On The Block: Blackman Cruz And Wright Auction Collaboration Is Fabulous


As interior designers and dealers, and makers of objects and furniture, Adam Blackman and David Cruz have developed a worldly, seductive styleone that pulls together the worn, the shiny, the sacred, the profane and the just plain beautiful. For Wright, the esteemed auction house in Chicago, the duo has put together a collection of items that really tell the story of their aesthetic. Preview the selected exhibition at Blackman Cruz in Los Angeles (at 836 North Highland Avenue) until April 21. The sale will take place in Chicago at Wright’s premises on April 21.

Browse the catalogue online, it’s loaded with surprises and the selection of favorites we’ve chosen here barely scratches the surface. 

If chairs could talk: Who knew gangster Al Capone had a weekend place in rural Wisconsin called The Hideout? Above and below, a pair of gnarled wood chairs that once graced the notorious tastemaker’s lakefront lodge are expected to bring between $10,000 and $15,000. [Lot 179]

Accompanied by a Tramp Art chest with glass knobs—evocative, but lacking that criminal provenance—[Lot 135] is expected at $5,000 to $7,000 and the Italian wooden ballot box [Lot 134] on top of the chest is estimated at $1,000 to $1,500.

David Cruz’s interest in religious iconography is reflected in the sale. There are skulls, skull lamps, and some spectacular mirrors, but the standout is [Lot 181], the gold-leafed wood Crown of Thorns mirror he designed in 2000. Hand-carved and gilded in Blackman Cruz’s workshops, the 37-inch high mirror is part of an edition of five. Estimated at $8,000 to $10,000.

Monumentally scaled at 170 inches wide, this breathtaking glass mosaic mural by John Smith once adorned the private Los Angeles Petroleum Club’s suite in the Statler Hotel. C.1952, [Lot 226] is estimated to fetch between $30,000 and $40,000.

On a much smaller scale, these four tiles (each 7×7 inches square) designed by Gio Ponti for the Italian ceramics manufacturer Richard Ginori would make us just as happy. [Lot 251] is expected to sell for between $4,000 and $6,000.

It’s not every day a piece of furniture makes us want to light up a cigar, but this Victorian leather settee might do the trick if a bottle of whiskey and a roaring fire were nearby. On the other hand, it’s sculptural enough to fill an otherwise empty white space. Like our foyer. C.1890s, [Lot 107] is estimated at $10,000 to $15,000.

We love that these guys are unafraid of patina, wear, and scale—as in the Dutch designer Gerard Van Den Berg’s immense leather sofa from 1970. [Lot 128] is expected to bring $7,000 to $9,000.

There are big pieces, but there’s a multitude of highly covetable small stuff, like this collection of brass bowls with ceramic inlay by Pepe Mendoza. Dated 1958, [Lot 321] is a mashup of the Mid-century and the Mayan and is estimated at $4,000 to $6,000. The Mexican metalsmith’s work is represented in a number of items in the sale—including this killer pair of table lamps below [Lot 326] estimated at $5,000 to $7,000.

Slightly surreal and sinister, a pair (below) of sconces designed by Blackman Cruz recalls the great French tradition of bronze, wall-mounted fixtures, and Chinese imagery, but uses LEDs instead of candles. [Lot 234] ( the pair) is expected to bring $7,000 to $9,000.

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