Art market

Sale of Diego Giacometti floor lamp at TEFAF confirms that design is well and truly in vogue

Dealers cite the design section's new position as the reason for this year's exceptional sales, in proximity to contemporary art dealers


Blockbuster design sales, from a single Giacometti floor lamp priced at a skyrocketing E500,000 down to simple ceramic vessels by little known potters, were on show at the second instalment of Tefaf’s Design section. Many dealers praised the move from the first floor, where the works-on-paper specialists were installed this year, to a section near the contemporary art dealers.

The sale of the floor lamp by Diego Giacometti captivated even the most jaundiced art-market watchers and made design appear a red-hot commodity. Some suggested that Lily Safra, who paid the record-setting $104.3m for L’Homme qui marche by Diego’s brother Alberto at Sotheby’s London in February, took the lamp. Christian Boutonnet, who heads up L’Arc, would only say the buyer was “a European”. He also sold a 1960 Max Ingrand travertine desk for E220,000 and glazed earthenware vessels by Jean van Dongen, brother of the painter, for E30,000 each to an American collector.

Brussels dealer Philippe Denys clinched deals for ten 1949 Hans Wegner chairs, Alvar Aalto lighting and Finnish ceramics. Poul Henningsen hanging lamps, 1952, went for E90,000 each. Eric Philippe sold a pair of Preben Fabricius and Jørgen Kastholm leather and linen arm chairs, 1963, for E28,000. Ulrich Fiedler made E58,000 for a 1929 Le Corbusier steel chaise longue.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Design has a Giacometti moment'