LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. – With a total of $10 million, more than double the high estimate, and a 89% sell-through rate, Rago’s Early 20th Century Design and Modern Design auctions illustrate the continued strength of the design market. The highlight of the two-day auction event, which took place May 13-May 14, was the record sale of an important Tiffany Studios Dandelion lamp from the 1900 Exposition in Paris. One of only two known monumental examples, the lamp, which measured almost 30 inches tall and carried an estimate of $50,000-$75,000, brought in $3,745,000–a new world record. (Linked images reflect the hammer prices of each lot.)
A set of The Pine tiles by Addison LeBoutillier for Grueby sold for $81,250; a Wisteria tile by Adelaide Robineau sold for $75,000; a storage jar by David Drake, aka Dave the Potter, sold for $68,750; and several vases by George E. Ohr brought noteworthy results in the May 13 session.
The momentum generated by early 20th century design continued into the May 14 session of Modern design. An early monumental sculpture by Peter Voulkos created in 1957, the same year he and John Mason created a studio with a walk-in kiln, sold for more than double its estimate at $400,000. An important and early Sculpture Front cabinet, one of the first three ever made by Paul Evans, brought in $312,500, while a Frenchman’s Cove II dining table and a set of eight Conoid dining chairs by George Nakashima sold for $131,250 and $106,250 respectively, proving that his artistry is still very much in demand.
Contemporary Glass continues to excel at Rago with a custom Persian and Horn chandelier by Dale Chihuly selling for $125,000. Semi-Reclining Dress Impression by Karen LaMonte brought $62,500, and works by William Morris achieved notable results, with his Artifact Bundle selling for $45,000 and his Rhyton Vessel garnering $50,000.
Rago also included two groupings of works sold to benefit other organizations. For the third year in a row, Rago hosted the Smithsonian Women’s Committee Visionary Benefit Auction, featuring a selection of works by Visionary and Delphi award recipients. In total, the auction brought in $85,000, all of which goes to support projects of the Smithsonian institution.
On the local front, Rago teamed with the Friends of Ely Park Giving Tree Project to present a selection of works created by local artisans from a centuries-old London Plane tree felled in 2014. All $35,000 from the sale of these works benefit the Jim Hamilton Memorial Shad Fest Scholarship Fund, which awards two $10,000 scholarships to local students pursuing a degree in the arts.
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