Auction  December 20, 2017

Giacometti Lamps Excel at Auction

Courtesy Bonhams

Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966), Pair of Étoile Table Lamps, circa 1937

New York – A pair of table lamps by Alberto Giacometti were the top lot of the Bonhams Modern Decorative Art + Design auction on December 14. The sale realized $1,542,625 and was marked by incredible prices achieved for classic early 20th century designers and robust international activity for post-war design material.

"We saw some very strong results, especially with the beautiful fresh-to-market Giacometti lamps that inspired competitive bidding from all corners of the world and also had lots of domestic interest for the rare early works by Samuel Yellin. We are also pleased with the record price achieved for the exceptional set of six window panels by George Grant Emlsie, which were a showstopper during the view," said Benjamin Walker, Head of Department, Modern Decorative Art & Design.

"The exceptional results achieved for blue chip designers from the early part of the 20th century such as Alberto Giacometti, Tiffany Studios, W.A.S. Benson, Edgar Brandt and René Lalique stand testament to their enduring appeal in the market place, while the works from key post-war designer's such as Poul Henningsen, Serge Mouille, Lucie Rie and Pierre Jeanneret attracted strong international interest, with buyers from 13 countries," said Dan Tolson, Director, Modern Decorative Art + Design.

The elegant pair of Giacometti Étoile table lamps realized $225,000 and a single Giacometti floor lamp achieved $162,500. Both sets were commissioned by renowned minimalist interior designer Jean Michel Frank, and echo the elongated artistic style found in Giacometti's sculptures. All the top ten lots beat their low estimates in the sale, which sold 69% by lot and 80% by value.

Notable lots included:
A Tiffany Studios Pond Lily Table Lamp with rare custom commission colorway that went for nearly three times its estimate to achieve $143,750.
Six leaded glass windows for the Henry B. Babson House designed by George Grant Elmslie that exceeded its presale estimate to realize $87,500, nearly 6 times its estimate
A Samuel Yellin floor lamp made of wrought iron flew to ten times its estimate to achieve $32,500.