A unique sale of furniture by the legendary French art-deco atelier Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann will take place in New York next month, offering an extraordinary opportunity for furniture collectors.
The sale at Sotheby's on December 16 features a collection of nine outstanding pieces, each specially commissioned and designed for an American family between 1929 and 1930. All the furniture has been in storage for the past 25 years, and they remain for the most part in their original condition and finish.
The amazing quality of the pieces is matched by the original documentation that goes with them. An archive of paperwork featuring the original commissions, bills of sale, correspondence with Ruhlman about the designs and his own certifications are included in the sale, and offer an exceptional provenance.
The standout item of the sale is a stunning "Egyptian" drop-front desk decorated with a tortoiseshell-effect celluloid finish. The piece is a more modern take on one of Ruhlmann's earlier designs, the acclaimed 'Fusseau' model, and is only the second example of the design ever made. It has a pre-sale estimate of $300,000 - $500,000 but could see much higher.
Other pieces in the sale include a set of 12 ebony "Cannelee" dining chairs ($250,000 - $350,000), an ebony-veneered oak "Vuillerm" dining table ($200,000 - $300,000) and a walnut-veneered oak "Jumrose" bed ($100,000 - $150,000). The perfect condition and provenance of every item will mean serious collectors and investors alike will be watching the sale with great interest.
This is one of the best collections of art-deco furniture to come to auction this year, and the uniqueness of the items could quite possibly bring a record-breaking end to 2010.
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