When ever I think of dragons, I think of the fire-breathing dragon on Looney Tunes who sneezed on things charring them up from strands fire coming out of his nose. After reading about the realized price of Eileen Gray's Dragon Chair very late last night, I might -- after all these years -- have to reconsider my imagery of Yosemite Sam's green companion to Eileen Gray's chair.
I watched Obama's speech addressed to Congress last night and I wouldn't have guessed another auction record could be broken considering the world's current doom and gloom economic conditions. The Dragon Chair (1917-1919) by Eileen Gray was purchased yesterday in Paris at the Yves Saint Laurent auction at Christie's for $28,341,909 -- that's about $25 million more than the estimate which was between $2,587,711 - $3,881,567. (Converting from Euros.)
Yowsa! Is all I can say...
(Apparently there was a bit of a bidding war between a bidder on the phone and one on the floor. The one on the floor won -- who was the dealer who sold it to YSL in the first place in the early 1970s.)
Tastes have certainly changed for connoisseurs of furniture... In the past decade or so, the general market for antiques has weakened. Many antiques have been going for a quarter of what it fetched just a year ago. People don’t want the traditional stuff anymore. Most antique stores have had to close their doors. Modern and Contemporary are the most sought-after. Open any interior design magazine and you’ll find an eclectic array of twentieth century pieces. Magazines, television shows, internet bloggers, retail and auction venues have been calling attention to long forgotten designers. Once an item is identified by a particular designer the interest as well as the price goes up. Original limited edition pieces in the past few years have become extremely sought after over the mass-produced designs by creators for Herman Miller and Knoll.
Eileen Gray certainly has received her long overdue recognition. There have been several publications about her in the past few years. But what I remember most is when her fantastic black lacquered screen which was estimated to fetch between $400,000-$600,000 was snagged for $1.2 million. This was just a small handful of years back. $1.2 million, wow, I thought. That's pocket change compared to now.
Originally from Ireland, Eileen Gray moved to France to create and consort with other artists, designers and writers. She is considered one of the most prolific designers of the early 20th-century. She was independent, educated, fiercely creative, a non-conformist, and determined to blaze a new path. Her furniture creations are tremendously unique. You can read about a house she designed on So Lovely's blog.