On The Block: Modern Design From Wright On March 26th


Wright, the eminent Chicago auction house specializing in modern design, is offering a selection of objects and furniture on March 26th that range from the blue chip to slightly obscure, but all beautiful. With so many objects to covet (and bid on) the catalogue also succeeds in capturing the optimistic zeitgeist of post-WWII Modernism. We’ve chosen a few standouts.

Lot 114: A pair of pedigreed lounge chairs (at top) by Swiss architect Pierre Jeanneret. Made in the mid-’50s for the government offices in Chandigarh, the new capitol of the Punjab designed (mostly) by Jeanneret’s cousin and longtime associate, Le Corbusier. In teak and cane, the pair is both warm and boldly sculptural, estimated to sell for $10,000 to $15,000, and just one of a number of lots from the Chandigarh project in the sale.

Lot 120: A spectacular sideboard in welded and enameled steel by American sculptor and designer Paul Evans, manufactured by Directional in 1972. At 84 inches long, the slate-topped cabinet is both enormous and glamorous, reflecting the best in American crafts at the time and the nascent Brutalist Style in architecture. Theirs was a unique relationship, Evans had complete control and supervision over his designs from start to finish even though Directional was a furniture manufacturer, and this signed piece is expected to fetch between $20,00 and $30,000.

Lot 124: A charming table c.1960 (below, left) crafted in walnut and slate by Philip Lloyd Powell, a colleague and studio mate ot Paul Evans. Small and light enough to be lifted around a room, the handle makes it a one-handed task and it’s expected to sell for $2,000 to $3,000. Also by Powell, Lot 128 is a spritely trio of 16-inch high candlesticks in walnut and brass from 1970, expected to bring $1,500 to $2,000.

Meanwhile, 6,000 miles away, the Northern Italian firm Arredoluce produced Lot 215, a plump portable table lamp modeled on a lantern, also with a handle, and the c.1960 lamp is expected to bring between $2,000 and $3,000. Arredoluce was founded in 1950 as a manufacturer specializing in the most modern metal and glass lighting design for a sophisticated Milanese middle class, and is probably best known for their slender pole lamps topped with multiple, moveable lamps, some of which are in this sale as well.

Lot 159: As graceful and optimistic as gazelles and dated 1945, this set of dining chairs designed by Ico Parisi were among the first pieces of furniture produced in Italy after WWII. He and his wife Luisa were the the Ray and Charles Eames of Italy, combining cutting edge manufacturing techniques with elegant, anthropomorphic design. The set of lacquered chairs is expected to sell for between $5,000 to $7,000.

Lot 309: Just as Parisi’s chairs have their own, distinctively Northern Italian profile, this set of dining chairs in teak, steel, and leather could only have come from Denmark. By the great Danish designer Poul Kjaerholm and manufactured in 1957, they’re expected to bring $20,000 to $30,000.

Probably the most recently produced piece in the sale is Lot 359, a folding travel desk by Rene Dumas of Hermès. They may started out as saddle makers in 1837, but many people are unaware that the legendary French firm also produced custom leather furniture for Jean-Michel Frank in the 1930s and outfitted safaris for maharajas with everything from luggage to folding chairs. So it’s not just about collectible silk scarves and Presidential neckties, this pear wood and leather objet de luxe is expected to bring $7,000 to $9,000. We don’t expect to find it coming down an airport baggage carrousel any time soon.

Lot 392: The catalogue is loaded with objects and furniture you’ve never laid eyes on before, and some you have, but we’ve never seen a Paul McCobb chaise like this. Designed for Directional in 1955, the lacquered wood and brass piece is expected to fetch between $3,000 and $4,000.

Modern Design
1440 W Hubbard St
Chicago, IL 60642

March 19-26, 2015 from 10:00am-5:00pm
Auction, March 26, 2015, 12:00noon CST

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