Pietro Chiesa - Design Masters New York Tuesday, December 15, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private collection, Milan

  • Literature

    Franco Deboni, Fontana Arte: Gio Ponti, Pietro Chiesa, Max Ingrand, Turin, 2012, fig. 187

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I despise creating useful objects,” declared Pietro Chiesa, although we cannot know if he barked this aversion or whispered it. On January 1, 1934, Chiesa became the creative director of the newly formed Milanese design firm Fontana Arte and out poured paradox—lamps, tables, desks, frames, vases—a stream of useful objects which garnered gold medals at international exhibitions throughout the decade and which won the designer the Legion of Honour in 1937. Among Chiesa’s most glorious works, his mirrored glass cabinets of the mid-to-late 1930s best illustrate the romance inherent in his contradictory nature. To borrow from Franco Deboni (Fontana Arte: Gio Ponti, Pietro Chiesa, Max Ingrand, Allemandi, Turin, 2012), a “gust of modernism” blows across the Macassar-veneered face of the present lot, lulling it’s Art Deco undulations. Or perhaps the opposite is true: the irrepressible vigor of its decoration pushes its rectilinear nature out of bounds. Either way, the chest holds in its frame what the Italians call un altro da se, another self.


Rare chest of drawers

circa 1938
Macassar ebony-veneered wood, walnut, mirrored glass, nickel-plated brass.
34 1/4 x 54 7/8 x 22 in. (87 x 139.4 x 55.9 cm)
Produced by Fontana Arte, Milan, Italy.

$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $106,250

Contact Specialist
Meaghan Roddy
Head of Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1266

Design Masters

New York Auction 15 December 2015 5pm