Auction No 53, 6 June 2005
Modern Design & Murano Glass
Post 1945 Fine Arts - African Tribal Art
Post auction sale until July 6 2005
Splendid stainless steel
Quittenbaum Art Auctions Munich achieves record figures for Modern Design - Successful exhibition at the 'Haus der Kunst'.
Munich, June 8 2005 - Mondays auction in the categories Modern Design - Murano Glass - Modern Art - African Tribal Art brought Munich auction house Quittenbaum record sales exceeding € 550,000. The international audience present in the room and those participating via telephone engaged in lively bidding battles for the top-class offerings, and as well as considerable price increases, a total sales quota of nearly 50% was achieved. With 42% of lots sold in the category, Murano glass proved successful, while 30% of the category African Art, presented by Quittenbaum in Munich for the first time, found new owners.
As part of the Munich DESIGNPARCOURS, Quittenbaum Art Auctions devoted a two-day exhibition on June 4 and 5 at the 'Haus der Kunst' to the highlights of the nearly 750-object auction. Scores of visitors dropped in and became acquainted with the origins of the Frankfurt Kitchen, an item already of great interest. Margarete Schütte-Lihotzkys 1926 kitchen design was accordingly successful in the auction, acquired by a German collector for € 22,700 (Estimated Price € 20,000). The Frankfurter Hochhausschrank F1 (Frankfurt Skyscraper Cabinet F1) of 1985/1986 an icon of postmodern German design and thus effectively a counterpiece to the Frankfurter Küche exceeded the estimated price of € 25,000. The piece by architect-designers Norbert Berghof, Michael Landes and Wolfgang Rang was bought by another German collector for € 29,000. French design had its day with Pierre Paulins 1968 three-seater ABCD-Sofa, which achieved a hammer price of € 5,000 (EP 6,000). Annie Tribels Coupé seating arrangement of the same year fetched the same price. Piero Fornasettis work this season once again aroused the interest of international dealers. As well as an umbrella stand, which was knocked down for € 1,050 (EP € 700), his occasional tables attracted special interest. The occasional table Sole was eventually acquired by a dealer for € 1,450, while the occasional table Draughtsmans Instruments sent the winning bid up to € 2,700 (EP € 1,700).
The interest of the German auction-goers in Modern Design was not, however, expressed exclusively in the bids for the 'Frankfurt Kitchen' and the 'Frankfurter Hochhausschrank F1. Apart from dedicated collectors, there is a growing community of people involved in decorating and furnishing for whom a design object must also have utility value. Much to the joy of the auctioneer: Many of the bidders came from Munich and its surroundings and acquired objects with estimated values between € 500 and 2,000, comments Askan Quittenbaum, Managing Director of the auction house founded in 1998.
According to Askan Quittenbaum, market developments in Modern Design are reflected in the hammer prices for nearly all the top lots. Modern Design achieves substantially higher prices in the USA than in Germany, he says, explaining the positive response. Therefore international auction-goers pounce on the sale offerings in Germany, which are still relatively inexpensive even with the price premiums of a bidding battle factored in. Accordingly, interest is chiefly focussed on international rarities such as Piero Fornasettis 1950 paravent Jerusalem by Night - Renaissance Skyscrapers. Fought over by American dealers, it fetched € 13,000 (EP € 12,000) an upscale price, but not in the top of its class. The real attractions proved to be the stainless steel designs of the 1970s. The timeless language of form was represented in all its facets at the auction. The right angles of two three-piece stainless steel shelves by Vittorio Introini drove the hammer price up to the dizzy heights of € 7,500 and 10,000 respectively, nearly ten times the estimated price of € 1,800. Nine telephone bidders competed with the international audience in the auction room for these elegant Italian objects. The design trend is echoed in the curvature of Ringo Starrs 1970 occasional table drums. The stylized drum kit of stainless steel with a shiny metallic surface epitomizes the cool casualness rediscovered by todays Zeitgeist 35 years on. This unique object now follows its new owner to the USA for € 10,000. Only a Bakalowitz & Söhne ceiling lamp was able to up these price increases. From a starting price of € 400, the lamp, featuring transparent glass rods radiating out in the shape of a star, provoked a bitter bidding battle, which was only settled with a € 5,400 bid from an American dealer.
Quittenbaum also registers a growth in the popularity of German Design both at home and abroad. Thus Hugo Härings 1936/48 chair was sold for € 1,900 (EP € 500) to a major American collection, as were Egon Eiermanns 1952 SE 68 chairs for € 820. Ingo Maurer's 'light-structure' designed in 1983 more than trippled its estimate (€ 800) to € 2,600.
Targets are set high: Askan Quittenbaum expects a further rise in the sales quota in the autumn season. Given the growing interest in Modern Design and with an even more concentrated selection of objects, we hope that in the autumn we will attain the 65% mark that we are already seeing for Art Nouveau.