An indication of the continuing downturn in brown furniture presented itself this month in Knoxville, Tennessee when an abstract painting by the German born American artist Friedel Dzubas (1915-1994) out priced at auction some very traditional pieces of American antique furniture which would normally do very well. Amongst these pieces were a Knoxville antique walnut desk and an East Tennessee cherry wood press.
Retro art, antiques and furniture, particularly anything antique Arts and Crafts, Bauhaus, or other early 20th century examples have consistently made good prices at auction for some time now. Later examples of Scandinavian designed black leather and chromed swivel arm chairs, chromed legged coffee tables with abstract tiled tops and other 1960s/70s classics (Ercol and G-Plan), are also doing well. Instead of being labelled as ‘the antiques of the future’, they are now being sold alongside the more traditional antiques, through auctions and antiques outlets which are now providing for more eclectic tastes. Other retro classics such as bakelite telephones, boxed vintage toys, Polaroid cameras, kitchenalia, boxed games, glass crystal jewellery, clothing, general 60s kitsch, Blackfriars glass and anything from the Troika pottery factory which was only in production for the twenty years between 1963-1983 are also doing well and are highly collectable.
The Dzubas piece was fairly typical of its time. The artist, associated with Color Field art of 1960s New York, painted ‘Malmoe’ in 1974. The colours which are loosely splashed across the canvas are earthy and muted, and painted in acrylic rather than oils. The content and size of the picture (which wasn’t large) would certainly suit a plain white wall in a loft apartment. It sold at auction for $24,175. The estimate had been between $8-12,000, so it had doubled its top estimate.
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