Renowned Decorative Arts Collection on the Auction Block

  • Christina Garofalo

Christie’s will sell the Gourdon Collection, considered one of the most important decorative arts sales since the highly publicized Yves Saint Laurent sale in 2009. Amassed over 20 years by collector Laurent Négro, the collection illustrates the rise of Art Deco and Modernism in France. The sale, fromMarch 29 to 31 at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, will offer 1,129 lots of furniture, books, arms and armor, photography, sculptures, and more, with an estimated value between $55 million and $85 million.

The Gourdon Collection showcases Négro’s representation of the Art Deco style, exemplified in standout pieces like Eileen Gray’s 1925 Transat, a black lacquer armchair with coated canvas seat (estimate: $800,000 to $1 million). Christie’s will also highlight Négro’s focus on the Union des Artistes Modernes (UAM)—a French movement of artists who, in 1925, shifted to more functionalist art principles, and employed a range of industrial materials, like aluminum and steel, to suit their cause.

“The sale is totally unique,” says François des Ricqlès, president of Christie’s France. “It is a great opportunity for the collector who has a real eye for interesting work to buy exceptional pieces by artists who are internationally known for their trade.” In 1997, while working for another auction house, Ricqlès actually sold Les Palmiers (1928–1929), a wood-and-lacquer wall panel by Jean Dunand, which is part of the Gourdon Collection, and Ricqlès will have the rare chance to sell it for the second time in his career. Another prized Dunand piece is a games table made in black lacquer with eggshell inlay, designed for the library of couturier Madeleine Vionnet in 1930. Estimated to fetch about $4 million to $6.7 million, the table features a chessboard top and chairs that slide inside to create a compact cube. (212.636.2000, www.christies.com)

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