Saturday, May 22, 2010

Furnishings as Art Works

A piece of French fashion designer Christian Lacroix's exotic world comes up for auction in Paris next week.
On May 26, Sotheby's will offer colorful furnishings specially made by French designers Elizabeth Garouste and Mattia Bonetti for the Lacroix fashion house when it first opened in 1987 in a sumptuous townhouse on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. They created a theater of fashion, reflecting Mr. Lacroix's baroque style and love of bright Mediterranean colors.
Sotheby's-ArtDigital Studio
A chair (1987) by Elizabeth Garouste and Mattia Bonetti, Estimate: OE3,000–OE5,000.
[collecting]It was a luxurious environment of wrought iron, coral-tinted wood, terracotta and bronze in luminous yellow, pink and orange, with organic, poetic forms inspired by nature, irony and excess. Imitation branches of trees grew out of cabinets and the backs of chairs had strange antennas evoking frisky grasshoppers.
The idea, says Sotheby's 20th-century decorative arts and design specialist Cécile Verdier, was "to put clients on a stage" in a theater d[eacute]cor where they were the stars.
Among the 196 lots are sofas, chairs, tables, benches, wall- and floor-lights, mirrors, fitting cabins and entrance gates. Ms. Verdier describes the décor as "a testimony to taste at the end of the 1980s."
An orange lacquered wrought-iron chair with antennas is estimated at €3,000-€5,000, as are a pair of stools with tree-trunk bottoms and pink upholstery.
That day, Sotheby's will hold a general 20th-century decorative arts and design sale. Star lot will be a rare "Fauteuil Nautile" (1913), a carved, walnut armchair with striped upholstery by Paul Iribe, a French designer and fashion illustrator, who worked with such couturier greats as Paul Poiret (estimate: €80,000-€120,000).
In this auction and at Christie's Paris on May 28, there will be works by French husband and wife duo Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne. Claude's gilt bronze bench with a crocodile underneath happily eating its supports (2008) is estimated at Christie's at €80,000-€120,000.

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