. Sometimes he would sign and date his furniture pieces or objects at the back in red ink.

Finishing, the last step in the process is of paramount importance. He successively polished the surface with steel wool of increasingly fine grain, and between each polishing run would wet the surface. For the last run, he would rub the surface with pinewood chips, a rare technique which gives an unparalleled smoothness and silky shine under the caressing hand. No grain, no flaws on the furniture’s skin. “Finer chips, wood against wood, light crashes against the visible flaws, there is still a long way to go”.

This historic auction offers PIASA the chance to launch a series of monographs to be published alongside major themed sales. Anne Bony’s Peder Moos dit P. – Sur les traces d’un ébéniste singulier retraces the career of a star name in Scandinavian furniture and, over and beyond his career, outlines his inspirations, spirit and style.

Books published by PIASA Editions will offer powerful testimony of the work of 20th and 21st century artists and creators.

With nearly 300 lots and a total pre-sale estimate of around €1.5m, the fourth sale on this theme will inaugurate PIASA’s new Paris premises at 118 rue du Faubourg-St-Honoré.

A large part of the Scandinavian section will feature iconic pre-war pieces. Early 20th century precursors like Axel Einar Hjorth, Paavo Tynell and Fritz Hansen forged the renown of Scandinavian Design with their radical aesthetics, limited production and high-level quality of execution.

The furniture of the Swedish architect and designer Axel Einar Hjorth (1888-1959) was destined for both public and private interiors. He was also Chief Architect for Nordiska Kompaniet in Stockholm, the ‘Great Department Store’ that was one of the leading furniture-makers in Sweden, and supervised all aspects of the Swedish Pavilion at the Barcelona Exposicion Internacional of 1929. From 1930 he designed various collections for country houses on the small islands around Stockholm. Sale highlights typifying Hjorth’s work range from his sober, graceful Lovö pinewood coffee-table (est. €15,000-20,000) to a pair of pinewood armchairs with fabric upholstery from around 1930 (est. €25,000-35,000).

The Chieftains Chair by Finn Juhl (1912-89), designed in a single day in 1949, is now an icon of Danish furniture – and a space in its own right, full of symbols inspired by art and anthropology. The broad armrests are like saddles, the joists evokes bows and the back resembles a shield. The chair, whose design exudes a certain solemnity, was made from teak or walnut by the finest craftsmen (est. €80,000-100,000).

An important ensemble by Philip Arctander, comprising a pair of armchairs, two chairs and a day-bed (est. €30,000-50,000), completes the Scandinavian section, alongside a sublime, nickel-mounted chest-of-drawers in Oregon pine designed by Poul Kjaerholm (1929-80), similar to the model at the School of Architecture in the Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi (Royal Academy of Fine Arts) in Copenhagen (est. €30,000-40,000).

The dynamic nature of Scandinavian Design left a deep mark on Designers across the Atlantic. From the 1950s many Americans designers spread the style and adapted it according to its taste, culture and means of production.

The section devoted to American Design features seating by Edward Wormley (1907-95) and T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings (1905-76). Walnut furniture by Nakashima (1905-90), often specially commissioned, includes a console-table (est. €12,000-18,000); a set of four chairs (est. €8,000-12,000); and his Frenchman’s Cove dining-table (est. €16,000-22,000).

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