“In our business, I never know what I’m going to see,” says Michael Millea, owner and principal of Millea Bros, a New Jersey-based auction house. Millea spends much of his time scouring the market for exceptional estate property, which leads him to hits as well as some misses. But recently, he struck design gold on Park Avenue. Jacques Grange gold, in fact. “I knew I was going to a lobby to look at some furnishings, but was surprised to hear that it was a Jacques Grange-decorated interior,” Millea explains. Inside a pre-war apartment in on Park Avenue, Millea stumbled upon a sumptuous tufted velvet sofa and matching pair of chairs, custom designed by Grange himself, in a ravishing deep turquoise. In signature Grange style, the lobby was full of an eclectic mix of design pieces, including a pair of marble and bronze tables (which Millea amusingly describes as “a perfect example of a ’90s take on Giacometti”) and 20th-century screens from China.
The pieces will hit the block on December 8 as part of Millea Bros Select: 3 Day Auction.
With his signature mastery of the mix, Grange designed the lobby with items of different styles and periods. David Halpern, 20th-century specialist at Millea Bros, is excited at the chance to present these pieces together. “There’s an austere modern table set, Chinese antiques, a French desk, American antique styles, British antique styles, and at the center is a big comfy sofa and big comfy chairs,” Halpern explains. Among such interesting pieces of design, Grange’s own upholstered pieces stand (or sit, rather) front and center. And they are exceptionally uncommon on the market. Halpern says that he has only found records of two Grange tufted sofas offered at auction, both of which were in France, and believes the chairs haven’t come to auction before. “That thick, velvet upholstery is so intrinsic to it,” Halpern says. “In this case, the upholstery seems inseparable from the form.” A Grange-designed London townhouse (featured in AD December 2017) boasts a velvet tufted sofa as its centerpiece, even over the Basquiat mounted behind.
Following the wildly successful Sotheby’s sale of Grange’s personal collection last month, Millea and Halpern hope the momentum carries into New Jersey. “Were hoping some of that magic auction dust rubs off on our group,” Millea says with a laugh. Despite their low estimates (the sofa and chairs have low estimates of $4,000 and $2,000, respectively), he believes that there is an eager market for these unique pieces. “Grange’s style is all about embracing old stuff, new stuff, and bringing things together in a harmonious way,” Millea notes. “And what we know of our clients and friends, that’s the way people are decorating.”
This content was originally posted on architecturaldigest.com