Homa Taj in conversation with Peter Kjelgaard, Head of Design at Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers, Scandinavia’s leading auction house. Rasmussen recently exhibited their stunning Le Corbusier tapestry from the collection of famed architect Jørn Oberg Utzon (1918-2008), at Collective Design Fair, in New York City.
Homa Taj – For those who may not be familiar with Bruun Rasmussen, can you tell us about your firm?
We are one of the leading auction houses in Scandinavia based in Copenhagen and we are a leader in primarily Nordic design and art. Knowledge and passion is the driving force behind everything we do.
HT – When was your Auction house founded?
Our auction house was established in 1948 in Copenhagen, Denmark by Arne Bruun Rasmussen.
HT- How do you select which artists, periods, etc to represent?
Many objects are presented to us daily, and we select those suitable for our international sales based on our knowledge and our interpretation of what is happening in the market – sometimes trying to point to something new or different.
HT – How do you see the dramatic rise in real estate prices (in New York) affecting the art and design market?
Growth in real estate is actually good for us. We see a growing interest from clients in the New York area specially from discerning clients looking to buy Nordic design from the country of origin.
HT – How do you define the New York art market – in comparison to other art centers around the world?
New York is a giant magnet for all items of exceptional quality. That certainly is the case for the increasing interest in vintage design of which Danish midcentury design is a critical component.
HT – What trend(s) do you anticipate in the art/ design market in the coming 5 or 15 years?
Mid-century vintage is a relatively new field of collecting. We think that the difference in prices between what is simply a good piece and what is an exceptional piece will increase dramatically as buyers become more knowledgeable.
HT – What are your thoughts about the trend toward purchasing art and design online?
We see online purchasing as a great opportunity and believe that this is an unstoppable trend. We offer online auctions on a daily basis and have done so for 12 years. This is part of our business model and we seek to expand this area. Selling expensive, high quality pieces online does however require sellers to meet very high standards of description, photos and service associated with the buying of such pieces. We believe that a gradual process toward this will happen everywhere.
HT – How would you define the importance of art fairs?
Art fairs offer clients the opportunity to see pieces displayed in curated context. They play an important role in moving the interest in new directions.
HT – What has been your most memorable encounter with an art collector?
Our company have had the privilege of countless memorable and eccentric clients over the past 6 decades so to name anyone particular would be unjust to far too many.
HT – What is your next big project?
We are constantly trying to expand the knowledge and understanding of Nordic Design through our international sales. In our international sales we aim for a special focus that can offer a new perspective on both unknown and well established designers. These “stories” are presented with an array of other well known pieces. Our next sale will focus on Danish Designer Poul Kjaerholm following up on an affair with him that took of with our seminal 2006 special Poul Kjaerholm sale.
HT – What upcoming auctions should collectors get excited about?
This idea of trying to bring something new and fresh out about iconic designers has also been the underlying reason for our presentation of the wonderful Le Corbusier tapestry that came from the Home of world famous architect Jørn Utzon. This tapestry was made in 1960 and intended as the starting point for Le Corbusiers involvement in the decoration of the interior of the Sydney Opera House. A project never fulfilled that now seems a loss to us all.
Utzon was the first Dane to win the Pritzker Prize for Architecture, in 2003. A year later, his design for the Sydney Opera House was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Later in June (9-11), Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers in Copenhagen will present Jørn Utzon’s private art and furniture collection. The preview runs from May 28 to June 1.