I went to an auction last week and got outbid on everything that I wanted except for one thing. It needs some research but was made by either Karl or Franz Hagenauer in Vienna in, I guess, circa 1930. The Hagenauer father and son team were part of the Wiener Werkstätte – a community of artists and designers that evolved from the Secession movement and predated the Bauhaus – Schiele, Kokoschka and Klimt were all on the fringes of the association. The item is basically a hefty lump of brass. There’s something very nice about it.
Sometimes you sit in an auction room and everything goes your way. The items you don’t want have fierce bidding wars over them and the items you do want you manage to secure for low estimate. The specialities and knowledge of a rural auction house can only run so far. In the sale last week was an African head rest – catalogued at £40-£60. It sold for something like £2,500 with all the bids originating from 3 people bidding on the phones; my seated neighbour in the sale room said that he had been prepared to go up to £250. It wasn’t to be his day.