Two stools and two armchairs designed by Le Corbusier’s cousin Pierre Jeanneret and procured from the city went under the hammer in the US on June 6.
Put to auction along with around 1,000 heritage items, including two other items from the city, the four items fetched around `8 lakh ($12,300).
The auction, organised by Ohio-based Treadway Gallery, was held in Chicago in partnership with John Toomey Gallery. According to information available on treadwaygallery.com, six items -- two stools, including one from Panjab University, an office desk and two armchairs from the Chandigarh administrative building (UT secretariat) and a manhole cover -- were put to auction from the city.
While the stools were pegged at $1,200-1,500, they went for approximately `1.32 lakh ($2,000) and `1.24 lakh ($1,900). The two armchairs, pegged at $1500-2000, too, got higher bids and went for `2.53 lakh ($3,900) and `2.92 lakh ($4,500).
The manhole cover (pegged at $7,000-9,000) and desk ($5,000-6,000), however, had no takers and remained unsold.
This was not the first time that heritage items belonging to the city were sold in the US. Chicago-based Wrights Auction House has earned crores selling such items.
On the part of the UT administration, meanwhile, the lone move to preserve the heritage furniture has been to ask all institutes to form an inventory of such items. This, too, was announced way back in 2011 and since then nothing much has been done. Members of the committee looking after this process said they were documenting the inventory under different types of furniture and so far they have identified 130 types.
City-based lawyer Ajay Jagga, who has taken up the issue a number of times, said: “Just making an inventory and passing orders will not help. The officials concerned need to show will to stop the auctioning of city’s heritage items abroad.”