This spring, the Parisian auction house Aguttes is celebrating a prestigious sale of works of the 20th century. With nearly 250 exceptional pieces, the auction offers the very best in the field of design.

The set of works has been rigorously selected by experts, and as stated by the auction house, only the most qualitative pieces from the French, Scandinavian and Italian design have been selected.


From France we find in particular the creations of Jean-Michel Frank, one of the main designers of the Art Deco period. Frank's work is characterised by Cistercian simplicity and a rejection of superfluous detail. With its combination of lightness and rigor, its furniture and lighting are almost an archaic aesthetic, though all the while maintaining a great delicacy.

In 1940, Frank escaped the world conflict and joined Buenos Aires, where he resumed his creativity. His furniture from this period, such as this console table and pair of lamps, reflect Frank's desire to ‘blur the slopes’, mixing his ultra-Parisian references with South-American know-how and materials.  

The creations of the architect and designer Pierre Jeanneret, such as the dining table, teak stool, and the set of six library chairs presented in Aguttes’ catalogue, are all from the Punjab University of Chandigarh.

The construction project in Chandigarh, which began in the early 1950s, gave birth to one of the most iconic series of furniture in the history of design. Appointed chief architect and designer of urban development when Le Corbusier abandoned the project halfway through, Pierre Jeanneret spent nearly 15 years in India creating the work, making Chandigarh a reference of modern architecture, and its furniture true pillars of design.

Charlotte Perriand is also in this design spotlight, with several masterpieces from the mining town of Cansado, Mauritania, a project to which we owe her famous ‘Bloc’ chess, as well as mahogany veneer threads


A small detour to Scandinavia brings us to Flemming Lassen, the modernist Danish architect and designer, notable for working within the realm of International Style.

Flemming has several pieces within this Aguttes sale, including this wicker armchair from 1940, measuring 70 x 55 x 60 cm.

Lassen was known for his simple and clearly defined lines, but if soft and fluffy is more to your taste, this pair of Lassen armchairs might be better suited for your home.

Or perhaps this suite of two wooden armchairs is for you. The goat wool chairs are by the Danish architect and designer Viggo Boesen, who had a major influence on the functionalism of the 1930s and 1940s. Known for his use of materials such as natural as wood and rattan, Boesen gave birth to furniture and decorative objects with a minimalist spirit, economic and organic, characteristic of Scandinavian creation.


We end this design tour with Italy, and in particular with the colourful creations of Ettore Sottsass.

A leader of the Memphis group during the 1980s, Ettore Sottsass is best known for his dynamic creations inspired by the aesthetics of the Pop Art movement. Their innovative forms contrast with the rest of the design creation of the time: with touches of bright colours, the Naomi Library is one of Sottsass' creations where play with unusual materials and assembly defy the codes of traditional furniture design.

The great Gio Ponti is also represented in the sale, as with his pair of velvet and wooden armchairs. The Italian architect and designer incorporated velvet throughout many of his designs, though rarely in such simplistic elegance as in this pair.

Aguttes’ sale will be held in the Arturo López Mansion in Neuilly-sur-Seine on 20 May 2019.

Find all Aguttes lots on Barnebys

Header image: Pierre Jeanneret, Rare Stool, teak, c. 1960. Photo: © Aguttes