Private collection of 20th-century design debuts at Freeman’s Hindman Feb. 8

PHILADELPHIA — A private collector in New York spent decades assembling an incredibly strong collection of 20th-century design, with an emphasis on furniture from some of the biggest names in French Art Deco and Modernism. That collection heads to market at Freeman’s Hindman on Thursday, February 8 in a highly focused, 36-lot sale titled The Desire for Perfection: A New York Collection of 20th Century Design. The catalog is now open for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

At the top spot for the sale’s estimates sits this sideboard designed by French furniture designer Jules Leleu (1883-1961). Released in 1960, just a year before his death, the sideboard’s exterior features lacquered wood, mahogany, brass, and gold leaf, while the interior consists of mahogany, five adjustable shelves, and two drawers. It is estimated at $15,000-$25,000.

One of the greats of the Art Deco period was René Prou (1887-1947), though his impact has since faded. Prou designed interiors for passenger ocean liners, the Orient Express Pullman cars, and high-end homes and banks throughout France. The sale includes three examples of his furniture line: a settee, two side chairs, and two armchairs, all clearly from the same period and patterns. The settee is estimated at $8,000-$12,000, while the two sets of chairs have identical estimates of $5,000-$7,000.

The New York collector was also a fan of Maxime Old (1910-1991), a French interior and furniture designer. Old helped lead the transition from Art Deco to modernism by employing bold colors and definitive geometry, as witnessed in the four lots by him in the sale. Old’s 1947 dining room cabinet is a clear transition away from the 1930s towards a bolder, more defined look. It is estimated at $7,000-$9,000.

Jacques Adnet (1900-1984) is considered a titan of French Modernism, who placed emphasis on luxurious design. At the young age of 28, Adnet was named director of La Compagnie des Arts Français (CAF), where he pursued his Modernist designs for decades. This pair of leather and iron armchairs date to 1960 and are indicative of his pared-down focus on functionality with minimal ornamentation. The chairs are estimated at $5,000-$7,000.