Sotheby’s record design auction totals $45m

With sublime pieces by top designers like Giacometti, Lalanne and Besnard, Sotheby’s New York held the auction with the highest ever valued design sale.

Philanthropist Michelle Smith design collection totalled an outstanding $45 million at a Sotheby’s auction, well above its highest estimate of $16 million. With the participation of over 570 collectors from around the world, during the 10-hour long live event A Vision: The Collection of Michelle Smith the entire collection almost sold out (99% of lots were bought).

Such an unexpected success turned the auction into the highest ever valued design sale at Sotheby’s New York. Many top designers were represented across the collection, with names like Alberto and Diego Giacometti, François-Xavier Lalanne, Lucie Rie, and Jean Besnard achieving new auction records.

Among the hottest lots, a bronze and suede Bench circa 1974 by Diego Giacometti sold for $3.3 million, the “Crocodile” Armchair by Claude Lalanne brought in $2 million, and a Bowl circa 1955 by Lucie Rie achieved $340,200, more than five times its $60,000 high estimate.

“The tremendous results for the Michelle Smith collection,” Jodi Pollack, Sotheby’s Co-Worldwide of Head of 20th Century Design, commented, “are a testament to her extraordinary vision as a collector and her meticulous curatorial eye that transcended to each category she pursued — from Design and Fine Art, to Jewelry and Handbags.”

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