Press release -
Musical Design Treasure Sets New World Record
Bruun Rasmussen’s 70th anniversary auction concluded on a high note as Danish design came under the hammer Thursday evening. A musical instrument garnered quite a lot of the attention during a bidding round where it was knocked down for several million Danish kroner.
The auction's absolute highlight ended up being the sale of a grand piano created by the lighting designer Poul Henningsen (popularly known as "PH"). A fierce and 20-minute-long bidding battle between two phone bidders ended with a new world record for the "PH grand piano" with a hammer price of DKK 2,450,000 (EUR 430,000 including buyer’s premium).
The attention-grabbing instrument is a testimony to Henningsen's functionalism and was designed in 1931 as a way to deal with the lack of space in the small jazz venues. The lid and sheet holder are made of plexiglass to allow eye contact between the pianist and bass player, and the welded steel legs allowed room for the drummer's bass drum right next to the grand piano. At the same time, the leather on the sides of the piano made it easier to handle when transported from place to place.
Famous Players on the Piano
The piano in question was used at the restaurant "Belle Terrasse" in Tivoli, Copenhagen, during the period 1952-1997, where famous guests and musicians, such as Victor Borge, Liberace and Herbert von Karajan, sat down and had a go at the keys.
"This is a world record for Poul Henningsen at an auction and the highest hammer price for a piece of design here in Denmark. It is quite clear that we struck a chord here. Of course, the high hammer price is due to two passionate and stubborn bidders, but the provenance of the piano also played a part, as many iconic names of cultural history have been in contact with this grand piano. The hammer price is an example of how hard it can be to put a value on star power," says Peter Kjelgaard, Head of the Modern Design Department at Bruun Rasmussen.
Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers is one of Scandinavia’s leading international auction houses, and one of Denmark’s oldest. It all started on 6 October 1948, when Arne Bruun Rasmussen conducted the first traditional auction in the saleroom at Bredgade 33 in Copenhagen. Today, Jesper Bruun Rasmussen stands at the helm of the family-run business together with the third generation of the family, his son Frederik and daughter Alexa, and the company’s CEO Jakob Dupont.
In 2004, the first online auction was launched, and today the auction house has expanded to include departments in Copenhagen and Aarhus and representations in Sweden, Germany, England, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Spain, Italy, Thailand and the US. About 100,000 lots are put up for auction each year at the traditional auctions and daily online auctions. Here you can bid on everything from art, antiques, modern design and jewellery to books, coins, stamps, wine and weaponry.