‘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, 1950
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.