Be shaken – and a little restless


In April 2020, the work of Italian architecture and design studio Archizoom was featured in the “Radical: Italian Design 1965-1985” exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas. Although the company, founded in 1966, lasted less than a decade, the common vision of designers and architects Andrea Branzi, Gilberto Corretti, Massimo Morozzi and Paolo Deganello was to have a profound influence on avant-garde design.

Radical and rebellious, the quartet’s experimental and influential work is now highly collectible. Among the most important and valuable works of the Florentine studio are the Superonda sofa (1966) and the Safari sofa (1966-68), which was made by inserting a semicircle of six upholstered seats into a lacquered modular square . Although the iconic group disbanded in 1974 to pursue individual interests, their work features on design curricula and is still influential today. Their archives are kept at the Center Pompidou in Paris and at the University of Parma, in Italy.

The furniture highlight of Adam’s of St Stephens’ Green Mid Century Modern sale, which takes place on Tuesday 10 May in a live online auction, is an Imperial Safari sofa (lot 42) from Archizoom, produced by Poltronova. The modular part is made up of three parts and therefore offers numerous configurations. It should fetch between €10,000 and €15,000.

Imperial Safari Sofa by Archizoom €10,000-€15,000

Cocktail cabinets always feature in these sales and this auction won’t disappoint if you’re looking to be shaken up or a little stirred. For smaller budgets, lot 26 is a simple 1960 Italian double-decker drinks cart on wheels (€200-€400), while a large, sleek model in black lacquer on a gold metal base, inside turning very cool, looking for €1,200-1,600 (lot 96).

While today’s definition of a dry bar implies abstinence – or even a place to get your hair done in the United States – when it comes to mid-century beverage cabinets, the difference has to do with the plumbing – or to his lack. This is the case with lot 24, an open dry bar cabinet in rosewood by Erik Buch, with two sliding mirrored drawers and sliding glass doors. The piece, from Denmark in the 1970s, is listed between €2,000 and €4,000. For small spaces, lot 159 is a very cool Aldo Tura cocktail service in lacquered goatskin with manufacturers label (€2000-4000).

Rosewood barbell by Eric Buch €2,000-4,000

Rosewood barbell by Eric Buch €2,000-4,000

As desks have soared at auction over the past two years as home offices have become de rigueur due to the pandemic, the sale features five Eames office chairs (model Eall7) priced at 400-600 € each, including three by Ico Parisi. The price is between €800 and €1,500 for a rosewood high back model for MIM, Italy circa 1960, with maker’s mark.

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The sale includes four Eames office chairs at €400-600 each

Bugatti bench in wood and brass €1,500 - €2,000

Bugatti bench in wood and brass €1,500 – €2,000

Also listed is a fine selection of elegant sideboards, some by Gianfranco Frattini and Silvio Cavatorta, as well as a good range of cool light fixtures, ceramics, mirrors, glassware and two Missoni rugs.

The catalog also lists an important collection of modern art from a deceased Dublin collector. The works have been accumulated over a period of thirty years and are “probably the best private collection of non-Irish modern paintings to come to market in Ireland”, according to the auction house‘s James O’Halloran.

Reclining deckchair, Fratelli Reguitti 200€-300€

Reclining deckchair, Fratelli Reguitti 200€-300€

The 28 lots include works “by some of the titans of British, American and international modern art”. The star lot – which graces the cover of the catalog – is the Coach Lamp by Patrick Caulfield. From 1994, the acrylic on board is estimated between 40,000 and 60,000 €. Caulfield came to prominence when his work was included in the Whitechapel Gallery’s seminal exhibition in 1964, featuring Bridget Riley and John Hoyland – who was one of Caulfield’s closest friends.

This exhibition saw the artist associated with the pop art movement – ​​despite hating that label – and preferred to be known as a formal artist. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1987 for his exhibition The Artist’s Eye, which is in the collections of the Tate Gallery in London, the National Gallery of Australia and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Coach lamp, Patrick Caulfield €40,000-60,000

Coach lamp, Patrick Caulfield €40,000-60,000

The Tate Collection holds a number of examples of his work which feature lamps, which, like the one in this sale, employ strong contrast in colour, shape and form.

Other “Mod Brit” artists include work by luminaries such as Ben Nicholson, Graham Sutherland and Sir Terry Frost. A work by artist Sir Matthew Smith, titled Tulips in a Blue Vase (lot 71) is a “wonderfully colored still life by an artist who studied under Henri Matisse in Paris” according to catalog notes (€15,000 – €20,000).

Other modern Irish artists represented in the sale include John Boyd, Mick Mulcahy, Francis Tansey, Eithne Jordan, Deborah Brown and Graham Gingles, as well as highly collectible graphic works by Francis Bacon, Sean Scully, Mark Geary and William Scott. These range in estimate from €500 to €5,000.


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