20th Century: The birth of a new era

As usual in Setdart, we are once again focusing on 20th century design, this time focusing on Nordic furniture, France and England, and Spain and Italy, without forgetting Italian glass. Four thematic auctions that will delight avant-garde lovers on Thursday, March 7.

It may seem dizzying to think that, in the mid-1980s, when Mies van de Rohe or Le CorbusierIn 1898, the Third French Republic had just been established, the Kingdom of Prussia was at its peak, and the interiors of Madrid’s aristocratic palaces, as Eugenio Rodríguez y Ruiz de la Escalera attested in 1898, were filled with pieces loaded with a questionable eclectic historicism. How is it possible that in 1929 one of the most iconic chairs in the history of art could be created without wood and with such modern lines?

Lote 35286383

The transition to the twentieth century is especially interesting as far as furniture is concerned, as industrial advances, coupled with the International Exhibitions, begin to blur stylistic boundaries and paddle towards an increasingly global style, where the diaphanous gains integers, and architects take control of furniture design, starting the figure of the designer to take special importance, in collaboration with firms that allowed to produce these projects in series.

Thus, if we take a look at Setdart’s catalog, we find names such as Knoll, Fritz Hansen, Lange Production, Cado, Cassina or Maxalto alongside those of the aforementioned van der Rohe, Warren Platner or Arne Jacobsen. These combinations, a hallmark of 20th century design, ensure a quality and respect for the original work that, even when produced years after its conception, safeguard its philosophy.

Lote 35253885.
Lote 35253879.

Going fully into the pieces put out to tender, it is inevitable to mention the aforementioned Barcelona chair, originally conceived for the 1929 Barcelona Exposition by the former director of the Bauhaus, who found in the United States the perfect breeding ground for the development of his creative and teaching activity. It was precisely in Illinois where he met Florence Knoll, who granted him the rights to exploit his work, including the “Barcelona Collection”, which was present at the auction.

Le Corbusier is another of the prominent names on the 7th, along with Pierre Jeanneret, his cousin, and Charlotte Perriand. This fruitful triumvirate, which lasted from 1927 to 1937, successfully tackled the problem of “l’equipement d’intérieur de l’habitation”, that is, the new organization of domestic spaces by means of highly versatile modular furniture. The collaboration with Cassina began in 1964, when the first exclusive contract for the exploitation of his work was signed. Among these reissues are the Grand Confort LC2 seats, which have become timeless classics.

Lote 35286503.

Within the Iberian Peninsula, these collaborations are also common, such as that of designer Jaime Hayón, National Design Award in 2021, for Fritz Hansen. We highlight the Ro armchair or the pair of Fri armchairs, respectively.

Lote 35253884.
Lote 35286498.

Finally, in the auction of Italian glass the small island of Murano is the undisputed leader, as it could not be otherwise, with artists of the stature of Ercole Barovier in collaboration with Barovier & Torso, a family business of which he would become the visible head in 1936 and, after the union in 1942 to Ferro-Toso, would change its name to the aforementioned. The lot 35376050 belongs to the Porpora series started in 1954, whose leitmotiv is the pigmentation in mauve tones without glass fusion.

Lote 35376050.

In conclusion, this is a unique opportunity to acquire pieces that have left their mark in an unfading way in the history of art, works that have abandoned their condition of domestic utensils to rise as design icons, conceived by a whole generation at the forefront of industrial creation.

External references to Roman urns

Prado Museum