Rago/Wright alliance produces $1.4M American Craft auction

American Craft

Paul Evans, sculpture front cabinet. Estimate: $100,000-$150,000. Sold for $125,000. Rago/Wright image

LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. – The first co-branded Rago/Wright auction, Masterworks of American Craft achieved a sales total of $1,436,345 on Nov. 22. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

Masterworks of American Craft is a new auction venue for the recently merged firms. The concept makes the most of their combined expertise and audience paired with innovation and style to present more than 100 years of extraordinary craftsmanship. The highly curated sale featured 43 lots and explored a variety of mediums and fields with works by Paul Evans (above), Harry Bertoia (below), George Nakashima, Viola Frey, George Ohr, Tiffany Studios, University City, Wendell Castle and Dale Chihuly, among others.

American Craft

Harry Bertoia ‘Untitled (Kinetic Form).’ Estimate: $100,000-$150,000. Sold for $150,000. Rago/Wright image

The sale enjoyed strong interest with more than 100 bidders participating in house, by phone or live online using Wright’s own bidding platform or third party sites. The top lot of the sale was Snake River, an impressive sculptural form by Peter Voulkos. After several minutes of phone bids, an online bidder swooped in to win the work at $250,000, more than four times its estimate.

American Craft

Peter Voulkos, ‘Snake River.’ Estimate: $50,000-$70,000. Sold for $250,000. Rago/Wright image

The bid activity was strong for many of the sale’s lots. Other notable results from the sale include an early kinetic sculpture by Harry Bertoia that sold for $150,000. The exceptional Persian Installation, Poggianti-Schulman Wall by Dale Chihuly which sold for $87,500, and a Rare Lobster and Crab enameled box by Tiffany Studios also achieved $87,500.

American Craft

Dale Chihuly, ‘Persian Installation.’ Estimate: $40,000-$60,000. Sold for $87,500. Rago/Wright image

“Masterworks of American Craft is an interesting area of collecting that is really worth celebrating. Not only does it speak to the audiences at Rago and Wright but it also is the perfect marriage for the skillsets that we each bring to the table. We are excited to add this sale to our calendar and look forward to the next one in May of 2020,” said Richard Wright.

American Craft

Tiffany Studios Lobster and Crab Box. Estimate: $30,000-$50,000. Sold for $87,500. Rago/Wright image

“This was a very strong sale, especially considering it was the first of a new series. We broke out pieces from our regular Modern sales, running for nearly 25 years, to make a special presentation of the best material of this particular genre, American craft. The response was beyond encouraging and we expect to hold two each year moving forward,” said David Rago.