Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) is an auction house that specializes in modern art, design, and furniture with an emphasis on works by important 20th century artists, designers, and architects. LAMA’s 50th auction on October 17, 2010 promises a strong selection, most of which has never traded hands until now.
The auction will include a variety of classic modern designs from Hans J. Wegner, such as a set of six “Wishbone” or “Y” chairs, a “Peacock” chair, a “Sawback” rocking chair, a pair of daybeds, a high-back rocking chair, a rare drop-leaf desk, a credenza, and a “Papa” Chair.
Peter Loughrey, founder and director of LAMA, has been dealing in Wegner designs since 1989 and has seen these pieces change in value and popularity. We asked him about the pieces in his October 17th auction.
“These are all mass produced items. However, each of these designs was crafted at a very high level for mass produced furniture. Out of all the pieces we are selling in the auction, only the “Papa”, “Peacock” and “Wishbone” can be bought today as a reproduction. The reproductions are far more expensive than the originals, which is a clear sign that their market value is very reasonable.”
Peter says that of the pieces being offered in the auction, the drop-leaf table is the most rare design.
“The drop-leaf desk was not always available in Wegner catalogs from the period and was likely a more expensive item, therefore fewer of them were ordered by American buyers.”
The “Papa” chair does not include an ottoman, which most of the time is more desirable, however this clean, restored example, could probably be purchased for half price because of that sole reason. The estimate for this “Papa” chair is $4,000–6,000 and the starting bid usually starts at half the low estimate.
“Right now, people place extra value on original condition with the ottoman, so this is a great piece to live with and sit on everyday.”
In his 60-year career, Wegner designed over 200 different chairs, in addition to daybeds, tables, and desks, which were very prolific and captured the essence of the Scandinavian aesthetic, which is still prevalent in many interiors today.
“What is extraordinary about these designs is their ubiquity, and that the market has taken them for granted. All these designs are excellent candidates to actually use in your daily life. None of these pieces are so precious and rare, that merely using them might lower their value.”
For more information regarding the October 17th Modern Art & Design auction, LAMA, and Peter Loughrey, visit lamodern.com.
Photos courtesy of Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA).