Lifestyle

Calling mid-century modern design enthusiasts to Strauss & Co’s Cape Town October Auction

“We are delighted to present 20th and 21st century design and furniture pioneers from around the globe,” says Vanessa Phillips, Managing Director Strauss & Co.

If clean minimalistic lines, Scandinavian design and ground-breaking Dutch furniture sound like your idea of a dream house interior, Strauss & Co’s forthcoming live virtual auction, due to take place on 11 and 12 October, will surely delight you and all other mid-century in Cape Town modern design enthusiasts. The two-day sale will feature an extensive catalogue of collectable pieces assembled by experts from the premier auction house’s decorative arts department.

“We are delighted to present 20th and 21st century design and furniture pioneers from around the globe,” says Vanessa Phillips, Managing Director Strauss & Co.

“This is one of the biggest selections to come to auction in South Africa, and includes the property of a German collector whose primary interest was Art Deco and contemporary furniture,” says Sophie-Louise Fröhlich, auctioneer and Decorative Arts specialist Strauss & Co, who has been working to secure this collection for Strauss & Co for the past two years.

Two of Dutch De Stijl architect Gerrit Rietveld’s model 763 red/blue armchair (estimates R20 000 – R25 000) are stand-out items in the session. This chair, which featured in the book MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art (2019), is seen as one of De Stijl’s most iconic pieces, along with Piet Mondrian’s well-known black, white, red, yellow and blue paintings. The chair may not look like the most comfortable piece of furniture, but Rietveld believed that aesthetic appeal and design should trump physical comfort. A piece of furniture is more than a functional object, it should also contribute towards the well-being and comfort of the viewer’s spirit.

Other design highlights on the auction are Finnish-American architect and industrial designer Eero Saarinen’s black lacquer Tulip chairs (model 151) (set of six) with a Tulip marquina marble-and-black-lacquer table (R45 000 – 55 000). Saarinen’s retro-fabulous creations are regarded as major industrial design classics. The Tulip chair features smooth, clean modernist lines, and is reminiscent of both a delicate tulip and a sophisticated wine glass. It was designed for the Knoll company, an American design firm that employed some of the 20th and 21st century’s most important designers. Influential architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s designs are also showcased, with delightful designs made for the Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow, which is still open for lunch and afternoon tea.

Chairs that have shaped and innovated the course of furniture design are on offer, such as Marcel Breuer’s Wassily chairs (R9 000 – 12 000) and the moulded plywood lounge chair and ottoman (model 670 & 671) designed by Ray and Charles Eames (R25 000 – 30 000). From plywood, tubular steel and moulded plastics, the vast range of technological progress that occurred in these times is evident throughout this session.

The numerous classic design pieces for auction, will accentuate and enhance any interior and is a sure conversation starter among design enthusiasts.

“Education and hospitality are central to the Strauss & Co experience. As the post-vaccine world returns to a more settled rhythm, we are delighted to offer a rich programme of in-person and virtual webinars, lectures and walkabouts in the lead up to our 11 and 12 October live virtual auction. These events aim to provide collectors and the art-interested public with detailed insights into the October sale catalogue” adds Bina Genovese, Managing Director Strauss & Co.

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