Ideal collection: Artcurial auctions a wealth of design classics
For the past two years, French auction house Artcurial has given collectors a good excuse to stay on in Paris after the annual FIAC art fair ends, thanks to a bumper crop of sales. On 27 October, the Ideal Collection, a haul of 20 rare pieces of design, goes under the hammer at the house’s Napoleon III-era headquarters on the Champs-Élysées.
On 27 October, the Ideal Collection, a haul of 20 rare pieces of design, goes under the hammer at the house’s Napoleon III-era headquarters on the Champs-Élysées.
Artcurial vice president Fabien Naudan, and director of the design department Emmanuel Berard, co-curated the capsule sale. It includes a 1953 'Maison du Mexique' bookcase by Charlotte Perriand, complete with original concrete block legs (Berard’s favourite), and a child size ‘Oeuf’ chair by Jean Royère.
‘At the end of last year, we were assisting Mexico House at the Cité Universitaire in Paris in its renovation and we found four pairs of the original concrete blocks that Perriand had used on her bookshelf, just sitting there in a cupboard,’ explains Berard. The 'Oeuf' was another coup. In 1955 Royère created furniture for the office of a paediatrician in Lorient. For years it was thought that only one baby 'Oeuf' existed, until Artcurial got a call from a long lost surgery assistant who had been given one along the way.
‘These are very rare pieces, and their stories are the best,’ says Naudan, who himself has so many Prouvé dining tables he has lost count, many Perriand pieces and furniture by ‘the one who started it all’ – Le Corbusier.
The sale also includes a 1944 'Bone' chair by Finn Juhl and 'Second Hand Rose', a 1989 chair by Ron Arad, who was the sole focus of Artcurial’s 20-piece design sale last year. Taking place on the same day as the Ideal Collection auction is Beautiful Winners, a sale of contemporary urban and street art.
A key player in the French design art market, Artcurial has grown from 30 to 150 people and increased turnover from €30 million to €200 million since it was founded in 2002. FIAC is an important date in the calendar; ‘It used to be a localised fair, but now it’s 70 per cent French and 30 per cent visitors are from abroad, ‘says Naudan. His ‘discovery’ this year? Young artist Catherine Bastide who showed at Oliver Osborne Gallery. The works sold straight away.