Melbourne creates unwanted record with its COVID-19 lockdown auctions

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 28th May, 2021

As Melbourne enters its fourth COVID-19 lockdown in 15 months – this one hopefully only for seven days – fine and decorative arts auction houses are once more in online mode, both for viewing and bidding.

This is certainly true for Gibson’s Auctions sale, entitled The Autumn Emporium, which ends from 10am Monday May 31 at 885-889 High Street, Armadale.

The auction comprises 464 lots – many of them very affordable for first time buyers – and covering such categories as art, porcelain, ceramics, sculptures, furniture and other collectables.

One of the more intriguing but inexpensive items is a decorative milk glass and gilt egg-shaped box (lot 240) with a $40-$80 estimate.

Among the higher priced catalogue items are two ‘500’ chairs designed in 1975 by Pierre Paulin (1927-2009) for Artifort (lot 255) and at $2600 the reserve price has already been met.

A French designer who studied stone carving and clay modelling in the early 1950s at the École Camondo in Paris, he is best known for his Artifort work, which began in 1958 and resulted in several iconic pieces including his famed Mushroom Chair (1959), Ribbon Chair (1966) and Tongue Chair (1968).

Paulin was commissioned in 1970 by Le Mobilier National to decorate the private apartments of President George Pompidou at the Palais de L’Elysee and again in 1983 to furnish President Francois Mitterand’s offices.

His work was influenced by his German roots and the early modernists, in particular American designers Charles and Ray Eames.

Paulin’s creations are in the permanent collections of several esteemed institutions including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Musèe des Arts Décoratifs and Centre George Pompidou in Paris, Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria and Vienna’s Museum of Applied Arts.

A large English mahogany table with two extension leaves (lot 318) is another drawcard, while a pair of Louis XVI style giltwood cushion front mirrors (lot 253) would make an interesting adornment to the successful buyer’s home.

A 1950s Persian Taroom tribal rug from Iran (lot 453) should attract plenty of interest before bidding finishes and two illuminated glass display cabinets (lot 296) ideal for small businesses looking for display facilities.

Lots 317 and 319 – three seater Louis XV style carved giltwood sofa and a set of 10 mahogany dining chairs and two carvers – could find a destination in a period home, while for Asian ceramic collectors a group of celadon wares from the Chinese Yuan and Ming
Dynasties (lot 156) and a Longquan celadon dish from the Song/Yuan Dynasty (lot 157) could be right up their alley.

Another interesting attraction is a Lladro figure group featuring a lady and gentleman (lot 396).

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