Lee F Mindel’s design collection goes up for sale – along with his home

Featuring 20th-century classics

Architect Lee F Mindel’s design collection will go under the hammer on 13 December, including lots by Jean Prouvé, Ettore Sottsass and Pierre Jeanneret.

Mindel amassed his eclectic cache of furniture and objects – set to be auctioned by Phillips – over three decades. The cofounder of Shelton, Mindel & Associates housed them within his New York property, an ‘aerie’ atop a former hat factory in Chelsea, which is also up for sale for $9.65m via Corcoran.

‘It is bittersweet for me to say good-bye to this collection,’ said Mindel in a statement. The architect is now moving to a new building designed by Herzog & de Meuron. ‘I am anxious to investigate a new type of case-study residence when I move down to 56 Leonard Street. I don’t view this as anything but an opportunity to look to the future and to continue to pursue the unique challenge of integrating architecture, interiors, context, and design.’

Among the 140 lots is a sculptural love seat by Antoni Gaudí, a totem by Ettore Sottsass and a mahogany dining table by Charlotte Perriand – one of the most expensive items, with an estimate of between $100,000 and $150,000.

Lee F Mindel design collection auction
From left: Antoni Gaudí, ‘Batlló’ bench, designed in 1906, executed in 1980s. Estimate: $10,000-15,000. Ettore Sottsass, Jr., ‘Burma’ totem, circa 1994-1995. Estimate: $15,000-20,000. Photography: courtesy of Michael Moran/OTTO

‘The whole ensemble that he collected in his four-bedroom loft represents a Modernist utopia, a short course in the history of decorative arts, and a small city of icons that echo the urban icons outside the skyline,’ wrote design critic Joseph Giovannini in the Phillips catalogue.

One of the first pieces Mindel bought that was ‘any good’, as he puts it, was a screen by Piero Fornasetti, with an Escheresque feel. Within his New York apartment – which he designed for himself in the mid-1990s with Reed Morrison – Mindel juxtaposed the screen with Modernist and contemporary furniture and objects that are in dialogue with the architecture.

Lee F Mindel design collection auction
From left: Piero Fornasetti, ‘Scaletta’ four-panel screen, 1955. Estimate: $10,000-15,000. Ettore Sottsass, Jr., bookshelf, 1985. Estimate: $6,000-8,000. Jean Prouvé ‘Semi-metal’ chair, model no. 305, circa 1950. Estimate: $10,000 – 15,000. Photography: courtesy of Michael Moran/OTTO

‘Nobody in the field of design so wholly understands the synergy between architecture, interiors and furniture the way Lee does,’ says Ambra Medda, founder of Design Miami.

No single sensibility dominates the collection, which is full of surprises. The auction, titled ‘Light & Aerie: The Collection Of Lee F Mindel, FAIA‘, starts at 2pm on 450 Park Avenue, NYC.

Read next: Sting and Trudie Styler auction off their art collection



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