• Press release
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  • London
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  • For immediate release
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  • 29 September 2017

PRESS RELEASE: Three Major Design Sales - Christie’s London, 18 October 2017

London – This season, Christie’s London will be presenting a comprehensive selection of 20th Century Design offered in three major auctions on 18 October 2017: DesignHistorical Design and the private collection of world-renowned couturier Wolfgang Joop. The sales will feature some of the most sought after works by British, European and Asian designers, spanning Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau to mid-century Italian and Nordic design, making it the perfect opportunity to explore design at its very best. Additionally, making its inaugural debut in the Design sale are 16 unique creations by contemporary Asian designers. Works on offer will include furniture, lighting, sculpture, ceramics, glass and metalwork by the leading designers of the last 120 years.


The Design sale will showcase works from the second half of the 20th Century and has a truly distinct identity led by a large group of Italian post-war designs comprising works in glass, ceramics and furniture by leading names such as Gio Ponti, Paolo Buffa and Carlo Scarpa.

A key highlight from the sale comes from architect, furniture and industrial designer, Gio Ponti. Arguably the most influential figure in 20th Century Italian Design, Christie’s will be auctioning, a rare set of three modular coffee tables circa, 1945 (estimate: £30,000 - £40,000). The work is an important example of Gio Ponti’s inclination for experimental use of traditional materials and original forms. The tables were designed to allow for different combinations and use, showing the pragmatic yet playful character of Ponti’s designs. A further key Italian highlight is the light sculpture,1960s by Venini (estimate: £40,000 - £60,000, illustrated right), the exceptional work was created by the firm for L’Arc en Ciel in Casteggio, Italy. The complex techniques together with the choice of intensely striking colours, contribute to create a strongly decorative piece.

Nordic designs also feature prominently within the sale, including a set of six ‘Cowhorn’ chairs, model JH-505, designed in 1952 by Hans Wegner (estimate: £30,000 - £50,000) to an ‘Academy’ cabinet designed by Poul Kjarholm in 1955 for the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, (estimate, £30,000 - 35,000).

For the very first time, the Design sale will also showcase innovative pieces by contemporary Asian designers from China, Japan, Vietnam and India, each piece represents a continuous dialogue between the past, the present and the future. These high-quality examples combine a fascination and reverence for traditional techniques and craftsmanship with an innovative contemporary approach.

 Key highlights include: a unique ‘Hexa’ screen, 2017 by Alexandre Chary (estimate: £4,000 - £6,000) and a ‘Jinshi’ coffee table, 2017 by Studio MVW (Estimate: £20,000 - £25,000). Estimates in the Design sale range from £1,200 to £60,000.


 Christie’s will be auctioning the stylish collection of Wolfgang Joop from Villa Wunderkind, the world-renowned couturier’s Potsdam home for the past twenty years. A passionate collector of both fine and decorative arts, his home displayed an avant-garde blend of styles and periods. The sale reflects this eclectic mix and juxtaposes Old Master paintings alongside Post War and Contemporary works, 18th Century European Decorative Arts, interspersed with photographs, and a sizeable group of 20th Century Design by leading designers of the last 100 years, including Jean Prouvé, Le Corbusier and George Jouve

95 lots will be included within the dedicated single owner sale, with key highlights including: a pair of side chairs by master French designer, Alexandre Noll (estimate: £40,000 - £60,000), alongside a gold lacquered commode à abattant, by Jean Dunand, considered the greatest lacquer artist of the Art Deco period (estimate: £70,000 -£100,000) Also, included in the sale is a lacquered wood, gilt and nickel-plated bronze pair of doors circa, 1925 by Emile - Jacques Ruhlmann (estimate £70,000 - £100,000). Estimates in the collection range from £1,000 to £180,000.


The Historical Design sale is a celebration of the major design movements from the late 19th Century and first half of the 20th Century in Britain and Continental Europe, with a key focus on Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

Featured prominently within the sale is a strong selection of Art Nouveau design, spanning furniture, lighting, glass, metalwork and silver by key designers.  Highlights include an exquisite scent flacon circa 1900 (estimate: £50,000 - £80,000) by Eugène Feuillâtre, a leading exponent of Art Nouveau and a pioneering master of enamelling. The design was exhibited at the acclaimed Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900, which presented so many outstanding designers of the epoch.   

Another key figure at the Exposition was Eugène Gaillard, who designed La Maison Art Nouveau for Samuel Bing.  The sale showcases a rare carved walnut and Hungarian ash veneer bedroom suite (a wardrobe, circa 1900, estimate: £12,000 - £18,000).  Also within the sale are two unique carpets, 1904 (estimate: £30,000 – £50,000) by prolific Belgian Art Nouveau designer, Henry van de Velde. These are notable for having the original commission documented, showing that they were ordered for the living rooms of the Schede estate in Hagen, Germany.

 The Arts and Crafts section includes two works by the world-renowned designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh, including a ladderback chair, circa 1916 - 17, (estimate: £8,000 - £12,000).  It was designed for the Northampton based model manufacturer W. J. Bassett-Lowke. Offered with this lot is a copy of a letter regarding its provenance. Two spoons designed by him for his wife, Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, and previously only known from a design drawing in the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow, will open the sale (estimate: £6,000 - £9,000).

There are noteworthy Art Deco sculptures to be offered including a rare group by Demetre Chiparus ‘The Dolly Sister’, circa 1925 (estimate: £100,000 - £150,000) that depicts the celebrated Hungary music hall performers of 1920s and 30s who worked in Paris and the US. Estimates in the sale range from £2,000 to £150,000.


Public viewing for DesignHistorical Design and Villa Wunderkind: Selected Works from the Private Collection of Wolfgang Joop

  • 13 Oct, 9am- 4:30pm
  • 14 Oct, 12pm - 5pm
  • 15 Oct, 12pm - 5pm
  • 16 Oct, 9am - 4:30pm
  • 17 Oct, 9am - 8pm          

Public Auction:

  • Villa Wunderkind: Selected Works from the Private Collection of Wolfgang Joop: 18 Oct, 11am
  • Historical Design: 18 Oct, 1pm
  • Design: 18 Oct, 3pm


  • Christie’s London – 8 King Street – St. James’

About Christie’s

Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had global auction, private and digital sales in 2017 that totalled £5.1 billion / $6.6 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.

Alongside regular sales online, Christie’s has a global presence in 46 countries, with 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.