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Rediscovered design masterworks lead Phillips' April Auction Week
Antony Gormley, 'Small Spall III', 2013
Cast iron.
92 x 39 x 32 cm (36 1/4 x 15 3/8 x 12 5/8 in.). Estimate: £100,000 - 150,000. Image courtesy of Phillips



LONDON.- Phillips announces a series of three auctions dedicated to important Design from the early 20th Century to the present. The previews will be open to the public at 30 Berkeley Square, London, 22-27 April. The three auctions – DESIGN, EVENING DESIGN, and TIME FOR DESIGN − will be held in the same rooms on 27-28 April.

Among the highlights of the EVENING DESIGN sale is a rediscovered sideboard designed by architect Eckart Muthesius for The Maharaja of Indore’s Banquet Hall at Manik Bagh Palace, one of the crowning achievements of Modernism. The sale will also include an historic carpet by Ivan da Silva Bruhn commissioned by the Maharaja for his own bedroom at the palace. Further anchoring the evening auction’s pre-war section, Phillips will offer a previously unrecorded canapé by Art Deco giant Marcel Coard (1889-1974). Recently discovered in Holland and authenticated by expert Amélie Marcilhac, the sofa is the second of two known examples of the model, the other of which is in the permanent collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Continuing its practice of offering significant twentieth-century Italian design, Phillips will exhibit and sell three exceptional tables designed by Gio Ponti (1891-1979), one of the most influential figures of twentieth century architecture and design; all three were executed by the renowned cabinetmaker Giordano Chiesa, a frequent collaborator of Ponti’s.

In addition, Phillips is collaborating with The Design Museum for the benefit auction, Time for Design. Jony Ive, Marc Newson, Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, Herzog & de Meuron, Thomas Heatherwick, David Adjaye, Ron Arad, Mario Bellini, Antony Gormley and Michael Craig-Martin are among the world’s leading designers and artists who have donated works, which will be offered at a benefit auction on 28 April 2016 at 7pm and through an online-only auction from 7 April to 2 May. All proceeds will go towards realising the Design Museum's ambition of creating, in London, the world’s leading institution dedicated to contemporary design and architecture. The Time for Design auction is expected to realise £1 million.

The Manik Bagh Palace:
In 1930 the newly crowned, 25-year-old Maharaja of Indore commissioned German Modernist architect Eckart Muthesius to build and furnish a palace in Maheshwar, India, in what would become a crowning achievement of Muthesius’ career as well as the wider Modernism movement. A devoted collector of art and design and one of the world’s richest men, the Maharaja had enjoyed an exceptionally priviliged upbringing which included formal education in England and extensive travels. Gifted with a keen artistic eye, the young Maharaja was an important patron of artist Constantin Brancusi and photographer Man Ray as well as leading lights of prewar architecture and design. Manik Bagh included furniture by a roll call of now-mythic figures including Eileen Gray, Le Corbusier, Marcel Breuer, Louis Sognot and Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann. The Maharaja also commissioned Brancusi to design a meditation temple in the gardens that would house black and white versions of his ‘Bird in Space’ sculptures which he acquired in 1936 (now both in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra). The Maharaja died in 1956 and the majority of contents from the Palace were sold at a landmark auction in 1980; the Palace is now a government office.

Phillips will offer a rediscovered sideboard from the Banquet Hall at Manik Bagh. Recorded in the catalogue of the Palace produced by Muthesius in 1930, and seen in a black and white photograph from 1968 flanked by two examples of Brancusi’s “Bird in Space”, the sideboard has never before been seen in public. It was sold directly to the family of the present owner prior to the auction in 1980, and has remained in the same collection since. An exceptional work of craftsmanship, it was designed by Muthesius and made by Tischlerei Johann Eckel circa 1931 using stained American walnut, sycamore and aluminium, and with the bow of the key modelled with the Maharaja’s initials. Appearing at auction for the first time, it is expected to realise £300,000 to £500,000.

Also from Manik Bagh Palace, and offered from a different collection, is the important carpet from the Maharaja’s bedroom. Eckart Muthesius approached Ivan da Silva Bruhns (1881-1980) to design and make the carpets for the Palace, his geometric, cubist styles executed with the highest quality in his atelier in Paris. This carpet from circa 1930 is particularly compelling as it was made for the Maharaja’s bedroom; it has remained in the same collection for the past 20 years.

A Rediscovered Masterpiece by Marcel Coard:
Another highlight of the auction is a previously unrecorded Gondola Canapé by French designer Marcel Coard (1889-1974). The sofa is almost identical to a celebrated piece previously in the fabled collection of couturier Jacques Doucet (1853-1929), now in the permanent collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and recently on view in Jacques Doucet – Yves Saint Laurent: Vivre pour l’Art, at the Fondation Pierre Bergé Yves Saint Laurent, Paris. Unrecorded in any known literature to date, the sofa is stamped to its underside and has been authenticated by Coard expert Amélie Marcilhac. The sofa was included in the sale of a house in the Hague in the 1990s, and was subsequently sold to the current owner as an unattributed work. The sofa was taken to a local furniture restorer who found Coard’s name stamped on the underside of the piece and, having looked up the name, recognised it as a piece of great significance. Executed in Indian rosewood, brass and linen velvet, it will be offered with an estimate of £200,000 to £250,000.

An Exceptional Group of Tables by Gio Ponti:
One of the most influential architects and designers of the 20th century, Gio Ponti (1891-1979) continues to attract increasing interest from international collectors. Perhaps his most accomplished and desirable works are those executed by the cabinetmaker Giordano Chiesa. The evening auction will offer three important tables from three decades; the first , designed in 1937, shows the classical yet playful design vocabulary of Ponti’s earlier furniture (estimate: £30,000 to 50,000). A set of three tables from 1948 employs marble, a traditional material, and gives it an unconventional, modern form, breaking it into sections that can function together as a single table, or separately as end tables (estimate: £30,000 to £50,000). And finally, a dynamic asymmetric low table from 1957 (estimate: £30,000 to £50,000) demonstrates Ponti’s playful, disruptive tendencies. This example, from a private London collection, was exhibited in the late 1950s at Liberty, London. Another historical highlight by Gio Ponti is a rare bench commissioned in 1930 for the Antica Quadreria in the Palazzo Contini Bonaccorsi in Florence. One of three known surviving examples from a group of four created by cabinetmaker Magnoni, for Qaurti, it is expected to realise £35,000 to £45,000.

Time for Design – An Auction to Benefit the new Design Museum:
Phillips will collaborate with The Design Museum for its benefit auction, Time for Design, a key part of the fundraising campaign for John Pawson’s refurbishment of the museum’s new building, the Commonwealth Institute, which will open in Kensington on 24 November. At the start of 2016, the museum had already raised £45 million of its £55 million target. As an independent, charitable foundation with limited government support, the museum is dependent on the income it generates from its own activities and from corporate and individual supporters.

Jony Ive, Marc Newson, Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, Herzog & de Meuron, Thomas Heatherwick, David Adjaye, Ron Arad, Mario Bellini, Antony Gormley and Michael Craig-Martin are among the world’s leading designers and artists who have donated works which will be offered at a benefit auction on 28 April 2016 at 7pm and through an online-only auction from 7 April to 2 May. All proceeds will go towards realising the Design Museum's ambition of creating a new London home for the world’s leading institution dedicated to contemporary design and architecture.

The auction is expected to realise £1 million. Highlights include a Gretsch Irish Falcon Hollow Body Electric Guitar signed and donated by Bono; a special edition iPad Pro designed by Jony Ive; Norman Foster’s ‘Arc’ table; Marc Newson’s hand-hammered silver Tea Service for Georg Jensen; Herzog & de Meuron’s “Bird’s Nest” chandelier, designed for the Beijing Olympic Stadium; Zaha Hadid’s Three Bianco Covelano Mercuric Tables and Serif 2 Shelf; Thomas Heatherwick’s ‘Keep off the Glass’ and ‘Spun’ chairs; and Oscar Niemeyer’s ‘Rio’ rocking chaise longue.










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