On The Block: The Billings Winter Auction Is The Flea Market of Your Dreams


A design-driven collection of items from Mid-Century to Post Modern is on the block– and online– this week at Billings, the new Los Angeles auction house. Launched in September, Billings was co-founded by co-owners of The Window, Lorca Cohen and Greg Wooten, Joshua Kritzer of Rewire Gallery and LA dealer Rich Carmichael. The catalogue is online now and bidding is open. Items will be on view at Billings’ HQ in the LA Arts District from December 7-11, and the sale commences at 12:00 noon on Friday, December 12.

With a catalogue that ranges from global master like Eames and Nelson to Scarpa and Perriand, plus relative unknowns, it’s tempting to want everything. We’ve culled a very personal selection.

Small, But Choice: Lot 32 (at top) is a 20×24-inch acrylic on board by Elizabeth McCord (1914-2008) from 1974 and one of a series of four works in the sale by this underrated Venice color field painter. Below, Lot 218 is a classic pair of very desirable table lamps designed by Gerald Thurston for Lightolier, expected to fetch $900-$1,200.

This lean, elegant adjustable chrome floor lamp with its original shade was designed by the renowned Swiss designer Hans Eichenberger circa 1950. Lot 196 is expected to bring $700-$900.

Also plugged in, but very much in House of the Future mode, is this c.1952 GE electric kitchen on wheels. Roll it around (but don’t get too close to the pool) while cooking up retro goodies and debating whether it’s turquoise or aqua. Lot 240 is expected to sell for between $2,000-$3,000 and comes with the original user’s manual.

Lot 235: Better than any TV-tray table, these folding mahogany campaign tables designed by Stewart MacDonald for Drexel are an elegant solution for portable tables. C.1960 and expected to sell for $900-$1,200.

We’re completely in love with Lot 254, a c.1950 Danny Ho Fong dinette set in wrought iron and wicker, expected to sell for $1,200-$1,500. Fong Brothers, formerly known as Tropi-Cal, is a third-generation survivor and still in business in Los Angeles. One of Fong’s iconic Wave chairs is also in the sale.

Lot 278: Despite pundits saying the ‘80s are back, interest in Memphis Group has probably never been lower. Is this the moment to pick a cabinet by Peter Shire? This painted wood, marble and brass masterwork from the early years of that decade is estimated to bring between $4,000-$6,000.

Shades of SFMOMA: Evoking the medieval Japanese warrior class in marble and metal, this c.1980 “Shogun” lamp by Mario Botta for Artemide would round out any serious design collection. The Swiss Post Modern architect designed the museum’s original building on Third Street, one of his few buildings in the US. Lot 287 is expected to bring $1,500-$3,000.

Billings Winter Auction of Modern Art & Design
1919 Bay Street (in the LA Arts District)
Preview December 7-11, 10:00am-5:00pm
Sale at 12:00noon on December 12

More news: