Buyers see the light at mid-century sale

French signature lights, furniture and art snapped up at Adams

 

Tuesday saw Adams hold its first ever mid-century sale at its St Stephen’s Green premises, to an audience of both Irish and international bidders. The room filled up quickly and over the course of the evening 80 per cent of lots sold, with online bidders from Italy, Denmark, France and the United States vying for the signature 20th-century pieces on offer. For some attendees, it was their first ever auction – sitting nervously amongst more seasoned bidders.

The highlight of the show was a series of sculptural light fittings by French artist and decorator Max Ingrand. His Micro and Le Cozze wall sconces (Lots 47 and 48) sold for €3,000 and €3,500 respectively – their estimates were €3,000- €5,000. The Model 2127 ceiling light in nickel-plated brass and glass (Lot 46) opened bidding at €6,000, and was withdrawn at €8,500, not having reached its reserve – but is currently being sought by an American client, according to Nicholas Gore Grimes of Adams, who curated the sale.

A similar light fitting – Ingrand’s Plafonnier from 1985, was sold by Christie’s for a whopping £51,900 in 2014.

“One of the most important factors which has a significant impact on astronomical prices is provenance” says Gore Grimes. “For example, when you look at the prices achieved in the David Bowie collection – buyers paid 10 times the value of the pieces due to the fact they were owned by Bowie.”

Gio Ponti, the Italian architect and designer considered to be the most important figure in Italian 20th-century modernism, also featured on the night, with two sets of armchairs. The Model 516 – produced by Cassina, (Lots 25 and 26) attained €4,800 and €3,600 (estimates €5,000-€7000) with frantic bidding from international online buyers. How well they may, as the same model sold for £11,250 in the UK in 2014.

Most surprising were a pair of particularly beautiful Ico Parisi wooden valet stands with brass details (Lot 43). They sold for €3,200 – well over their estimate of €1,000-€1,500, as did the Italian sideboard attributed to Paolo Buffa (Lot 76) which attained €3,400, the estimate was €1,500-€2,500.

The bargain of the evening was a set of three Felim Egan lithographs (Lot 62) snapped up for €300 – a price which would barely cover the cost of the frames.

An untitled oil on canvas (Lot 24) by Callum Innes – the Turner Prize nominee and winner of the Jerwood Painting Prize – sold for €20,000, reaching its upper estimate. Also in the art section, Guggi’s Vessels (Lot 32) sold for well over the estimate of €4,000-€6,000, going under the hammer at €11,000.

“We are really delighted with the sale” says Gore Grimes, “as we achieved an 80 per cent sale rate and the artwork did considerably well – as far as the furniture pieces are concerned, I feel that Irish people are buying because they truly love the objects – rather than seeing them as investments.”

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