Robert Isabell Auction
When he wasn't planning some of the most memorable parties in New York and in jet setters' playgrounds -- Caroline Kennedy's wedding, galas for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and New York City Ballet, birthdays for Bette Midler and Saul Steinberg, White House holiday parties for President Clinton -- Robert Isabell applied his meticulous design sensibilities to his home. With his passing in July, the experience of attending one of his legendary fetes can never be repeated, but Sotheby's is making it possible to own some of his collection of 20th century design, with an auction scheduled for December 17.
Gallery: Isabell Design Trove
Isabell's domestic aesthetic explored combinations of nature, light, iron, and steel in both intimate and soaring spaces, in a Greenwich Village home that combined a former blacksmith's shop with a modern building. Formally, his design style incorporated French industrial and American studio, with later Pop and contemporary additions. One of his last acquisitions was "Nickel Couch" by Johnny Swing, made of metal and nickels. First shown at the Museum of Arts and Design in 2006, it will be the artist's first piece to be offered at auction (estimated at $15,000). The most valuable objects in the collection are post-war American and French. Examples from America's New Hope Studio include a sideboard, bar, and cabinet by Paul Evans, who used intricate metal facades in his designs (with estimates from the low to high five figures) and 15 lots of Harry Bertoia bronze sculpture. Objects by icons of French mid-century modernism include a bookcase by Jean Prouvé and lamps and sconces by Serge Mouille.