“I designed something entirely new” – early 1930s glass grand piano draws attention in Paris sale

Poul Henningsen’s grand piano – €190,000 (£163,795) at Artcurial in Paris. Image copyright: Artcurial.

A Modernist grand piano from 1931 by the Danish designer Poul Henningsen was the toast of a dedicated Scandinavian design sale held by Artcurial in Paris.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Anne Crane

Made from chromium plated steel, lacquered wood and leather, it had a lid made from Plexiglas (then a new and expensive material) allowing the interior workings of the instrument to be clearly visible.

Reflecting later on his design Heninngsen said: “In 1930 I designed something entirely new and the result was this glass piano. My idea was that the piano is one of the very few instruments that is played inside its box. A violin, after all, is taken out of its case. The traditional wrapping of the piano has therefore always been a piece of furniture in the style of the time. I wanted to make it an instrument and maybe even improve the sound of it.”

Only a very few examples of the Grand Piano PH were produced in collaboration with the Danish piano maker Andreas Christiansen, mostly for famous collectors. The final hammer price on April 16 was €190,000 (£163,795) against an estimate of €100,000-150,000.

Diego Giacometti Arbre table

Diego Giacometti’s ‘Arbre’ occasional table – €240,000 (£206,895) at Beaussant Lefevre in Paris. Image copyright: Beaussant Lefevre.

Elsewhere on the Paris rostrum, Diego Giacometti’s furniture continues on a roll. His occasional table, Arbre, in patinated bronze with a smoked glass top, was the highest priced lot in a mixed discipline sale held by Beaussant Lefevre at Drouot on April 12.

The 2ft 4in high x 2ft 3in wide (71.5 x 74cm) table was acquired direct from the artist in 1964 and had remained in the vendor’s family until it appeared for sale in Paris. It doubled expectations to sell for a hammer price of €240,000 (£206,895).