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Looking for quality one-off pieces for your home? This sale is where ‘art meets furniture’

DeVeres Art & Design auction has plenty of interest for those renovating or moving into a new home, including chairs by Eileen Gray and Ron Arad

There is a huge appetite for modernist and postmodernist furniture among stylish homeowners who are renovating period houses or building new homes, so the deVeres’ International Art & Design auction on April 30th should draw lots of interest.

Billed as the auction where “art meets furniture”, it is also arguably an auction with pieces of furniture which could be described as pieces of art or sculpture in and of themselves.

“The buyers are mainly Irish people looking for quality one-off pieces for their homes. We hold these sales twice a year, but this will be one of the best we’ve done in a few years,” says Eoghan Scally of deVeres.

The impressive range of extraordinary chairs from some of the most influential international designers of the era includes the Blo-Void chair in woven and mirror polished aluminium (estimate €50,000-€70,000), made by Ron Arad, the British-Israeli architect, designer and artist in 2005. This is one of an edition of 20 chairs whose polished reflective sides are made from a super plastic aluminium alloy blown into a mould, using an air pressure technique developed for the aerospace industry.


Arad cofounded the London design studio and workshop One-Off in 1981, and soon after his steel-framed chairs made from the leather seats from Rover cars gained him international acclaim. His New Orleans armchair, made from pigmented polyester, gel coat and fibreglass (estimate €50,000-€70,000) in 1999 is a polyester version of his Big Easy chair (1988), which was one of the first pieces of contemporary design added to New Orleans Museum of Art decorative arts collection. Also for sale is a Ron Arad AYOR (at your own risk) chair from 1991, which is made from mirror polished stainless steel (€50,000-€70,000).

Danish design also features at the deVeres auction, with a pair of teak Spade chairs by Danish designer, Finn Juhl (estimate €3,000-€5,000) one of the highlights. Juhl was renowned for bringing natural organic elements into his furniture, often breaking free from conventional joinery methods. Working at a time when Danish design was emerging as a strong international force, the Juhl House built in 1942 marked the beginning of open-plan living with garden views from every room.

A rosewood sideboard by Henry Rosengren-Hansen, another important 20th-century Danish furniture designer (€3,000-€5,000), will also go under the hammer.

And the work of Irish architect furniture designer, Eileen Gray, who became a pioneer of the modern movement in architecture, is also for sale. One of nine lots, her Transat chair (estimate €3,000-€5,000), which was designed in 1928, was inspired by the deck chairs on transatlantic ocean liners. Gray made it for use on the terrace of her E-1027 home in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, on the French Riviera, which is now a Unesco World Heritage site open to visitors. The National Museum of Decorative Arts & History at Collins Barracks in Dublin has a permanent exhibition of works by Gray.

Three pieces of art by French painter, printmaker and sculptor Pierre Soulages (including Lithograph No 3, 1957, €7,000-€10,0000), a still life by Irish artist William Scott (€12,000-€18,000), and a small hare sculpture by Irish-Welsh sculptor Barry Flanagan (€10,000-€15,000) are among the art works for sale.

Value in Paris

The Irish Art Sale on May 2nd at the Sotheby’s Paris office will no doubt create a frisson of excitement.

“It’s a similar sale to ones we have had in Paris each year for the last two years,” says Arabella Bishop, head of Sotheby’s Ireland and Northern Ireland. Most of the art has been sourced internationally – mainly throughout Europe but also the United States, according to Bishop. “At this online auction, we will have buyers from the US, Canada, Australia and across Europe. These will include buyers from the Irish diaspora as well as international buyers,” she adds.

The 40 lots includes works by William Leech, Roderic O’Conor, Louis le Brocquy (including an oil on canvas of Samuel Beckett, estimate €40,000-€60,000), to Stephen McKenna, Hughie O’Donoghue and Patrick Scott.

One prominent Irish art buyer perusing the works for sale suggests that A Shining Palace, Venice by William Leech (€40,000-€60,000), seems to be good value, having previously sold at Christies for about £100,000 in 2000 (about €150,000 at that time).

Prospective buyers will also note that art works by Irish female artists – who are popular at the moment – seem to have quite low estimates. These include Two Clowns Fooling (estimate €5,000) by Camille Souter, and Michael Collins by Hazel Lavery (estimate €3,000-€5,000) and a composition (€5,000-€7,000) by Belfast-born Noreen Rice.

What did it sell for?

William Orpen, Portrait of Mrs Jessie Wertheimer (nee Trautz) from 1904

Estimate €10,000-€15,000

Hammer price €32,000

Auction house Morgan O’Driscoll

Salvadore Dali, Air India ashtray/sculpture

Estimate €800-€1,200

Hammer price €800

Auction house Morgan O’Driscoll

Roderic O’Connor, Villas near the Sea, Cassis

Estimate €70,000-€100,000

Hammer price €70,000

Auction house Morgan O’Driscoll