Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rateau Deja Vu at Christie's

Well the important 20th century design sales at Sotheby's and Christie's have yet to be released but I caught wind of an old friend that will be back on the block. The tag line for this blog is not "the incestuous world of design" for nothing... but I digress. If you watch the market long enough you see things emerge, disappear and crop-up in the most unlikely of places. Anyway, the rather monumental Armand-Albert Rateau screen that I posted about in May of 2010 is back on the block in Christie's December design sale. As you may recall it passed at Sotheby's when offered in June of 2010 at the staggering estimate of $400,000-600,000 which I admittedly thought was a bit steep even for this coveted artist. The reality is that the screen is extremely site specific, rather narrow and soaring to over twelve feet. When I viewed it in person its seemed that it must have been designed to fit into a niche or block a window or doorway.
It has cooled its heels for the past 18 months and is out for another try, this time more realistically priced at $150,000-200,000. Like Sotheby's, Christie's was unable to determine its history which is always a sad situation with a piece of this quality, but at this revised price it will likely sell. Rumor also has it that Christie's also has Jean Dunand panelling from the breakfast room of the fabled Templeton Crocker penthouse in San Francisco... More to come I am sure--AR

Update: Well "love is lovelier the second time around" indeed. This time it sold, achieving $158,000. I am sure we will see this piece again...its awfully hard to miss.

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