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Ettore Sottsass (b. 1917)
Ettore Sottsass (b. 1917)

Golden Eye table

Ettore Sottsass (b. 1917)
Golden Eye table
polychromed and turned wood and marble
Height: 31.1/8in. (79cm.)
Width: 76¾in. (194.9cm.)
Depth: 33½in. (85.1cm.)
Executed in 1984 in India. Only two examples of this table were fabricated.
Private collection, Italy (acquired directly from the artist)
X. Mariscal and E. Sottsass, La Darrera oportunitat d'ésser avantguarda, Santa Monica 1983, p. 39 (related drawing illustrated)
New York, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Golden Eye: An International Tribute to the Artisans of India, November 1985-February 1986 (illustratated; another example exhibited)

Lot Essay

Ettore Sottsass has always taken a keen interest in ancient cultures and a trip to India in 1961 proved to have a profound effect on his life and career as a designer. In India he found confirmation of what he had always suspected--that the world is perceived more through the senses than through the mind. Recognizing that there is an underlying synthesis of spirituality and sensuality in the Indian culture, he sought to incorporate a similar unity in his own designs. Inspired by the Indian craftsmen's deeply rooted awareness and respect for objects, Sottsass produced furniture that expressed both function and meaning.

In the first half of the 1980s, many of Sottsass' creative activities were intimately connected to these Indian sensibilities. Asked (along with ten other Western designers) to participate in the highly acclaimed exhibition "Golden Eye: An International Tribute to the Artisans of India" displayed at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, November 5, 1985-February 23, 1986, Sottsass was given the unique opportunity to collaborate with Indian craftsmen. The show featured works conceived by internationally known designers and crafted by Indians and brought into focus the artistry and skill of traditional craftspersons of India, adapting old, time-tested techniques to new uses. Sottsass saw the possibility of combining elements of objects made by regional artisans. Using stone, metal, and wood he created designs for vessels and furniture, including the table featured in this lot. The marble top, made in Agra, in northern India, was combined with multi-colored turned wooden legs made in Bangalore, in the south. The vibrant colors and bold shapes of the legs indicate and optimism about contemporary life and reflect qualities inherent in majestic Indian architecture.

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