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However, by the Fifties she had become the epitome of Parian neo-romantic chic with a progressive atelier in the Marais and an upmarket boutique on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Vogue called her ‘the poetess of metal’.

Vautrin is particularly well known for her Petit Roi Soleil mirrors – made from the 1950s-70s in a material she called talosel, which comprised layers of cellulose acetate that she carved, gouged, moulded and encrusted with coloured mirrored glass.

Now hugely popular, they have made some very substantial sums in specialist 20th century designs sale in Paris and New York.

Three of these dominated the sale at South Bay Auctions (25% buyer’s premium) in East Moriches, New York on October 25 making multi-estimate sums.

A relatively large 22in convex mirror sailed past a $5000 top estimate to bring $78,000 (£64,300) while a similar pair measuring 12in each brought $66,000 (£54,400). All three pieces had an incised signature and Vautrin’s ROI tag.


Mary Lee Abbott oil and oilstick on paper, acquired directly from the artist. Sold for $20,000 (£16,500) at South Bay Auctions.

The other big winners at the South Bay sale featuring items from a number of New York estates were the Ab-Ex artist Mary Lee Abbott (1921- 2019) and the German-American mid-century designer Vladimir Kagan (1927-2016).

Today Abbott’s name rarely appears in the same bracket as Jackson Pollock or Willem de Kooning but in the late 1940s and 1950s she was part of the inner circle of the New York School.

One of only three women included in ‘The Artist’s Club’ that met regularly at the Cedar Tavern in Greenwich Village, she later recalled: “Generally speaking the women at the Club weren’t treated differently than anyone else – an artist was an artist.

“Sometimes you might get treated like a girl because you were pretty. I was chosen to collect the dues and go buy the booze because I was pretty and the guys would pay up if I asked them to. Other times you had to be tough to be taken seriously”, Abbott said.

The three untitled and unframed abstract works on paper offered here dated from the 1950s and had been acquired directly from the artist. All were signed in pencil, either to the lower right and featured the bright colours that Abbott said were inspired by nature and particularly the time she had spent travelling in the Caribbean. They sold at prices between $9200 and $20,000 (£7600-16,500) each.

Four works by Vladimir Kagan came for sale from the same source. They included an example of the Serpentine sofa that – as one of the first curved sofas on the market – was Kagan’s ‘breakthrough’ piece that led to Kegan’s commissions for such stars as Marilyn Monroe and Gary Cooper.

Serpentine was first designedc.1952 and manufactured by Kagan- Drefuss at Long Island City, New York. The example here in cream leather upholstery made $8200 (£6750), selling to an internet bidder.

Also sold via the LiveAuctioneers platform were an example of Kagan’s, Crescent coffee table with a walnut frame and a top made from bronze and orange to black Venetian glass tiles ($9200/£7600) and a walnut and cream linen upholstered Contour rocking chair and matching foot stool ($5600/£4600).