hey! wanna sell that chair?

how much do you want for that old chair?
Don't want to sell it?
You need it?
What do you mean you need it?
I'll give you enough money that you can buy a brand new chair!
You like this one?
Listen, I am prepared to give you 5 dollars for that chair.
I thought so....

5 dollars will go along way for all those kids you have....

How about that table at your friends house?
Think they will sell it?
(They don't have a dirt floor, 
I am really gonna have to step-up for this one....)
20 bucks?

But I need the chair too,
whaddya say we make it $25 for the set?

That old thing by the shed?
Just take it....

That crappy wall lamp.
How much?

This table....
I like it but it's in such 
and I have to get it
the way back to Paris.
What do you say we do 30 bucks?

It's in such
 I can't believe I said $30....

Your gonna throw 
this one in 
since I have been so generous?
Why you shouldn't have!

Look at all this old junk I have 

I'd be smiling too....

Oh yeah, what about these painted red louver thingies?
Those MUST be for sale....

AN IMPORTANT AND RARE DINING TABLE, MODEL 506manufactured by Atelier Jean Prouvé
ca. 1952
African wood and lacquered steel
80,000—120,000 USD
Lot Sold.  Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium:  110,500 USD

40,000—60,000 USD
Lot Sold.  Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium:  72,000 USD

Lot Description
A Padouk and Wrought-Iron Table, 1952
14 in. (35.5 cm.) high, 30¾ in. (78 cm.) diameter 
Unité d'Habitation Air France, Brazzaville. 
Price realized: $50,400


Cafétéria demountable chair, no. 300
Ateliers Jean Prouvé
France, c. 1952
enameled steel, ash
18.5 w x 19.75 d x 31.75 h inches

PROVENANCE: Galerie Downtown, Paris | Private collection, London
Estimate: $10,000–15,000
Result: $15,000

Louvered panel, 1952
Corrugated aluminum, painted steel, cast aluminum. 58 1/2 x 61 1/2 x 7 5/8 in. (148.6 x 156.2 x 19.4 cm)  Manufactured by Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé, Maxéville, France. Mounted on a contemporary metal stand.
ESTIMATE $20,000-25,000  
SOLD AT $25,000


  1. God I like to think I wouldn't, but then you think well how much would I offer. If it is $100 would that be enough. I guess I should't worry about it, as the $5 dollar guy always seems to get there before me anyway.

  2. 5 dollars will go along way for all those kids you have....?!??!!
    Oh, I love Westerners and their wit!

  3. Wow! fantastic buys! and you sold all that for thousands and more?! Amazing!

  4. This is so gross... I can't believe you blogged this. Typical bullshit American attitude. So fucking funny....
    Mondo Cane, You Suck.

  5. For a different view on this subject check out Maison Tropicale, Ângela Ferreira's work for the Portuguese pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2007.

  6. pickers delight.
    seems like shooting elefants or such and showing off.
    in their second expensive life today these pieces creak a bit when touched by the gnarled and perfumed soft fingers of their socialite owners..

  7. ANVE- Thanks for that video link. I had not seen that before. Very interesting.... Thanks!

  8. Damn. That's sobering. Raises a lot of important issues that continue to be a part of art/design history. The age-old tale of plundering for profit; A sad and constant part of our world. Who is that smiling guy in the last photo?!

  9. I'm kind of irked by the two anonymous comments about the ethics of buying Prouvé rarities from these citizens of Brazzaville. First, the auction prices realized above have little to do with the Mondo Blogo jokes or even the prices paid to the Congolese. The pictures are old, and certainly don't reflect the decades of value appreciation within a narrow market for modern design. A Congolese person probably wouldn't pay much different prices than the picker in this context, so are you suggesting simply because he is white and foreign and knowledgeable, he should pay more? Try that analogy with any item in any civilized country, and not only would it be illegal, it would be baldly racist.
    And if the sellers are too daft to rethink the prices (or back out of the sale altogether) when this foreigner gets all giddy and suddenly wants to ship all this old furniture thousands of miles, they are not much for business.
    To the irate anonymous commenter: you're inadvertently perpetuating the stereotype that Africans are child-like.
    I doubt you would act much differently at some philistine's yardsale where he had a Picasso or something of obvious value, but who knows? Maybe you're websurfing from your antiques coop and community outreach center in Brazzaville itself, funded by selling African sculpture for enormous profit at Sotheby's.
    Look at definition of Fair Market Value. You are not required to educate the seller about their wares, and there is nothing preventing them from learning about Prouvé or his esteem in the design community, especially when they are literally surrounded by examples of his work in a Francophonic country.

  10. Hi JD I take your point - the anonymous that attacked Mondo Blogo just did not get it or the cutting humor, maybe they do not follow this blog. so enough said.

    BUT I do think there is a balance. Of course these buying prices are hypothetical but instead of the $5 some people get away with they, could give $100. Still a tidy profit and leave the seller thinking.. gee those guys are stupid they overpaid me for this. Not because they are naive to the value of design, but perhaps because we are to the value of survival. I think on that scale of a find win-win cane exist.

  11. You know, this isn't all. Chandigar's been getting picked clean of its Le Corbusier furniture, fixtures--and manhole covers for years now.

    The part where pickers bribe petty bureaucrats to look the other way while they load their offices and guest houses into a truck makes me angry; but the part where pickers save or salvage the same furniture from garbage bins and government surplus sales makes me want to thank them. The part where some random Chandigarhian is walking home drunk and falls into an open manhole because some dealer wants to make a fast EUR18000 at Artcurial, well...


  12. superpicker1/16/11, 8:50 PM

    Some of you are acting like these pickers are clubbing seals. It's just furniture. If someone wants to pay crazy money for it great. if that means someone else needs to travel to Africa, find it, negotiate for it & then get it all shipped back to the buyer/auction house/gallery shouldn't they get rewarded handsomely for there effort? & as someone who has bribed his way into an estate sale early once or twice I'm not going to judge the pickers in India either. It's Le Corbusier for crying out loud. As for typical American attitude, where are you from? & How do you maker a living? Not hustling fetish items I mean fine design I would guess.