R. LOUIS BOFFERDING FINE & DECORATIVE ART 232 EAST 59TH STREET NYC 10021 TELEPHONE 212.744.6725 / LOUIS.BOFFERDING@VERIZON.NET
BRAZILIAN SILVER AMULETS
Brazilian, 19th century. A set of 31 amulets consisting of 29 fruits, 1 double gourd, and 1 gourd dipper. Silver, content 70 to 80%. Double gourd 8″, fruits approximately 5“ each, dipper 16″ $8,500
These 19th century Brazilian amulets, known as balangada, were hammered from silver sheets to form sugar apples, guava, pomegranates, and other exotic fruits. Symbols of fertility, they were also the bling of their day, adorning women’s wrists and waists, and, when not being worn, their homes. Made by enslaved African men for their own womenfolk, balanganda represent the final efflorescence of the Benin people’s metalworking skills. Those skills had reached an apogee in the figurative, ancestral bronzes that were then coveted by European kings, as they are today by museum curators. Like the jazz music that would come into being in the United Stares, Brazilian balanganda testify to the endurance and inventiveness of black culture, and the persistence of its creative impulse, under great duress.
As in the past, balangada could still be worn to dramatic effect, but today they may be best suited to their other original purpose, namely, the decoration of the home. Here we show some heaped in a Venini glass bowl, and ornamenting a Christmas tree.
AN ART NOUVEAU CENTERPIECE
Designed by Albert Meyer (1867-1944), made by the Württembergerische Metallwarenfabrik. Flower bowl, circa 1905. Silver plate with a glass liner. H: 4 ½” L: 12″ D: 4 ½” $5,000
This ravishing Art Nouveau silver-plated centerpiece, decorated with butterflies, flowers, and budding tendrils, was designed by the German sculptor Albert Meyer. It retains the original applied patina, the cobalt-blue glass liner, and the stamp of its maker, the Württembergerische Metallwarenfabrik (the Tiffany of Mitteleuropa, you might say). Celebrated internationally, this firm exhibited in all the world’s fairs, and opened stores in Württemberg, Berlin, Vienna, and Warsaw. To capture the Anglo-Saxon market, they published an English-language catalog that featured this centerpiece, and built a six-story showroom, office, and studio in London that was christened Wurtemberg House.
A CLIP WITH A SAINT
Line Vautrin (1913-1997). ‘Sainte Foi’ clip, circa 1950. Enameled gilt bronze. 1 ¾” Sold
In the late 1930s, Line Vautrin launched her career by supplying jewelry to Elsa Schiaparelli. After the war, in addition to her jewelry, she began making small sunburst mirrors, which sell for fortunes today. Having fallen into obscurity by the 1980s, she was rediscovered by Paris artist and tastemaker Pierre Le-Tan, which led to Rei Kawakubo commissioning jewelry for her Comme des Garcons label. Vautrin often incorporated religious imagery in her designs. The figure in this enameled, gilt-bronze clip was based on the medieval, bejewelled gold reliquary of Sainte Foi, which contains her remains in the abbey church at Conques.
A LEAF PIN OF SILVER
American, 20th century. Leaf pin, circa 1970. Silver plated metal. 3 ½” $1,000
This pin may well have been cast from an actual leaf. But the nib at the end of the gently curving stem, by which the pin is affixed, reveals the subtle eye of the unknown craftsman who made it.
PAIR OF GILDED VASES
French or Italian. Pair of small vases, circa 1800. Gilded hammered sheet metal and later turned bases. H: 7 ¾” $1,500
This small pair of decorative, hammered sheet-metal vases was, at some point in the past, attached to weighty bronze bases, gilt to match, to increase their stablity and usefulness
A DRESSING TABLE MIRROR
An English mirror-framed dressing table mirror, or frame, from the 1930s. Etched mirror and black-painted wood. H: 19 ½” W: 14 ½” D: 10″ $1,500
In the 1920s, Edward, the young and handsome Prince of Wales — the future King Edward VIII and then the Duke of Windsor – made a splash on the international social scene. That’s when his device of three plumes became a reigning motif in the decorative arts. This mirror-framed dressing table mirror, which would also serve nicely as a photo frame, is acid-etched with those plumes on the cresting. It dates to the 1930s, the decade of his abdication and his marriage to the glamorous American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson.
HANDSOME PRINCE ALBERT
Baron Carlo Marochetti (1805-1867). Bust of Prince Albert, circa 1850. Chased bronze. H: 14 ½” $8,000
In centuries past, a few lucky artists were ennobled after mastering their craft and achieving renown, but Baron Marochetti was born into the noblility before proving his mettle as a sculptor. After study and apprenticeships in Rome, he moved to Paris where he was honored with the patronage and friendship of King Louis-Philippe. When that king fled to England at the outbreak of the 1848 Revolution, he took his court sculptor with him. There, Queen Victoria noted in her diary that Marochetti was “very agreeable, pleasant and gentlemanlike.” And when the famously laconic monarch pronounced the bust he modeled after Albert, her beloved husband and prince consort, “extremely successful,” he commissioned a marble version as a gift to his wife. Capitalizing on its immediate renown, Marochetti created this signed bronze, which confirmed the sculptor’s mastery and celebrated the sitter’s good looks. It also delights the contemporary eye with its madcap juxtaposition of Victorian facial hair and an ancient Roman off-the-shoulder toga.
AN HISPANIC BEAUTY
Hispanic, late 17th century. Portrait of a Noblewoman, circa 1700. Oil on canvas in a later giltwood frame. 37 “ x 28 ¾” $8,000
The elaborate coiffure, sumptuous dress, pearl collar, and jeweled necklace speak to the sitter’s wealth, as the coat of arms does to her exalted station. At first sight we assumed the painting was Spanish, but after consideration we’ve come to wonder if it might be South American. In that case, the sitter would be have descended from a Spanish or Portuguese family that found itself on another continent. In any case, the painting itself was quite likely from a series of “court beauties,” aristocratic women whose likenesses were painted and hung in galleries that were devoted to their charms. Over the centuries, as fashions changed and fortunes declined, these galleries were dismantled and their beauties sold off. Our painting was originally octagonal in shape, and, at some point in its history, supplemented with corners, and framed as a rectangle.
AN ITALIAN BEAUTY
Giovanni Nicolini (1872-1956). Bust of a Woman, circa 1920. Marble. H: 10 ½” W: 7 ½” D: 9 ½” $9,000
The sculptor Giovanni Nicolini won fame and fortune in the 1910s, and kept two studios in Rome and Palermo humming until his death in the 1950s. He exhibited at the Venice Biennale, and was compared by Primo Levi (no less) to the great Michelangelo (ditto), architect of St. Peter’s in Rome where Nicolini’s over-life-size marble of St. Eufrasia surveys the nave. Nicolini also made his mark in Havana with an enormous monument to General Jose Miguel Gomez. On a smaller scale, he sculpted portraits of the great composers, poets, and statesmen of his day, including Verdi, d’Annuzio, and King Victor Emanuel II of Italy. The identity of our Roman beauty – signed “G. Nicolini Roma” – is a mystery.
EUGENE BERMAN COLLAGE
Eugene Berman (1899-1972). Radiograph of a Heart, 1945. Paint on paper, collage, metal shavings. H: W: D: $9,000
This haunting image by Eugene Berman was painted on a sheet of paper cut in the shape of a heart, mounted to a paint-speckled ground, encircled with metal shavings, and placed in a frame of the artist’s own devising. The title, Radiograph of a Heart, refers to the medical X-rays that doctors were then coming to rely on, yet Berman seems to be making the point that if a heart can be scientifically monitored, the emotions associated with it lie beyond medical science.
Russian by birth, Berman fled St. Petersburg during the Revolution and settled in Paris. Later, as a Jew, he fled the Nazi advance and took refuge in Hollywood. His peace of mind, however, was shattered by the suicide of his wife, actress Una Munson (who played Belle Watling in Gone With the Wind). That distressing event — “Don’t follow me” she admonished in her suicide note — cast him adrift once again. Finally, he came to rest in Rome where he would pass the years that remained to him.
Along with his brother Leonid, Pavel Tchelitchew, and Christian Bérard, Berman was a Neo-Romantic painter. The works of this school were avidly acquired in the 1930s and ’40s by, among others, Alfred Barr, founding director of the Museum of Modern Art. Since then they have fallen out of favor. Should fashion reverse itself yet again, perhaps these paintings will emerge from storage, and resume their places on those hollowed walls.
UPDATING THE 18TH CENTURY
A Louis XVI trumeau mirror with a trophy of musical instruments, circa 1780. Oak and mirror plate. 81″ high, 36“ wide. $15,000.
“Don’t forget, there were people with good taste in the 18th century, too,” said Eugenia Errázuriz to Jean-Michel Frank sometime around 1930. Coming from an avant-garde tastemaker like her, the remark might have surprised the French designer of modern furniture and interiors, who was then just coming into his own. After all, she was an intimate of Picasso, a patron of Stravinsky, a backer of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe, and, on the cusp of seventy, a client of Coco Chanel’s still.
Fashionable Parisians were enthralled by the minimally-furnished Errázuriz house, where, following her dictum that “elegance is elimination,” she hung only one of her Picassos on the chalk-white walls of the salon. But if they looked closely, as Frank undoubtedly did, they noticed among the modern furniture and Giacometti lamps that Frank supplied, some fine Louis XVI antiques (see below left).
With her words ringing in his ears, and her 18th-century furniture before his very eyes, Frank set about designing the Louis XVI-style pieces that would round out his furniture line. His versions, however, were no mere copies, for he made the tried and true look decidedly new by eliminating superfluous ornament, emphasizing line and proportion, and substituting humble oak for fancy giltwood and mahogany veneer.
Meanwhile, across the English Channel, the decorator Syrie Maugham achieved a similar look by trawling the countryside for painted and gilded antiques on the cheap, that she’d send to refinishers for stripping. A sacrilege to be sure, but the abstract, modern-looking results became so fashionable that soon the only antiques that weren’t in danger of being stripped were those that were safely lodged in museums.
Fast forward to the present, and our acquisition of this handsome Louis XVI trumeau mirror that had been stripped to the oak decades ago. We decided not to repaint and regild it, since this would have erased a chapter of its history, as well as the history of taste. Besides, as Errázuriz and Frank knew well, line and proportion trump surface decoration every time.
Those qualities, and the trophy of musical instruments – flute, horn, tambourine, triangle, violin — are what make our mirror sing. When carved in the 18th-century, this trophy was recognized as an allegory of music, just as the branch of laurel was associated with the god of music, Apollo, who wore a wreath of it in his hair.
The charm of trophies representing the arts, the seasons, and the sciences, have lost none of their appeal since the reign of Louis XVI. In the 1970s San Francisco designer John Dickinson [see CASE FURNITURE and LAMPS] created his own trophy of agriculture from a group of actual farm implements painted white, and arranged on a wall in his own home. Thus did Dickinson, like Frank and Maugham half a century earlier, make the 18th-century look new yet again.
GEORGE III SILVER LUSTERWARE VASE
English, circa 1800. Painted and silver lusterware porcelain. H: 14 ½” $5,000
This elegant vase of attenuated proportions was given an unusual silver-luster glaze, and embellished with two medallions on a military theme. One depicts a young soldier with a sword and a statuette of Athena, goddess of war, and the other an older, bearded and helmeted warrior visiting a shrine. There’s no maker’s mark, but the classical proportions, Wedgwood-blue color, and antique-inspired medallions suggest English manufacture, circa 1800, and align the vase with the refined taste of Robert Adam.
AMERICAN VICTORIAN BIRDHOUSE
Miller Iron Company, Providence, RI. Birdhouse, 1868. Painted cast iron. Stamped: “Miller Iron Co. / Prov. R.I. / Pat,d April 14 / 1868”. H: 11” L: 10 ½” D: 14 ½” $6,000
This charming, 19th-century Victorian birdhouse was modeled on the Neo-Gothic mansions that were then being built, and inhabited, by potential birdhouse buyers. Cast in iron, dated 1868, and marked with the name of its Rhode Island maker, this birdhouse retains its original, and pleasingly distressed painted finish. An identical one was shown in the Houston Museum of Fine Arts’ exhibition ‘The Gothic Revival Style in America, 1830 to 1870,’ and published in the catalog.
IBERIAN MIRROR WITH FLOWERING TENDRILS
Mirror, possibly Bilbao, circa 1800. Walnut veneer, gilded and gessoed wood, original mirror plate. H: 34 ¼” W: 15” $9,000
The so-called Bilbao mirrors were made around 1800 in Portugal and Spain, and named after the city where many were crafted. On our shores they’re often mistakenly said to be American, for the simple reason that examples were found in old New England houses. Nevertheless, these mirrors were made on the Iberian peninsula, and dispatched to the republic on swift clipper ships. Only then did they come to take their places on the walls of the Early American home.
ART DECO CHINOISERIE CHAIRS
Pair of Chinese-style hall chairs, circa 1925. Lacquered wood, carved and gilt decorations. H: 37” D: 19” W: 17 ¾” $8,000
When new in the 1920s, this glamorous pair of chairs that graft Asian and Art Deco styles evoked the orient for occidental buyers. Although the construction suggests Western manufacture, the carved and gilded medallions look like the handiwork of Asian artisans, who were then working in Paris, London, and New York for retailers, dealers, and importers like C. T. Loo and Yamanaka.
RUSSIAN MAHOGANY TABLE
Russian, circa 1840. Tray table with a drawer. Mahogany, brass stringing and wheels. H: 26” L: 18 ¼” D: 11 ¾” $9,000
Every contour and plane of this exquisite mahogany table is outlined with glinting brass stringing — a hallmark of Russian cabinetry. The form, however, is derived from the furniture that was then being made in France under King Louis-Philippe. At the time, Russians were besotted with all things French, in spite of the recent war with Napoleon, which had left Moscow in cinders.
VICTORIAN GLASS LAMP
Attributed to F. & C. Osler (Birmingham, England). Oil lamp, now electrified, circa 1860. Cut lead crystal, gilt brass. H: 38 1/2“ (as shown, shade adjustable) Sold
In the 19th-century, the Birmingham firm of F. & C. Osler was celebrated for their line of innovative glass products. They exhibited in all of the great world’s fairs, where their stylish wares caught the eyes of English lords and Indian maharajas. This large, spectacular lamp is made entirely of glass mounted in gilded metal.
MODERNIST GLASS LAMP
Attributed to Jacques Adnet (1901-1984). Adjustable floor lamp, circa 1935. Glass, mirror, chrome-plated fittings, painted wood. Maximum height 70″. Provenance: Doris Duke, Duke Farms, Hillsborough, New Jersey. $8,000
This floor lamp may have been designed by Jacques Adnet — see the similar model below — when he was the artistic director of the Companie des Arts Français in Paris. Then again, it may have been designed under his influence by the New York decorating firm of McMillen. In either case, it was owned by the heiress, socialite, philanthropist, hortology patron, and noted art collector Doris Duke. The lamp came from Duke Farms, her vast McMillen-decorated New Jersey estate, and was presumably placed in the black-painted, modernist bar room there that was adjacent to an indoor swimming pool.
Figli Zunino & Rivarola, Chiavari, Italy. Pair of chiavari chairs, circa 1950. Painted wood with gold decorations, caning. H: 37 ¼” W: 16” D: 16” $7,000
The delicate, lightweight chiavari chair was first made in the Italian town of Chiavari in the early years of the 19th century. Their elegance and grace would come to charm mid-century modernists, including the influential architect and designer Gio Ponti. As he was the first to admit, they inspired his Superleggera chair, one of his most iconic designs.
These silken, mohair rugs have been made for centuries by the nomadic peoples of Anatolia, and are still being made today by their descendants in what is now Turkey. They were laid on the earth as rugs in tents, worn as cloaks, and used as blankets when sleeping. In the winter the soft mohair tufting was kept against the body for warmth, and in the summer they were reversed to the cooler, mat side.
Purple and black ”filikli tulu” rug. Mohair, wool backing. Approximately 92″ x 60” $7,000
Green “filikli ulu” rug. Mohair, wool backing. Approximately 87″ x 64”. $6,000
Red “filikli tulu” rug. Mohair, wool backing. Approximately 83″ x 57”. $5,000
Violet “filikli tulu” rug. Mohair, wool backing. Approximately 54” x 41” $3,000
Jean-Boris Lacroix (1902 – 1984). Table lamp, circa 1930. Nickel, ebonized wood, and acid-etched glass. Height 14 “ $15,000
Jean-Boris Lacroix’s name is an amalgam of those of his unmarried parents, Jeanne Lacroix, a fetching parisienne, and Boris Vladimirovich Romanov, a Russian Grand Duke. In the 1920s young Boris [below right] went to work for Madeleine Vionnet designing jewelry, handbags, and dresses, before going on to redesign her fashion house [below left], and then her three residences. In 1938, the year she closed the business, he went to work for her rival Jeanne Lanvin when her decorator, Art Deco master Armand Rateau, died prematurely. Unlike him, Lacroix was a Modernist. Then as now, he was celebrated for his lighting fixtures. This lamp consists of a metal circle, a wood sphere, and a glass cylinder to take the place of a traditional lampshade, which would have undercut the rigorous geometry, and contradicted Lacroix’s dictum, “furniture should just occupy the space which is needed, and preferably no more.”
Italian flowering urn, possibly Genoese, circa 1720. Gilt cut metal, gessoed and silvered wood. Height 24” $10,000
This flowering urn of gold flowers in a silver vase was probably made in Genoa in the early 18th century. If the flowers are are lilies, symbol of the Immaculate Conception, and carnations, symbol of the Virgin’s love for her Son, it may have been made for the altar of a church [see below]. But if those lilies are actually tulips, which don’t symbolize much of anything, it may have been made as a decoration for a grand private house. Flowering urns on altars, it should be noted, were typically one-sided, since they were seen frontally, whereas this one was sculpted in the round. Whether destined for a sacred or secular setting, the sophistication of form, fine workmanship, and costly gilding, point to a prominent studio and a patron of note.
A SHAPE-SHIFTING TABLE
French gate-leg table, circa 1650. Oak with metal fittings. Height 28 ¼“ Width 54“ Depth 20 ½“ / 41 ½“/ 62“ $20,000
This French Baroque, solid-oak table has two pivoting legs to prop up hinged leaves. When left hanging the table’s a compact rectangle, with one raised it’s a half circle, and with both raised it’s an oval seating six. Between meals, with cutlery stashed in two long narrow drawers, it does triple duty as a desk and a display table. Its versatility suits the small Manhattan apartment, and when fully extended, and heaped with books and objects, it makes the grand statement in a Hamptons manse.
CAFÉ SOCIETY CHAIRS
Pair of American chairs, 1930s. Mahogany, brass, leather studded with nail heads. H: 38 ½“ W: 21 ½” $12,500
In the 1930s gossip columnists christened the sophisticates who frequented swank restaurants and nightclubs, and lent their presence to opening nights, “Café Society.” When it came to furnishing they favored streamlined classic styles over genuine antiques, and hard-edged modernism. This pair of over-scaled chairs were said to have been designed by Chicago architect and interior designer Sam Marx, but they were probably made by William Quigley, whose workshop and showroom [below left] supplied Marx with furniture. The sweeping lines of the back and seat, the white leather upholstery, and the fluted mahogany legs, are a sleek riff on the George III style. And those brass-rope handles, which permit the chairs to be dragged hither and yon, would have come in handy at the cocktail hour on the servant’s night off.
Hispanic jug. Copper-luster-glazed earthenware. Height 10 ½“ $3,000
The origin of this jug, with its sculptural form and copper-luster glaze, is a mystery to us. Its form is typical of Renaissance and Baroque metalwork [below left], as the copper glaze is of Hispano-Moresque ceramics made in Spain [below right]. But it might have been made in Latin or South America by an artisan inspired by those wares — or, for that matter, in Spain or the Hispanic New World around 1900, when vernacular traditions were revived. In any case, the monumental form and gutsy decoration endow our jug with a boldness that bears witness to an unknown craftsman’s mastery.
AN ALLEGORY OF SUMMER
Overdoor painting of an allegory of summer, French circa 1800. Oil on canvas, unframed. Height: 33“ Length: 72“ $15,000
This Neo-Classical painting, an allegory of summer, would have been hung with representations of fall, winter, and spring, over the doors of a salon [below left]. Here, Ceres, Roman goddess of agriculture, points to her handmaidens harvesting wheat, and wears a few springs of it in her hair. A child toys with succulent fruits in a basket. The harvest, a child, and fruit, symbolize fertility and, by extension, summer itself. Our panel was painted to imitate a bas-relief carved in stone, with shadows cast upward to conform with light emanating from windows and candles below. Trompe l’oeil panels were in vogue, but not invented, in late 18th century France when Belgian-born artist Piot-Joseph Sauvage, who specialized in them, was appointed Peintre du Roi.
Set of six American 1930s sconces. Chromed metal, and acid-etched glass beads. Height: 9” Width 10 ½” Depth 6” Sold
In the 1930s, the fanciful geometry of the 1920s Art Deco style softened to a Streamline Moderne sleekness. Then, industrial designers relied on wind tunnels to study drag on airplane, car, train, and ship models — it would seem that furniture designers did too, judging from the aerodynamic contours of their stationary furnishings. This set of six streamlined sconces have chromed back plates to amplify light, and ropes of acid-etched pearls to diffuse it. The effect would have flattered the platinum goddesses of that age, as it will the more casually-dressed ones of our own.
MONA VON BISMARCK: “THE BEST DRESSED WOMAN IN THE WORLD”
George Platt Lynes (1907-1955). Mrs. Harrison Willams, later Countess Mona von Bismarck, circa 1940. Photograph. 10″ x 8 1/4″ unframed. $4,000
Mrs. Harrison Williams, known universally as Mona, was the beautiful wife of the first billionaire, and the world’s richest man. In 1933 she set her own record when a panel of experts, which included Coco Chanel, voted her “Best Dressed Woman in the World” — the first American to be so honored. Mona also smashed records for the accumulation of luxury goods, and the speed of her social ascent (the daughter of a Kentucky stableman, she would go on to marry Count Edzard von Bismarck, among others). All this took some effort, and left little time for reflection. Our 1940s photograph by George Platt Lynes [below left] captures her hard glamor, and hints at a lack of substance, by juxtaposing her perfectly coiffed head with a fluffy dog, a perforated-paper backdrop, and the carved openwork back of a settee. We lent this vintage print, the only one known, to the exhibition Magnificent Mona Bismarck at the Frazier Museum in Louisville [below right]. No catalog was published, but Scott Rogers, the curator, is writing a book on her life, and that fugitive thing known as style. Hers, however, continues to enthrall the fashion world to this very day.
AN UNUSUAL LAMP
Double-shaded French lamp, circa 1850. Bronze, and textured-paint on sheet metal. Height: 20 ½” $3,000
This French lamp was probably made in the late 1840s, during the reign of King Louis-Philippe. Its pair of textured, black-painted shades are unusual. They were mounted to a base of finely worked and turned patinated bronze, which was spot-burnished to bring out gold highlights. Originally candle powered, has since been delicately drilled for electrical wiring.
ASTEUBEN GLASS STAR CANDLEHOLDER
Walter Dorwin Teague (1883-1960) for Steuben. Candlestick, 1933. Cast glass, silvered-cast glass, and chromed-metal fittings. Reproduced in an article on table settings, Harper’s Bazaar 1933. Height 2 1/2″. $1,250
Baguès Frerès, Paris. Pair of table lamps, circa 1935. Silvered metal, cut and cast glass, glass beads and prisms. H: 24″ $10,000
During the first half of the 20th century, Baguès of Paris produced the world’s most fashionable lighting fixtures. Their major commissions ranged from 18th-century-style chandeliers laden with prisms for a restoration of the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, to the glass-beaded Art Deco chandeliers of the Palais de la Méditerranée in Nice, the pleasure dome built by American tycoon Frank J. Gould. Like much of the work of Baguès, our madcap tendril-sprouting urn-form lamps can be situated, designed wise, between Louis-Louis gentility and Art Deco flash.
Tiffany (signed with acid mark). Obelisk, 1970s. Cut glass. H: 14″ $2,500
Baguès Frerès, Paris. Pair of candlesticks, 1950. Rock-crystal and gilt bronze. Reproduced in Plaisir de France, 1950. H: 13 1/2″ $18,000
This spectacular pair of rock-crystal-and-ormolu candlesticks was made by Baguès, reproduced in a French design magazine, and retailed by Bonzano, a stylish purveyor of luxury goods in Paris.
AN UNUSUAL CANDLESTICK
English candlestick, circa 1800. Blown and cast glass with a blue-and-white interior spiral. H: 13 1/2″. Provenance: Baron Max Fould-Springer, Palais Abbatiale de Royaumont. $3,750
A GERMAN MIRROR
Northern European, probably German. Mirror, circa 1710. Mirror plate, with walnut and pine backing. H: 24″ W: 15 1/2″ $5,000
Napoleone Martinuzzi (1892-1977) for Venini. Bowl, late 1920s. Glass with gold leaf. H: 7 ½” Dia: 15″ $3,750
Venini (bears adhesive label). Paperweight. Clear glass with purple and orange internal spirals. H: 4″. $2,000
PAIR OF LOUIS-PHILIPPE ARMCHAIRS
French, 19th century. A Pair of Louis-Philippe armchairs, 1840s. Rosewood, upholstered. H: 37″ Provenance: KK Auchincloss. $15,000
In the 1940s KK Hannon, a Boston-born socialite in the making, moved to Manhattan, launched a clothing line, designed jewelry for Tiffany, and said yes to a marriage proposal from “Shipwreck” Kelly, the legendary football hero — and then yes again to Peter Larkin, an heir to the 825,000 acre King Ranch in Texas. She would come to say yes twice more before she breathed her last as Mrs. James D. Auchincloss at age 89. Over the span of those years she had come to call Manhattan, the North Shore of Long Island, Dark Harbor, Hobe Sound, London (the Albany), and Paris (the Place des Etats Unis), home. Among her stateside possessions was this superbly carved pair of Louis-Philippe rosewood armchairs, now upholstered in grey felt.
THE DIVA AS MUSE
Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947). Bookplate for Misia Sert, circa 1920. Etching on laid paper. 4 3/8″ x 2 6/8″, the giltwood frame 12″ x 9 1/4″. $4,000
The very definition of haute bohème, Misia Sert, a musical prodigy who once played the piano on Franz List’s knee, married, successively, an art publisher, a newspaper baron, and the high-society painter José-Maria Sert. A raving beauty when young, and the apogee of chic to the bitter end, she was also a divining rod for talent. With her affinity for the modern, she inspired Renoir [see his portrait of her below], Mallarmé, Cocteau, Satie, Stravinsky, Diaghilev, and Coco Chanel, whom she introduced to opium and, it was rumored, sapphism.
As one might expect of a muse to artists, designers, and the intelligentsia, she had a library, which, in that genteel day, meant having a bookplate. And so Pierre Bonnard, who had painted her often, etched ex-libris for her. It depicts a potted flowering plant on the dining table, set for just one, in her country house. The use of a first name only suggests their intimacy, and in a world where there was only one Misia, her celebrity. Bonnard created just one other bookplate. It was for Charles Terrasse, a friend and an expert on his work, who wrote the introduction to the catalog raisonne of his prints. There, an etched study for our bookplate appears [below right]. It shows the artist experimenting with various motifs, which includes the plant that made the final cut. Our bookplate, however, doesn’t appear. Apparently, Terrasse never came across an impression, which indicates its rarity.
ROBERT BLOCK / ROBERTO BLOCK
Robert Block (born Switzerland). Table, circa 1945. Painted steel, brass, marble. H: 26 1/2″ Dia: 31 1/4″ $15,000
The designer Robert Block achieved considerable success as a designer in 1930s Paris. But the outbreak of war left him, as a Jew, facing a fate worse than career disruption. And so, along with his brother Mita, he high-tailed it settled in Mexico, where, in Mexico City he achieved success again as Roberto Block. Until recently, Latin and South American designers didn’t figure prominently on the cultural map, but now they’re the focus of curators and collectors worldwide. And so Block’s work is ripe for a rediscovery. Our table is a inventive riff on the traditional French guéridon, and a nostalgic, over-the-shoulder gaze at the land of his birth.
LACQUERED OBI STAND
A rare Japanese 19th-century rack on which to hang obi, the sash that binds the waist of a robe. Exceptionally fine gold decorations on a black-lacquered ground, with brass fittings. 24″ x 22 1/4″ x 10″. $4,000
LACQUERED OFFERING TABLE
A 19th-century Japanese miniature offering table from the Meiji period. Carved, gilded, with speckles of gold on a brown lacquer ground, and fully gilded underneath, with brass mounts. Height 5 1/2″, length 10″, depth 8 1/2″. $3,750
LACQUERED VIETNAMESE RICE BOWL
A Vietnamese gold-decorated, red-lacquered carrying bowl, circa 1900. 15″ x 15″. $800
SET OF EIGHT LAJOS KOZMA DINING CHAIRS
In 1909 Lajos Kozma (1884-1948) left Hungary for Paris, like many aspiring artists, designers, and architects from around the globe. Kozma landed an apprenticeship under the great Henri Matisse — yet, surprisingly, neither his art nor the milieu influenced Kozma in the least. Rather, on returning to Budapest the following year, he worked in a style inspired by the Vienna Sessession and Hungarian folk art. Still young and impressionable, his next inspiration was the local iteration of the Baroque. By 1930 he moved on to Modernism, designing tubular furniture and glass-walled villas. At the outbreak of World War II, Kozma, a Jew, had much to fear, yet he stayed put, survived, and came to prosper again when peace returned. Our eight walnut dining chairs date to his middle, Neo-Baroque period. They can be compared to a nearly identical 1925 chair in the Budapest Museum of Applied Art, and a 1923 small commode in the Wolfsonian in Miami, which is close in spirit. Back height 38″. Sold
A complete set of twelve Stoviglia (“Crockery”) plates by Piero Fornasetti (1913-1988), all marked, numbered, and dated 1955. Gilded and transfer printed on porcelain, each plate 10 1/4″ diameter. $15,000
Fornasetti “nugget” paperweight, circa 1960, of gilt and transfer-printed porcelain. Length 4″. $1, 250
20TH CENTURY BERLIN BLANC DE CHINE
Two large porcelain sculptures of a Nereid and Triton, and a Nereid on a hippocamp, modeled by Paul Scheurich (1883-1945) for KPM, produced in 1941 as table decorations, and bearing their mark. Their heights are 20″ and 16″ respectively. $12,500
KPM porcelain wall bracket, attributed to Alexander Kips (1858-1910), circa 1900. Height 13″. $3,750
A circa 1900 KPM porcelain vase, attributed to Alexander Kips, modeled in a style that blends Art Nouveau with Rococo. Height 19 1/2″. $3,750
FLORAL DUMMY BOARD
A large 19th-century European trompe l’oeil dummy board of a stone urn filled with flowers. Oil on panel, 41″ x 42″. $5,500
English Regency library steps, with a secret compartment, circa 1810. Mahogany, gold-tooled leather. Height: 26 1/2″ Width: 31″ Depth: 18 1/2″. $7,000
FRENCH EMPIRE NIGHTSTANDS
Two French Empire nightstands, both circa 1810. Mahogany, marble, bronze. Circular table: Height: 31 1/2″ Diameter: 17″. Square table: Height: 29 1/2″ Width & Depth: 15″. $10,000
OPALINE GLASS VASES
A lovely pair of Louis-Philippe urns of mat-finished opaline glass, with gilt- and red-painted decorations, circa 1840. Height 14″. $1,250
ELSA SCHIAPARELLI’S ARMCHAIR
Louis XV armchair, circa 1760. Painted wood, upholstered in “shocking pink” silk satin. Provenance: Elsa Schiaparelli, Paris; Pierre Le-Tan, Paris. Height 36″ Sold
Louis XV sofa, circa 1760. Walnut, silk-satin upholstery. Height 43 1/4″ length 73 1/4″ depth 33″ $20,000
A LEVITATING NUDE
French 18th-century sculpture of a female nude, circa 1760, on a modern bronze base. Gilt, gesso, wood. Height 18″ (with stand), lenght 27″, depth 9″ $20,000
JEAN HUGO WATERCOLOR
Small painting by Jean Hugo, signed and dated 1927. Gouache on paper, matted, and in its original oak frame that’s 10 3/4″ x 11 1/2″ $10,000
A JOHN BRADSTREET LOTUS
Japanese sculpture of a lotus, circa 1900, retailed by John Bradstreet, Minneapolis. Bronze. H: 9″ Dia: 14″ Provenance: Governor John S. Pillsbury. $5,000
Alessandro Albrizzi rug, 1960s. Wool. 15′ 4″ x 10′ 6″. Provenance: Alessandro Albrizzi, his London shop (as seen below), and then his New York apartment. $20,000
Large American Art Deco table, attributed to Eugene Schoen, of macassar-veneered mahogany, black glass top. Height 30 1/4″, lenght 79 3/4″, depth 40 1/4″ $20,000
JASPER MORRISON TABLES
Jasper Morrison 1988 table with adjustable top, not from the later production (see original invoice below), that was made from industrial parts. Glass, steel, paint, rubber. Height ranges from 23″ to 43 1/2″, diameter 20 1/2″. $6,000
Pair of Jasper Morrison side tables from 1988, prototypes (see invoice above), not from later production, of welded steel and sand-blasted glass. Height 26″, diameter 13″, distance between struts 17″. Sold
English drum table (Royal Dublin Fusiliers), circa 1900,of painted brass, wood, iron, and modern glass. Height 15″, diameter 14 1/2″. $4,000
Pair of American circa 1940 pedestals, attributed to McMillen. Walnut, marble, bronze. H: 40″ Dia: 20″ Provenance: Mr. & Mrs. Nicholas Salgo. $12,000
TROMPE L’OEIL WATERCOLOR
French trompe l’oeil drawing, circa 1800, in walnut period frame. Paint, silver pigment on paper. 11 3/4″ x 17 1/4″ sight; 18″ x 23 1/4″ framed. $5,500
Ruby-glass lamp, American circa 1890, now electrified. Glass and brass. Height 24″ including shade. $3,750
AN IMPORTANT PAIR OF JEAN PERZEL TORCHERES
Pair of Jean Perzel standing lamps from the 1930s of brass and sand-blasted glass. Height 67″, diameter 22″. $30,000
JEAN-PIERRE HAGANAUER DECK CHAIR
Adjustable mahogany and brass deck chair by Jean-Pierre Hagnauer, French circa 1950. H: 43″ L: 36 W: 24 ½”. $15,000
Portrait of Emperor Meiji, his consort, and son, by Toyohara Chikanobu (1838-1912), 1887. Color woodblock triptych in silk-wrapped mat and giltwood frame. Image 14″ x 18 1/2″, framed 19 1/2″ x 33 1/2″. $8,000
Japanese female courtiers by Toyohara Chikanobu (1838 – 1912), from the 1890s. Color woodblock diptych, in a silk-wrapped mat and a giltwood frame. Image 14″ x 18 1/2″ image, framed 19 1/4″ x 24″. $5,000
Justen Ladda 2012 painting of an AMG Mercedez-Benz engine, executed by ink jet on metal-leafed wood, with epoxy resin. Diameter 11″. $4,000
R. LOUIS BOFFERDING FINE & DECORATIVE ART 232 EAST 59TH STREET NYC 10021 TELEPHONE 212.744.6725 / LOUIS.BOFFERDING@VERIZON.NET