The Martin Cohen Collection
The Final Chapter at Bonhams New York

New York – On October 6 Bonhams will present The Martin Cohen Collection: The Final Chapter, featuring important interior and design pieces from the impressive collection of the renowned dealer, collector and design connoisseur, Martin Cohen.

The sale will be followed by an online-only Part II, which will run from  October 7 on

Highlights of the sale will include items created especially for the former Fifth Avenue mansion of New York pharmaceutical magnate, George Kemp – including early pieces designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany (son of Charles L. Tiffany, founder of the eponymous jewellery and silver firm, Tiffany & Co.). Among the items offered will be an Important sofa designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany for ASSOCIATED ARTISTS, circa 1879, which has an estimate of $200,000 - 300,000. The sofa was created especially for the opulent salon of Kemp house (which is now the Armani store on the corner of 56th and 5th Avenue). The accompanying armchair, one of only two known examples, (also seen to the left in the image above) is estimated at $100,000 - 200,000.

Bonhams' International Director of Modern Decorative Art + Design, Dan Tolson, commented, "We are thrilled to be offering this encyclopedic collection that represents the culmination of over 40 years of continuous collecting and refining. Martin Cohen traveled tirelessly across Europe and the US in search of the rare and the unique. The auction reflects all four seasons of his focused collecting. It encompasses his early years during the 1970s, hunting down superlative examples of furniture and design from the American Aesthetic movement, including his acquisition of an important chair and sofa by Louis Comfort Tiffany for Kemp House. It also includes his collection of 19th Century Venetian glass, including Attilio Spaccarelli's seminal masterpiece of cameo glass, as well as Modern Italian glass. His final passion for Asian robes, also features in the sale, with everything in-between. The auction represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire works that were once displayed in major museums in Italy and the US, from Le Stanza del Vetro to Corning Museum of Glass, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Frick and The Getty."

Bonhams' Head of Modern Decorative Art + Design, Benjamin Walker, added: "From important design pieces, to exceptional furnishings, and superb Venetian glass, this exciting collection is a testament to the keen eye of Martin Cohen. We are especially pleased to be able to offer rare pieces originally designed for Kemp House at Bonhams' New York saleroom – a mere 200 meters from the site of their original 5th Avenue home."

 Writing in Bonhams Magazine, David Walker, independent specialist and writer on decorative arts, comments: "So very few of New York's Gilded Age interiors have survived... Fortunately, in the collection of Martin Cohen, alongside his exceptional and important collections of Italian glass and Chinese textiles, there are some exceptional pieces of 19th century design that survive from these interiors, affording us a rare glimpse of the lives of America's highest society during the Gilded Age." 

Martin Cohen

Collector, dealer, and connoisseur of exceptional design, Martin Cohen influenced collecting tastes for more than 40 years. He claims never to had missed an opportunity to acquire something he desired – even if it is an object he knows little about – for he believes each new possession has something new to teach. This mantra has allowed him to amass a museum-worthy collection of decorative arts, furniture, design, art, and antiques and he has loaned works from his collection – including pieces which are now offered at Bonhams – to some of the most noted institutions in Europe and the US; including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Le Stanza del Vetro on St Giorgio, Venice, The Getty, Corning and Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Cohen's Madison Avenue shop brought him into contact with numerous artists, collectors and curators. His list of clients and friends include Edgar Kaufmann Jr., the critic and architectural historian (and son of Edgar Kaufmann, who commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece, Falling Water); Andy Warhol, and his friends Yves Saint Laurent and Paloma Picasso; Cleveland Museum of Art curator Henry Hawley; the designer Joseph H. Heil; and J. Stewart Johnson, a curator at the Brooklyn Museum, the Corning Museum of Glass, the Museum of Modern Art, and Metropolitan Museum of Art, who bought from Cohen for all four institutions.

Highlights of the sale include:

Attilio Spaccarelli, Important Cameo Amphora with Dionysic Scene, (1891). Estimate: $100,000-150,000.

Herter Brothers (1864-1906), Important pair of Andirons (circa 1878) from the library of the Marshall Fields. Estimate: $80,000-120,000.

Paolo Venini (1895-1959) A Dame Murrine Bowl (circa. 1955) for Venini. Estimate: $25,000-35,000.


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