On September 21, Bonhams New York will hold its Fine Continental Furniture & Decorative Arts auction. Sourced from various private collectors, the auction’s 406 lots will offer a wide array of decorative objects from a diverse range of collecting fields.
Karl Green, the Director of Fine Furniture and Decorative Arts at Bonhams, says of the sale, “We are proud to be able to offer a very fine selection of French 19th century furniture and decorations, from private collections lovingly assembled throughout decades. These works were an important part of the lives of these collectors, and will certainly become items that their new purchasers will not be able to live without.”
A star lot in the sale is an important pair of Empire patinated and gilt bronze figural candelabras by Pierre-Phillippe Thomire (1751-1843), one of the most celebrated craftsmen of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Thomire followed in his father’s footsteps, working as a bronze ciseleur (chaser) and caster. He honed his craft and ultimately opened his own bronze foundry in 1776. He quickly became the epitome of high quality workmanship, completing commissioned works for Marie Antoinette and the city of Paris, and later for Emperor Napoleon. The candelabra offered in this sale are an unusual aesthetic for Thomire due to the atypical design and large size—indicating that they were for a special commission. The pre-sale estimate for the pair is $200,000-400,000.
Elsewhere in the sale is a Louis XV-style gilt bronze mounted kingwood parquetry bureau plat attributed to the Maison Jansen, a design firm established by Dutch interior designer, Jean-Henri Jansen (1854-1928). Beginning his career in 1882 as an upholsterer and decorator in Paris, Jansen quickly expanded his reach with the purchase of Joseph-Emmanuel Zwiener’s workshops and rights helping to establish Maison Jansen. The firm grew rapidly and experienced continued success throughout most of the 20th century, well after the founder’s death, most notably working with Jacqueline Kennedy during the refurbishing of the White House in the 1960s. This bureau plat has finely cast and chased gilt bronzes that are clearly inspired by the work of Jean-Pierre Latz (circa 1691-1754), but also has a modern touch: finely cast tendrils and leaves extending from the lower chutes. This interplay between geometric logic and intuitive vegetal forms marks an artisan at the height of his craft (est. $150,000-200,000).
Also of note is a fourth quarter 19th century Louis XVI style carved and painted fifteen piece bedroom suite from the Radziwill family. Through politics, military action and noble marriages, the Radziwill family has played an important role in Lithuanian and Polish history since the 16th century. This princely bedroom suite comes from the Villa des Dunes in Cannes, which was purchased by Prince Constantin Radziwill in 1886. The bedroom suite, complete with the Radziwill coat of arms, remained in the Villa des Dunes estate until circa 1929 when the house changed owners (est. $80,000-120,000).
Another highlight comes from the Supino family—a fine mid-19th century Louis XIV style gilt bronze and mounted contre partie boulle marquetry and rosewood table de milieu with a pre-sale estimate of $25,000-35,000. This lot is from the collection of Renato Supino, born in Pisa in 1896, who was a connoisseur and collector of Flemish tapestries and 17th and 18th century French furniture. In 1929, he and his wife, well-known British designer Muriel Davies, settled in Paris where they purchased this lot from a dealer who believed the piece to be from the early 18th century. In 1940, the family was fortunate to receive visas and tickets on the now famous refugee passage from Lisbon to New York aboard the Normandie. They settled in Manhattan and purchased a 1760 Dutch residence named the Demarest House and grounds. Their collection of furnishings, including this table, was sent to their new residence and remained there until 1988. Renato’s youngest son, Peter Forrest Supino, now a California resident, inherited this table.
Among the property of various owners in this sale, there are a large number of George Jensen and Tiffany silver pieces, including a Tiffany sterling silver eight piece tea and coffee service from circa 1854-1869 (est. $10,000-15,000). Other highlights found in this sale are a superb second quarter 19th century French and Baroque style gilt bronze three piece clock garniture: The Triumph of Neptune (est. $40,000-60,000); a rare and large pair of English creamware hollow figures of recumbent lions, circa 1770 (est. $6,000-8,000); and a suite of four French 18th century carved limestone figural groups representing the arts and sciences (est. $6,000-9,000).