La Maison Tropicale, the Jean Prouvé-designed modernist movable metal house, has sold for $4.97M. While this fell right in the middle of the projected bid ($4 to 6M), Bloomberg.com noted this is "more than twice the price per area of a Park Avenue apartment." Guess that's expected when you buy real estate at Christie's.
Uma Thurman's ex and Cameron Diaz's latest maybe love interest, hotelier Andre Balazs, was the high bidder. Though he has no immediate plans for it, he said "it belongs back in the tropics.'' We think he should keep it in LIC (where it's been on view since May 17th) and make it a green boutique hotel.
Prior to last night's auction, the highest a Prouvé piece had ever gone for was $680K for a pair of green steel doors with the designer's signature porthole windows (in 2004 at Sotheby's). As far as residences go, this is only the third to be sold at auction as an art object. The others were a 1950 Philip Johnson-designed Manhattan townhouse for $3.5 million (re-auctioned at Christie's in 2000 for $11.1 million), and in 2003, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's 1951 glass Farnsworth house in Plano, Illinois went for $7.5 million at Sotheby's.
When Eric Touchaleaume originally purchased this and two other houses, they were in the Republic of the Congo and "in dismal condition, rusting, inhabited by squatters and riddled with bullet holes from civil wars." One is currently in the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The other he plans to restore, with help from the auction money, which will also go to fund a Prouvé study center.
Photograph by Tien Mao.