Feb. 11, 2022

SELL WITH LEADER. SPECIAL PROJECTS

 

Works by Polish designers, thoroughly selected jewelry from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, unique collections, and sentimental memorabilia-our experts will tell you all about DESA's constantly developing special projects.  

 

 

Design

"We try to find value in seemingly insignificant objects of everyday use. We pay attention to their form and how they were made. We also appreciate their role in the development of Polish design. This is why our design auctions include both prewar porcelain cups from the Ćmielów factory, popular Włocławek faience called 'pikasiaki' (new look faience a la Picasso), chairs from the ŁAD Cooperative, POLAM lamps, and vases from Chodzież.

For more than a decade, Polish design from the interwar period, as well as the 1950s and 1960s, has grown in popularity. Collectors notice how attractive utility items are, which is why they reach prices comparable to sculptures or paintings in the auction market. In 2020, we sold a pair of figures from the Pacyków factory for PLN 59,000 (EUR 12,694), a ceramic composition by Leszek Nowosielski for PLN 45,000 (EUR 9,682), a confectionery designed by Julia Keilowa for PLN 36,000 (EUR 7,746), and porcelain figurines by Lubomir Tomaszewski for PLN 25,000 (EUR 5,379)."
 

                                                       

  Cezary Lisowski, Senior Specialist

 

Glass

 

"I saw the glass on Desa's website; they're artistic, and I just have the usual vases, so it's not worth much." "I have my mom's glassware, but I don't think it's the one by Horbowy. You probably won't be interested." "During the communist era in Poland, such bottles were in every home; they are probably worthless." Every day, I come across similar statements and, with undisguised satisfaction, I disprove my interlocutors' claims about the value of postwar utility and decorative glassware. The results of the recent auctions revealed that not only artistic and unique items, such as glass compositions by Henryk Albin Tomaszewski (approx. PLN 20,000/EUR 4,303) or Michał Diamond (approx. PLN 25,000/EUR 5,379), but also seemingly ordinary vases, bases, or glasses are currently highly sought after by collectors, and their market value is rapidly increasing. The prices of works like Zbigniew Horbowy's epergne from the "Bałtyk" set (over PLN 22,000/EUR 4,733) and Henryk Wilkowski's decorative bottle (PLN 12,000/EUR 2,581) bear witness to this trend. Therefore, glass items demand separate, dedicated auctions, and beginning in 2022, we will hold periodic auctions of artistic and utility glass."

 

- Cezary Lisowski, Senior Specialist

 

 

Jewellery. Masterpieces of Art of 19th and 20th Century

 

"DESA Unicum hosts unique auctions of collector's jewelry. The collection includes items from the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Collectors can purchase unique objects from the past centuries, originating from Russia, France, and Austria. The auctions feature products by high-class goldsmiths, well-known jewelry houses, and works based on the projects of well-known artists.

 

In 2021, we sold a gold bracelet with colored stones and diamonds, which drew a lot of attention from our clients. The initial price of the item was PLN 16,000 (EUR 3,420). Eventually, it reached the amount of PLN 42,000 (EUR 8,977). This type of jewelry is particularly popular in the spring and summer.
 

Our auction offers earrings, rings, necklaces, and bracelets, as well as unique watches, brooches, and cufflinks. Collectibles, branded products, and items worn by well-known people or with a documented history are of particular value.

 

DESA Unicum is Poland's only auction house that holds up to six jewelry auctions per year. The auction catalogs are created thanks to Desa's specialists collaborating with stylists. In response to the growing interest in luxury watches among customers, we intend to host a special auction dedicated to them in the second half of 2022.
 

 

Magdalena Kuś, Senior Specialist

 

NFT Auctions

 

"In 2021, being a leader in the Polish art market and the eighth auction house in Central and Eastern Europe, DESA Unicum initiated an innovative project-the auction of NFT, which is a unique digital token that exists on a blockchain.
 

We have always seen the huge potential of new forms of digital art, which, due to technological limitations, could not be fully taken advantage of. We have been curiously following the development of blockchain technology, which guarantees the uniqueness of digital artworks by connecting them with a permanent and irreplaceable digital register. Tokenization of art opens a new chapter for the European digital art market. Not only will our activities enable increased trading of digital artworks in the form of tokens, but they will also give Polish and foreign artists new means of expression.


With this project in mind, we are currently beginning discussions with artists who create in various artistic media, from contemporary art to comic books. In March 2022, we intend to host an NFT-focused auction as the first auction house in Poland.

The first piece put up at the NFT auction was Paweł Kowalewski's 'Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing,' which also has a very intriguing backstory. The actual artwork was destroyed when the studio flooded, but thanks to new blockchain technology, it survived in digital form."
 

 

- Julia Materna, Head of the Special Projects Department

 

TEOFIL OCIEPKA, "PARADISE GARDEN" 1960, SOLD FOR PLN 82,600 (EUR 17,540)

 

Naive Art

 

"Since the end of the 19th century, non-professional artists, that is those who did not receive formal artistic training, and their works, associated with both folk art and art brut, have fascinated not only ethnographers and museologists but also collectors who eagerly purchase all visual expressions of this phenomenon. The sculpture, painting, and ceramic works of "primitives" or "outsiders" have always thrilled and inspired artists, including those who have graduated from academies of fine art. Despite being well-known among art historians, galleries, and private collectors, naive art has never been given much attention in the auction market. DESA Unicum has been holding auctions of amateur art on a regular basis since 2020. Teofil Ociepka is one of many artists whose works are still in high demand and fetch prices well above PLN 50,000 (EUR 10,617). We're organizing an auction devoted to this artistic trend in 2022."

 

- Julia Materna, Head of the Special Projects Department

 

Thematic Auctions

 

"Thematic auctions are particularly popular among the customers of Desa Unicum. They include various media, such as painting, sculpture, craft, fabric, and printmaking. Our project titled "1920s. 1930s" is devoted to the interwar period and was launched in September 2020. In 2021, we successfully organized the 'Zakopane. City in the Mountains' auction, which is dedicated to the highland art of Podhale. Thematic auctions attract collectors interested in a particular artistic theme or era. By focusing the offer on a specific catchphrase or idea, we can reach a larger number of collectors. We are pleased to see that our clients are becoming increasingly interested in thematic projects, as shown by the numerous records broken at our auctions, including the "1920s. 1930s." auction, during which we sold the 'Crafts' cycle by Zofia Stryjeńska (for almost PLN 830,000/EUR 176,250) as well as the painting 'Winter' by Rafał Malczewski, which reached the price of PLN 840,000/EUR 178,373 at the auction of Zakopane art."
 

 

- Julia Materna, Head of the Special Projects Department



Auctions of Collections

 

"In 2020 and 2021, DESA Unicum organized important auctions of collections. We were the first in the Polish art market to auction a collection of a financial institution – the mBank's Collection. The offer included a carefully chosen selection of art by old masters, contemporary artists, as well as furniture. The items put up for auction reached high prices, frequently shattering auction records.


A painting by Józef Brandt titled "Noble Host," which sold for over PLN 1,700,000 (EUR 363,330), was the auction's standout piece. This frequently displayed work presents the levy in mass of landowners and members of the nobility. By differentiating the physiognomy, costumes, and transported belongings, the artist was able to capture the multicolorism of the contemporary nobility and peasants. While paying close attention to historical details, Brandt also managed to create a composition that is substantive, as well as vital, colorful, and a bit melancholy. The painting "Town's market" by Stanisław Witkiewicz, which is unquestionably a remarkably unique item on the collector's market, was also included in the auction offer."
 

 

Julia Materna, Head of the Special Projects Department

 

Memorabilia

 

"DESA Unicum collects unique memorabilia related to various fields of culture and entertainment: music, film, theatre, famous people, or places. At the auction of memorabilia held by DESA Unicum in September 2020, nearly PLN 1.3 million (EUR 276,054) was paid for the Steinway & Sons pianoforte once owned by one of the greatest Polish pianists, Władysław Szpilman. It is the most expensive musical instrument ever sold at an auction in Poland. The pianoforte has a fascinating history because Władysław Szpilman used it daily during Warsaw Quintet rehearsals to practice, compose, and play music.
 

The pianoforte is not the only item left behind by this exceptional artist. At the auction, we presented many items belonging to the protagonist of "The Pianist". For instance, items that survived the Jewish ghetto, such as the Mont Blanc fountain pen and the Omega watch, score manuscript for the piano suite "Life of the Machines," cufflinks, and a set of the artist's favorite pipes."
 

 

Julia Materna, Head of the Special Projects Department

 

Comics

 

"Auctions of comics and illustrations are particularly associated with moral and political issues, as well as the search for ways to express oneself freely. These painted or drawn works on paper create an entire universe of literary, fantastical, and historical contexts. The presented worlds and heroes hold a special place in the hearts and minds of collectors who are also fascinated by them. Along with the growth of the Polish art market, the sector of comic books and illustrations is expanding, and prices are rising steadily. Created by Bogusław Polch, Funky Koval, turning the thoroughly drawn coin in his hands, is one of the most coveted comic strips. It was sold for PLN 35,000 (EUR 7,432). The painted, intricate depiction of the detective's half-face on the 1991 "Nowa Fantastyka" cover was sold for PLN 48,000 (EUR 10,192)."
 

 

Olga Winiarczyk, Auction Coordinator

ZBIGNIEW RYCHLICKI, "GROMADKA MISIA USZATKA", ILLUSTRATION, 1963, SOLD FOR PLN 5,310 (EUR 1,128)

 

Illustration

 

"Polish illustration is a phenomenon known as a "school" due to the artists' accomplishments on a global level. The artists, that is Józef Wilkoń, Adam Marczyński, Daniel Mróz, Zbigniew Lengren, Bohdan Butenko, Zbigniew Rychlicki are among the best in this artistic genre. Their illustrations were presented at international exhibitions, and the works featuring their art are still being relaunched. Illustrations have an increasing value due to their artistic, historical, and sentimental significance. Characters whose adventures have been published in the press or in books are particularly intriguing and likable. Fans of Miś Uszatek, the Floppy Bear, can be found worldwide, especially in Asia. Similarly, works of art that feature Professor Filutek or Gapiszon are highly sought-after, being a humorous account of communist Poland, a difficult but crucial period for our contemporary history."
 

 

Olga Winiarczyk, Auction Coordinator

 

We encourage you to put up items for the auction:

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We invite you to familiarize yourself with the process of selling art at auctions with DESA Unicum. 

How to sell a work of art at auction?