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News July 2016

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Four Seasons auction

July 20, 2016

With the July 26 auction of the Four Seasons Restaurant less than a week away, Brent Lewis, head of the New York Branch of Wright Auctions, has provided some insight into how the auction house is handling the hotly contested selling-off of one of Modernism’s most iconic interiors. In an interview with Diana Budds of FastCo Design, Lewis explains that when making decisions as to what items may and may not be included in the sale, they have erred on the side of caution, being “as sensitive as possible to the Landmark designation to make sure that we’re not overreaching in terms of the works available for sale.” For example, a cracked glass screen in the bar area, installed by Philip Johnson in 1980 for the restaurant’s 20th anniversary, will remain in place, even though it would be considered permissible to sell. However, the vast majority of the furnishings will be on the auction block. Approximately 500 lots will be up for sale, ranging from tableware (estimated to fetch $300-500) to banquettes (estimated $2,000 each) and bar stools ($5,000 per pair). 

According to a recent Curbed post by Alexandra Lange, its architecture critic, there have been talks between the Four Seasons owners, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Historical Society for the institutions to possibly obtain some of these artifacts, but nothing appears certain except that the totality of all the details, carefully considered for a specific setting, will be irredeemably lost. Such details include graphic matter by designer Emil Antonucci, flatware by Garth and Ada Louise Huxtable, custom furniture by Knoll, and additional pieces by Mies van der Rohe, Hans Wegner, and Philip Johnson.

Farewell to the Four Seasons,” Alexandra Lange for Curbed, July 5, 2016

Behind the Controversial Auction of a Modernist Icon,” Diana Budds for FastCo Design, July 5, 2016

View the Four Seasons auction lots HERE.

Top: Pair of Brno Armchairs by Mies Van Der Rohe. Bottom: Pair of bread baskets designed by Garth and Ada Louise Huxtable. Courtesy Wright.