Armand Rateau wall sconces headline art deco auction

A pair of Col de Cygne wall sconces by Armand Albert Rateau was the star lot in an art deco sale at Christie's.

The lot realised $425,000 in the December 17 auction in New York, a shade over its $400,000 estimate.

Rateau bird Christies
Rateau's work often displays a classical influence

Rateau (1882-1928) primarily worked as a designer for members of high society, and his pieces feature lavish styling and materials.

Christie's comments: "The gracious curve of the bird's attenuated neck is the defining line of his design. The motif occurs elsewhere in his [Rateau's] oeuvre.

"We find it also in his design for a sofa, created for the legendary bathroom-boudoir of the Duchess of Alba, in which the necks and heads of a pair of carved and gilded swans grace the fronts of the armrests."

A bronze armchair Rateau designed to furnish the pool room of collectors Florence and George Blumenthal made $2m at Christie's in 2010.

Elsewhere in the present sale, a pair of Leliere armchairs by Emile Jacques-Ruhlmann sold for $185,000.

Ruhlmann was perhaps the most sought after designer of the art deco era. His elegant and restrained style was popular on both sides of the Atlantic.

The record for his work stands at $2m, set for an amaranth cabinet at Christie's Paris in 2006.

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