Sotheby’s to auction Indore palace`s items

New Delhi: Two rare pieces of art deco furniture - an armchair and a liquor bar - designed for the palace of the erstwhile ruler of Indore, will be put on sale by Sotheby`s in Paris, a statement by the auction house said Tuesday.

The 20th Century Decorative Arts and Contemporary Design sale will take place Nov 22.

The Transat armchair was designed by artist-decorator Eileen Gray while the monumental carved liquor bar was designed by Eckart Muthesius.

The two pieces graced the palace interiors between 1920s-30s.

The pieces are among the seven decorative arts and antique furniture that will be auctioned by Sotheby`s.

The black-lacquered chrome and leather Transat armchair is estimated to earn USD 1,382,000, Sotheby`s said.

The armchair was acquired at a sale of furniture from the ruler`s palace in May 1980.

The palace`s sumptuous 1930 interiors, often defined as a temple of international modernism, were created by the German architect and interior designer Eckart in collaboration with avant-garde artist-decorators Gray, Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann, Le Corbusier and Louis Sognot, the auction house said.

The newly-discovered liquor bar, a part of the same collection, is a reflection of Eckart`s modern style.

The bar unit, which had remained at the palace till sometime ago, was known only from the photographs of the former Maharaja`s palace shot by Eckart in 1933 after the completion of the interiors.

The bar counter-cabinet is estimated at USD 829,300.

Historical records cite that in 1930, the young Eckart received a commission from an "Indian Maharaja to build and furnish a palace in India".

Eckart (1904-1989), son of the famous architect Hermann Muthesius (1861-1927), furnished for the then ruler of Indore, Yeshwant Rao Holkar Bahadur, his residence ‘Manik Bagh Palace - Jewel Gardens’.

He used ebony, chrome, metal, steel, glass and wood to design the furniture which were very Parisian in nature combining utility with striking beauty - the essence of the 1930 transitional art deco style of furniture.

Indore has been traditionally ruled by the erstwhile Holkar dynasty.

The kingship was established by Malhar Rao Holkar, who commanded the Maratha armies.


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