Carl Auböck heads up a bountiful auction of 20th century design and art

A plethora of pieces by Austrian modernist titan Carl Auböck
A plethora of pieces by Austrian modernist titan Carl Auböck is being auctioned at Piasa in Paris tomorrow
(Image credit: press)

‘Art + Design from a private Belgian collection’ is the rather perfunctory name for a heavyweight auction being held by Parisian house Piasa this Wednesday. The extensive collection includes lots from a variety of 20th century design scene heavyweights, including homeware and furniture from the likes of Carl Auböck, Hans J Wegner, Finn Juhl, Pierre Chapo, Zaha Hadid, Fontana Arte, Charlotte Perriand and Le Corbusier (as well as a smattering of photography, artworks and textiles by Francesca Woodman, Andy Warhol, John Baldessari and Märta Måås-Fjetterström, among others)

The selection is, to put it lightly, broad; but a large percentage of the offering comes from Carl Auböck. Auböck – who was born in 1900 in Vienna and died in the city in 1957 – was a titan of Austrian modernism. A student of Johannes Itten at the Bauhaus, he took over his father Karl Heinrich's workshop after his death in 1925, producing a host of designs inspired by his time at the influential German design school.

Set of three baskets

Set of three baskets, 1950

(Image credit: press)

His work – and thus, the auction catalogue – is marked by a predilection for warm wooden, brass and gold tones; his office and kitchen objects imbued with a surreal, playful nature (with occasional, subtle anthropomorphic flourishes, as seen in the dual bottle holders of lot 237). It's charming, faintly whimsical stuff – varied in scope (from bookends to opera spectacles, wine stoppers to lamps, knife sets to louche little sculptures) but all undeniably Auböck.

Estimated prices across the 462 lots span from the low hundreds, to the tens of thousands of Euros in the case of Warhol's 1968 Campbell's soup image. For the midcentury minded – the auction is also running in parallel with another sale of Scandinavian design for those really looking to empty their wallets – there's something for (almost) everyone.

Image of 1950s bookends

A pair of 1950s bookends

(Image credit: press)

Image of Glasses, ice bucket, wine stopper and corkscrew, and coasters

Glasses, ice bucket, wine stopper and corkscrew, and coasters, all created in the 1950s

(Image credit: press)

Left, safety pin, paper clip, glasses, and clipboard and right, Modele 4060

Left, safety pin, paper clip, glasses, and clipboard. Right, Modèle 4060, 1951

(Image credit: press)


The ‘Art + Design from a private Belgian collection’ auction will take place on 22 February at 7pm. For more information, visit the Piasa website


118 rue du Faubourg Saint-honoré
75008 Paris


Tom Howells is a London-based food journalist and editor. He’s written for Vogue, Waitrose Food, the Financial Times, The Fence, World of Interiors, Time Out and The Guardian, among others. His new book, An Opinionated Guide to London Wine, will be published by Hoxton Mini Press later this year.