Collection of Famed Sydney Opera House Architect Jørn Utzon Heads to Auction

Many of Jørn Utzon's contemporaries were accomplished artists and designer Photo: Bruun Rasmussen

The private art and furniture collection of the famed architect and designer of Sydney Opera House Jørn Utzon is going under the hammer at Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers in Copenhagen in June.

Built upon Utzon’s refined taste and close personal relationships to many renowned artists and designers, the Dane’s collection includes pieces from the likes of Le Corbusier, Georges Braque, Fernand Léger, Henri Laurens, Pablo Picasso, Asger Jorn, and Alvar Aalto.

The highlight of the collection is doubtlessly a tapestry by Le Corbusier titled Les dés sont jetés (the dice is cast) (1960) which Le Corbusier created when the pair collaborated on the decoration of the Sydney Opera House. The tapestry has been estimated at $100,000 – $116,000.

The sale also includes a clay figure by Henri Laurens, personally acquired from the artist by the architect and his wife during a trip to Paris.

Utzon was also a frequent guest at Pablo Picasso’s studio in the south of France, where he bought a variety of works from the Spanish artist. The auction includes a ceramic pitcher, Pitchet gothique aux oiseaux (1953)—estimated to sell at $10,890—as well as several graphic works.

A series of 16 lithographs titled Jubilaeums-serien (Anniversary Series) (1963) given to Utzon by the Danish artist Asger Jorn are included in the sale too.

Furniture highlights include pieces by the Finnish designer and Utzon’s close friend Alvar Aalto. Fans of Scandinavian design can bid on a pair of rare leather armchairs, estimated to sell at $36,000 to $43,500, as well as exclusive prototypes by the designer.

The preview runs from May 28 to June 1, followed by the auction from June 9-11.

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