LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. — Rago‘s Spring Design series of sales — Early 20th Century Design on Thursday, May 11 and Modern Design on Friday, May 12 — will bring multiple important works to auction, including art pottery and ceramics from George Ohr, Toshiko Takaezu, and Saturday Evening Girls; furniture from Wendell Castle, Paul Evans, and George Nakashima; and glass from Lino Tagliapietra and Dan Dailey. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Rago’s Early 20th Century Design sale features two exceptional works from Ohr, a handled green vase estimated at $35,000-$40,000 and a volcanic glazed vase estimated at $25,000-$35,000, which showcase the singular maker’s experimental style. Another standout in the realm of ceramics, made by Leona Nicholson for the Newcomb College Pottery in 1908, is an early and tall vase with irises. Estimated at $19,000-$24,000, it captures reverence for nature’s beauty in a rich palette of glazes, exemplifying the celebrated pottery’s excellence in craftsmanship.
Early 20th Century Design also features an impressive offering of works by the Saturday Evening Girls, including a scenic vase estimated at $15,000-$20,000; a center bowl with roosters estimated at $10,000-$15,000; and a large charger with a Viking ship, estimated at $12,000-$16,000. Born from the desire to offer education and social events for the predominantly immigrant, working-class women in Boston’s North End, the Saturday Evening Girls began as a reading group that evolved into a celebrated pottery where young women learned ceramic techniques and enjoyed stable employment with provided meals and paid vacations. Today, their works are celebrated as exemplary works of the American Arts & Crafts Movement, executed in rich colors on forms that were either wheel-thrown or shaped in molds.
Tiffany Studios is well-represented, with many works of glass and clay, including a four-light Tulip table lamp estimated at $20,000-$25,000; two Greek key table lamps, both estimated at $10,000-$15,000; a Scarab inkwell estimated at $8,000-$10,000; and a rustic flower holder estimated at $8,000-$10,000.
Among the highlights of Modern Design are Lino Tagliapietra’s 2019 glass sculpture Manhattan Sunset 2, estimated at $100,000-$150,000; Wendell Castle’s Match point bench, which has an estimate of $50,000-$70,000; a magnificent cabinet by Wharton Esherick, estimated at $40,000-$60,000; the 1988 glass sculpture Cross Head by Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtova, which has been assigned an estimate of $40,000-$60,000; and ceramics by Toshiko Takaezu from a Princeton collection, including an untitled closed form made circa 1961 and estimated at $15,000-$20,000 and a piece titled Blue Moon that carries an estimate of $6,000-$8,000.
Works by New Hope, Pennsylvania craftsmen make a strong showing, not least with works by Paul Evans and Phillip Lloyd Powell from the Rina and Norman Indictor collection as well as George Nakashima works from the Bill and Sue Western collection. To complement these significant offerings, Rago will be hosting a special symposium on Saturday, May 6, featuring Mira Nakashima, Miriam Carpenter and Robert Aibel discussing the American craft furniture movement. All net proceeds from this ticketed event will benefit the Nakashima Foundation for Peace.
In addition to the Nakashima Foundation for Peace, Rago is supporting several causes through benefit lots featured in its May 12 Modern Design auction. Lots 649 to 659 comprise the Smithsonian Women’s Committee Visionary Benefit Auction, and features works from past and present Smithsonian Visionary and Delphi Award winners to benefit programming across multiple departments of the national institution. These include sculptures by this year’s Delphi Award winner Amber Cowan, as well as works from Wendell Castle, Chunghi Choo, David Ellsworth, Mary Lee Hu, Patti Warashina and Toots Zynsky.
The special section titled Unbreakable Ukraine offers works donated by prominent glass artists from around the world, which will be sold to benefit the Glass Museum in Lviv, Ukraine. Contributing artists include Michael Aschenbrenner, Latchezar Boyadjiev, Peter Bremers, Wilfried Grootens, Steve Linn and others.
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