NEW YORK – La Belle Epoque Auction Gallery will hold its much-anticipated debut auction on February 5. This beautifully curated event will feature more than 300 lots of fine art, furniture, decorative accessories and more. Amongst the many highlights are a Byron Browne (American, 1907-1961) modernist abstract painting titled Sunset on the Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts; and six leather and chrome LC2 club chairs by Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand for Cassina. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
The aforementioned Browne work, which is estimated at $8,000-$12,000, dates to 1958, late in the artist’s life. Dominated by warm colors, this accomplished canvas reflects the exuberant, flowing, painterly style Browne had long favored. Examples of Browne’s work are held in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Lots 212-214 are devoted to the six LC2 mid-century club chairs, which will be offered in three pairs, with each pair estimated at $400-$500. In 1928, two famed design geniuses joined forces to create the LC2: Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand. The Italian company Cassina was the beneficiary of their vision. The Le Corbusier/Perriand club chairs offered by La Belle Epoqus, which are approximately 60 years old, remain perennially modern, with lines that could have been invented last week. Even if one has never heard of the LC2, its designers or its manufacturer, their iconic square silhouette is surely familiar. And unlike all too many 20th-century chair designs that look spectacular but can’t quite deliver on the functional aspects of furniture, the LC2 is blessedly comfortable.
Another breathtaking mid-century modern piece on offer is a Herman Miller bookcase designed by Charles and Ray Eames. This example dates to the late 20th century and retains the delightful quality of looking like a Mondrian painting brought to life, ready to accept the weight of one’s library without complaint. The bookcase is estimated at $800-$1,200.
Ably representing the selection of exquisite antiques in the sale is a pair of 19th-century French Empire gilt bronze dore four-light candelabra, estimated at $1,500-$1,800. The candelabra are raised on a single center support that terminates on a tripartite base featuring egg-and-dart moulding above a plinth.
La Belle Epoque Auction Gallery shares kinship, and part of its name, with its owners’ vintage poster dealer and gallery, La Belle Epoque Vintage Posters. The latter remains a separate business and a going concern, but, understandably, the catalog for the debut auction features a wealth of prized vintage posters. These include a circa-1917 example of Howard Chandler Christy’s famous World War I “I Wish I Were a Man, I’d Join the Navy” recruiting poster, estimated at $1,000-$1,500; a beguiling circa-1890s French poster for Bally by Bernard Villemot, estimated at $900-$1,200; and a French poster for Martigny from the same period that showcases a beautifully dressed young woman who totes a parasol. It is estimated at $800-$1,200.
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