RG: You have run Jorgensen Fine Art for many years, when you were in Molesworth Street and now here in the Hibernian Way but where and when did you first start collecting furniture?
IJ: I first started collecting in my 30s which was in the late 1960s. In Dublin I bought mostly from dealers such as Ronnie McDonnell in Kildare Street and Willie Dillon, in fact some of the lots that are in the auction are from this time so I have had them for more than 40 years, for example the gilt wood stool and the inlaid Pembroke table. At auction I purchased mainly from Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Philips in London.
RG: In considering buying an item what was it that you were looking at, was it the style, the date, the period, the condition?
IJ: It was of course the condition, but most importantly, because I consider myself to have an architectural eye, it was the proportion and the quality of the piece.
RG: You were involved in interior design to quite an extent as well so when you were looking for a piece to work for a collector’s individual taste or in a certain environment, did you find that different from you own taste, or did people come to you because they liked your taste?
IJ: The thing is that they came to me to be guided by taste and if I recommended something they would buy it. I decorated a house in Majorca which in part was done in the traditional way, but I also had a completely modern room designed there, with Barcelona furniture, so there was the sharpness of one room with the very traditional look of the other.
RG: Now that you are moving do you feel that this is the end of your collecting?
IJ: No, I have a couple of people that I am currently working with, helping them select the furniture for their houses and suggesting ideas to them.
And of course I am moving into a smaller flat and so am working on that. I have selected both modern and traditional for it. As long as you select sympathetically and with balance then the concept of old and modern can live together.
RG: And do you have one piece of parting advice?
I.J: One mustn’t overcrowd a room or make it too sparse. I believe a room should be extremely comfortable and beautiful at the same time and this is something that I also strive to achieve.
When we came up with the idea of staging The Interiors Auction we wanted to include furniture and Fine Art from all ages and styles. The vital components would be ‘quality’ and ‘condition’. The inclusion of Ib Jorgensen’s collection helped us achieve this with regard the 18th and 19th Century lots. Ib’s eye for style and balance is something that comes across in his collection and I discuss this further in an interview which you can read.
In my twenty years in auctioning furniture and art there has always been a distinct lack of opportunity to sell quality Contemporary furniture. Classic design is hugely popular but the re-sale market is limited. Therefore our objective was to offer a platform for vendors to offer Contemporary works. The reaction to this was very encouraging and we have managed to assemble a catalogue containing high quality works in the all important ‘mint’ condition. From the Art Deco period we are offering a pair of mahogany and velvet fauteuils (lot 139), made by Parisian designer George de Bardyere. These were bought from well know Deco experts Mitofski Antiques. Also purchased from Mitofski Antiques is an Art Deco dining room suite.
Italian designers are also well represented and I was contacted by a client who wished to offer the contents of his Italian villa. Poltrona Frau, deSalto, Molteni & Co along with French designer Ligne Rosset (above), are quality labels on offer in the auction at estimates greatly reduced from their retail prices. After all, this is ‘resale’ as opposed to ‘retail’ and our vendors have taken this advice. What is encouraging is that these lots are all in showroom condition.
Like something from a Bond movie, we have a pair of Eileen Gray ‘LOTA’ sofas, made by the official designer Classicon. I was talking with a journalist who was writing a piece on this auction and I asked her would she feature the sofas on the page. She told me her readers would think that they were from IKEA! I can assure you, IKEA these aren’t. They are wonderful classics, in perfect condition. What’s laughable is that you’d probably spend more on a sofa from IKEA.
The full catalogue is now online and the viewing starts next Friday, with the auction commencing at 2pm on Sunday, 22nd. It is well worth viewing.