Christie's charges a Buyer's premium calculated at 23.205% of the hammer price for each lot with a value up to €110,000. If the hammer price of a lot exceeds €110,000 then the premium for the lot is calculated at 23.205% of the first €110,000 plus 11.9% of any amount in excess of €110,000. Buyer's Premium is calculated on this basis for each lot individually.
The device of the world's most famous furniture manufacturer was 'Biegen oder Brechen' - bend or break. A most appropriate motto for Michael Thonet (1796-1871), founder of the Thonet firm which is until today still run by his ancestors.
In the 1830s Thonet executed his first experiments with bentwood. Although still inspired by Biedermeier style, the construction was new and innovative. In his Prussian workshop in Boppard-am-Rhein Michael Thonet designed the now extremely rare Boppard-möbel (Lot 203).
After Thonet met Prinz Klemens von Metternich in 1841, the company moved fast forward. Thonet moved his company in 1842 to Vienna after receiving a patent, probably after the intervenience of the prince. An assignment for chairs for Café Daum in Vienna in 1851 greatly increased the popularity of his designs. Thonet participated in the prestigious World Exhibition in the Crystal Palace in London in the same year.
Thonet exported its success to many other countries, first in Europe but later also in the United States and in Russia. The first Dutch saleroom opened in Rotterdam in 1867, soon to be moved to the Amsterdam Kalverstraat in 1870. An original sign of a Dutch retailer still witnesses the early days of Thonet in the Netherlands (lot 205).
In the last quarter of the 19th century the curved fluent lines of Thonet furniture predicted the exuberant curvilinear Art Nouveau style.
Thonet embodied several important stylistic movements, including Bauhaus. When in the 1920s and 1930s designers such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer were employed, the company proved its taste for the modern with designs in tubular steel. Great fame reached the chairs without backlegs, in German called 'Freischwinger'. Notably the Dutch designer Mart Stam, also employed by Thonet, invented this concept.
Another way of bending wood was introduced in 1966 by Verner Panton with his S-chair, the first chair to be formed from a single piece of multiplex. (Lots 236-239). The design was rewarded the Rosenthal Studio Preis in the same year.
The designs of the Thonet company are spread allover the world and have been witnesses to important events in human history. Howard Carter for instance sat on a Thonet chair when he examined the newly discovered mummy of Tutanchamon in 1922. Pablo Picasso was portrayed several times while reposing in a Thonet rocking-chair. Charlie Chaplin portrayed modern times while heaping a pile of Thonet chairs on his back in his movie Behind the Screen.
The following lots are sold on behalf of the Museum Thonet in Frankenberg (Lots 201-239).