CHICAGO – Wright’s special presentation auction titled Shaping Stoneware: The Ceramic Forms of Claude Conover was an unprecedented success, achieving outstanding results that broke multiple records and far surpassed expectations. The auction realized a sale total of $1,228,600, with 100% sold by lot and 407% sold by value. All works exceeded their high estimate.
Curated by Adam Edelsberg, Conover’s monumental vessels and sculpture were presented alongside archival materials and new scholarship, including a limited edition catalog with an essay from Glenn Adamson. Additionally, a fall preview exhibition was mounted at New York’s High Line Nine. The enthusiastic response to this boutique event speaks not only to the exceptional and enduring quality of Conover’s work, but to collectors’ eager appetite for authentic discovery, contextualization, and experience in the marketplace.
Described by Glenn Adamson as an “alternative protagonist” of midcentury ceramics, Claude Conover made his first pot in 1959 and went on to steadily, steadfastly create a body of sublimely powerful forms. During the course of the past two decades, Adam Edelsberg encountered and then dedicated himself to uncovering Conover’s exquisite oeuvre, led by a keen eye, voracious curiosity and a bit of luck.
The auction’s highest achiever was Conover’s chalky, engobe-decorated Rare Oltah vessel. The stoneware work realized an ambitious $87,500, more than quadrupling its high estimate of $18,000. The Rare Uchben vessel followed closely, realizing $75,000 — more than seven times its high estimate of $10,000. The previous world auction record for any work by Conover was the Uilku vessel that realized $53,125 at Rago Auctions in 2015. No type of work was left behind: Conover’s lamps, stools, and a closed-form sculpture all commanded lively bidding and robust results. Each work is accompanied by a digital copy of Conover’s original inventory card documenting its specific characteristics and date of creation.
“I am thrilled and encouraged by this response to our presentation of Claude Conover,” said Richard Wright, “It is incredibly gratifying to see an artist of Conover’s ability be recognized and given his due.”
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