On The Block: A Spectacular Doyle Lane Panel At LAMA This Month


The upcoming Modern Art + Design sale at Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) is full of good stuff, but the standout lot is this panel of tiles by Doyle Lane. The late ceramic artist’s work, under-valued in his lifetime, is undergoing a resurgence of interest with high auction prices plus the recent restoration and installation of a major work at the Huntington Library in San Marino.

Despite a lack of recognition, Doyle Lane (1925-2002) managed to eke out a hardscrabble living from his work. Lane struggled to sell his small weed pots– exquisite little pots that barely held more than a single branch– but his large-scale mural commissions from a coterie of architects would support him. An African-American and born in New Orleans, Lane moved to Los Angeles in his early ’20s, part of the great postwar diaspora from the South, attending college in Los Angeles and working as a glaze technician for a ceramics company; he maintained a studio in East Los Angeles for most of his life.

It was his ability to create larger scale works and his skill in glazes that made him so popular with architects. Lane knew how to manipulate the unpredictable finishes into luminous tiles, assembled into sweeping, glowing walls that architects loved. At top, Lot 117, at 36×74 inches and expected to sell for between $12,000-$18,000, is from a cache of tiles previously owned by Mid-Century architect Edward Fickett, one of Lane’s biggest clients. The Huntington Library recently installed Lane’s 8X17-foot Orange Wall (scroll down; third item) a 1964 commission from Welton Beckett And Associates for their Mutual Savings and Loan Bank in Pasadena.

Lane’s mastery of glazes are evident in his smallest works as well. Below, six of his engaging weed pots (from a lot of twelve pots total) realized  $2,040 in 2008. Prices have climbed steadily the intervening eight years, with Lane’s weed pots now selling for $1,500-$2,000 each. Sadly, there are no weed pots in this month’s sale.

More: Browse the LAMA catalogue. Bid online. There’s some great stuff here, ranging from works of art to furniture by all the big names, plus the small, iconic details that really make a MId-Century collection pop– like this classic George Nelson Fan wall clock.

May 22, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction
Los Angeles Modern Auctions
16145 Hart Street
Van Nuys, CA 91406

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