DALLAS – An Architettura Trumeau bar-cabinet, which has remained for more than half a century in the family of its original owner, will find a new home when it is sold Sept. 30 in Heritage Auctions’ Design Auction. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
The early illuminated Architettura Trumeau bar-cabinet, designed in 1951 and produced in the 1950s by Piero Fornasetti and Gio Ponti, it originally was acquired by New York- and Chicago-based fashion model Molly Goldman, who installed it in her penthouse apartment on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive. When she retired, this extraordinary piece was passed along to Chicago artist and educator Jackie Seiden, who made it a centerpiece in the colorful home she shared with her husband, Don, before recently turning it over to her son, an architect and property developer in London. The bar-cabinet carries an estimate of $50,000-$70,000.
“Piero Fornasetti remains a very important figure in 20th-century design, creating an entire tradition of design and decoration that continues today under the leadership of his son Barnaba Fornasetti,” Heritage Auctions Design Director Brent Lewis said. “This is a really extraordinary example of Fornasetti’s early work, and it is a rare example with provenance as compelling as the piece itself.”
The bar-cabinet effectively serves two functions – it opens up as a secretary that could be used for writing, but the ornate detail on the exterior also allows it to stand alone as a piece of sculpture. The Milanese designer collaborated on the offered lot with Gio Ponti, the Italian architect, designer and artist who built more than 100 structures around the world.
Constructed in the Neoclassical style, the cabinet features trompe l’oeil architectural designs applied via printing throughout. The bureau that makes up the lower section is raised on tapered brass (original) legs, opening to an illuminated writing surface, which is enclosed by twin doors that open to reveal an interior shelved with glass.
The auction also features a circa-1928 suspension lamp by Jean-Michel Frank, a French designer known for his minimalist style. The lamp, which is estimated at $30,000-$50,000 was supplied by interior designer Frances Elkins for Mr. and Mrs. Laurance H. Armour at Two Gables, a Georgian-style mansion in Lake Forest, Illinois, near Chicago. The home was sold in 1913 to Laurance Armour, heir to a meatpacking fortune and his wife, Frances. So taken by the lamp was Elkins that she had a similar one installed in her own office in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf.
Other top lots in the auction include:
A circa-1913 Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene group of six chairs for the drawing room of the Cordelia Culbertson House in Pasadena, California, executed by the Peter Hall Workshop and estimated at $50,000-$70,000.
A Toots Zynsky work, Allontanarsi (to swerve), from 2015, estimated at $30,000-$50,000.
Jon Kuhn’s Heaven Bound, created in 2000 and estimated at $20,000-$36,000.
A George Nakashima pair of Conoid lounge chairs from 1990, estimated at $15,000-$25,000.
A Dale Chihuly five-piece macchia group with seafoam lip wrap, dating to 1984 and estimated at $15,000-$25,000.
A multinecked jar-sculpture created in 1955 by Peter Voulkos, estimated at $10,000-$15,000.
A circa-1954 Hans J. Wegner Papa Bear chair and ottoman, produced by A.P. Stolen and estimated at $10,000-$15,000.
View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/