Rago Auctions’ recent modern auction in Lambertville, New Jersey featured a Josef Hartwig-designed chess set of the 1920s.
Hartwig (1880-1955) headed the Bauhaus
wood-carving and sculpture workshop from 1921-25. This chess set -
a collaboration with Joost Schmidt, the advertising and packaging
designer - epitomised the Bauhaus dictum of form following
Each stained beech chesspiece is an
abstract representation of the moves made on the chessboard; for
instance, the square-shaped rook implies movement back and forth,
left and right and the Queen's spherical head represents her
ability to move in any direction.
It sold for $14,000 (£9270)
The day before at the auctioneers' early
20th Century Auction on March 2 offered seven different examples of
the iconic anthropomorphic Martin Brothers salt-glazed stoneware
bird tobacco jars.
All the lots found buyers, with four
selling above their high estimate. The most expensive was an early
11in (28cm) high example, dated 1892, signed Martin Bros London
& Southall and estimated at $35,000-45,000.
Exhibited at the LA County Art Museum in
1983, it was formerly in the Harriman & Judd Collection sold by
Sotheby's New York in a benchmark auction in 2001, where it fetched
$20,000. This time around the bird sold for $75,000 (£49,670).
The buyer's premium was 25/20%.