Masterpieces of French Art Nouveau

Daniella Ohad
Feb 10, 2013 8:11PM

The Louis C. Tiffany Garden Museum, opened in Nagoya, Japan in 1994 has been the ambitious project of one man, the passionate collector Takeo Horiuchi, who together with his advisor Alastair Duncan sought to create the world’s finest and unparalleled collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany and Art Nouveau decorative arts.

Becoming concerned about the ever-present threat of earthquakes in the city, Horiuchi moved the Museum to the town of Matsue on the Sea of Japan, and closed it down several years later when planning to construct a new home for the Museum at the base of Mount Fuji, where he hoped to attract more visitors. The tsunami of 2011 and the prediction of future earthquakes, however, brought Horiuchi to have his collection departing his native shores for safety elsewhere.

The part of the collection that consisted of Tiffany lamps was sold in November 2012 by Michaan’s Auctions, following the acquisition of the entire collection by Allan Michaan, in what has become to be known as the largest single transaction to ever occur in the world of decorative arts. Promotions were promising, but the Horiuchi provenance did not help some of the problematic lots that failed to sell.

On February 16th, Sotheby’s Paris is going to auction the second, and European part of the collection, Art Nouveau furniture and other masterpieces, some of which kept in private hands for many years, including icons by http://artsy.net/artist/louis-majorelle, Emile Gallé, and http://artsy.net/artist/rene-lalique. The most interesting lots are those shown at the legendary Exposition Universelle of 1900, which had marked the triumph of the Art Nouveau style, and were among the extensive acquisition program of the Louis C. Tiffany Museum.  I am curious to see how the change of taste away from the sinuous style of Art Nouveau affects the results.

You can view the entire sale here: http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/2013/chefs-duvre-art-nouveau-ancienne-collection-du-garden-museum-japon/overview.html

Daniella Ohad
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