Art Market Italy: Italian design at auction in France
PARIS – Auction house Piasa celebrates Italian design with two auctions to be held on Oct. 1. The first, at 6 p.m. French time, brings together 195 objects from various sources, all from European collections, with estimates ranging from €500 to €40,000. The overall estimate is €1 million. It is the second auction that the French company has dedicated to Italian design. “The interest in Italian design keeps on growing,” said Cédric Morisset, head of the department. “It is more diverse in styles and materials than the Scandinavian design. More expressive, sometimes,” he added.
The most popular periods are the ’50s and the ’60s, but also the decade of the ’70s. Among the most sought-after names are those of Giò Ponti, Pietro Chiesa, Osvaldo Borsani, BBPR, Ico Parisi and Piero Fornasetti.
Among the highlights of the sale there are a group of furniture designed Ponti for the ocean liner Augustus, which was launched in 1952 and scrapped in the port of Alang in India in 2010-2011. Between 1948 and 1953, Giò Ponti, in fact, designed furniture for several cruise ships. In this case Ponti was involved in the design of furniture for different areas of the first and second class and for the restaurants, all produced by Cassina. An example are the chairs of lots 115-116 (estimate €20,000-€30,000).
Also there will be a selection of pieces from the ’70s by the grand dame of design, Gabriella Crespi. Born in 1922, Gabriella Crespi studied at the Polytechnic of Milan in the ’50s. In the ’60s and ’70s she designed about 1,500 products for clients such as Princess Grace of Monaco, Elizabeth Arden, Günther Sachs and the Shah of Persia. She embodied that “bohemian-chic” spirit of the ’70s that makes her creations so cherished today. Some iconic pieces will be offered by Piasa, including a water lily table (lot 265, estimate €18,000-€25,000), a typical bamboo table with six chairs (lot 263 and 264, both estimated €4,000-€6,000 ), and the famous obelisk lamp (lot 261, €1,800-€2,500).
And then there will be a tribute to Max Ingrand (1908-1969), artistic director of Fontana Arte for 13 years starting in 1954, with a selection of rare glass objects including the chandelier Modèle 2258 (lot 133, estimate €20,000-€30,000).
The second auction of Piasa (at 7 p.m.) is a tribute to Guido and Bruno Gambone, two of the most important Italian potters of the 20th century, whose objects are preserved in many collections in Europe and the United States. On the market they are mostly to be found in Italy. On this occasion, 109 objects are presented with estimates between €500 and €20,000. All have excellent provenance as they come from the estate of the designers themselves. The overall estimate is €250,000.
Guido Gambone (1909-1969) got his start in Vietri sul Mare, in Campania, in the so-called “German period” of ceramics, between the ’20s and World War II. In fact, several German masters used to work in Vietri and were able to mix the local themes and colors with the new European artistic trends, bringing a profound renewal to the production of ceramics. Gambone was influenced by this innovative wind but conducted independent research. After a short stay in Florence in the ’30s, Gambone moved there in 1950. At the time, Italian ceramics enjoyed a period of extraordinary creativity.
In Florence he met the great masters such as Marcello Fantoni, Arnaldo Miniati and Ugo Lucerni, and became himself an international personality..
Among the items on sale at Piasa are some rare large items that have been exhibited at the Triennale in Milan in 1957. Examples are lot 24 (estimate €10,000-€15,000), lot 29 (estimate €12,000-€18,000) and lot 34 (estimate €15,000-20,000).
Bruno Gambone (born in 1936) is the son of Guido. At the age of 14, he was introduced to ceramics and was trained in the studio of his father. After this initial period, between the ’50s and ’60s, he became interested in other areas, such as graphic design, painting, sculpture, theater and set design, gaining experience in Italy and abroad, in particular in New York where, he came into contact with personalities like Rauschenberg, Warhol and Lichtenstein. Back in Italy he met artists such as Castellani, Fontana and Bonalumi. In 1969, after his father died, he inherited his laboratory and so returned to ceramics. His production is expansive, experimental and reflects his experience in painting and sculpture.
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