Huge Harry Bertoia sculpture sells for $125K at Rago auction

Harry Bertoia

Harry Bertoia steel sculpture screen, 1959, 136¾ x 55 x 30 inches. Sale Price: $125,000. Rago image

LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. – A Harry Bertoia monumental sculpture screen sold for $125,000 at Rago Arts and Auction Center’s Design Auctions the weekend of Jan. 19-20. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

The 11-foot-tall screen was from a set of 10 executed for the First National Bank of Miami in 1959. It was composed of several dozen melt-covered brass over steel panels hung from a central post like leaves on a tree. The sculpture was in excellent condition having a warm, even patina throughout. It once exhibited in “Bertoia: A Celebration of Sound and Motion” at Sotheby’s in 2014.

Among the pieces of furniture by George Nakashima (New Hope, Pa., 1905-1990) selling within expectations was a Conoid dining table of book-matched walnut and rosewood, which achieved $16.250. The tabletop measured 60 by 43½ inches. Provenance included an invoice and copies of the original drawings.

Harry Bertoia

George Nakashima Conoid dining table, walnut and rosewood, in good overall condition.
Sale Price: $16,250. Rago image

A fine large double-sided vessel by George Ohr (1857-1918) soared past its $6,000-$9,000 estimate to sell for $46,875. The piece, which measured 6¼ by 5½ by 3 inches, was stamped on the base “G.E. OHR, Biloxi, Miss.”

Harry Bertoia

George Ohr (1857-1918) pottery vessel, indigo, raspberry, and green glaze, 1890s,
Sale Price: $46,875. Rago image

Pictured on the cover of the book The Martin Brothers Potters by Malcolm Haslam, 1978, a 16-inch-tall bird tobacco jar from the Harriman Judd Collection, Los Angeles, sold for $50,000.

Harry Bertoia

Martin Brothers tall bird tobacco jar, England, ca. 1900, salt-glazed stoneware. Sale Price: $50,000. Rago image

A table lamp designed by Donald Deskey (1894-1989) for Deskey-Vollmer Inc. achieved $47,500 despite losses to chrome plating throughout. An example of this model is in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Harry Bertoia

Rare Donald Deskey lamp, ca. 1927, chromed brass, enameled wood, frosted and molded leaded glass, 11 x 8½ x 5¼ inches. Sale Price: $47,500. Rago image

Among the winners in the modern glass and ceramics session was a large blown glass Circus vase by Dan Dailey (b. 1947) that sold for twice the high estimate at $30,000.

Harry Bertoia

A glazed earthenware pillow pitcher by Betty Woodman (1930-2018) sold for $31,250, more than 10 times its high estimate. Professional restoration was noted to a 1 ¼-inch chip on the rim of the large vessel made in the 1970s.