PHILADELPHIA, Pa.—On June 8, Freeman’s presents a Select Design auction beginning at 11 am Eastern time, featuring 19 carefully chosen lots of fine 2oth century design pieces. It includes 11 works by George Nakashima, as well as pieces by Tiffany Studios, Samuel Yellin, and Michael Graves, among others. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Freeman’s is well-known for its presentation and sale of Nakashima furniture; in 2020 alone, the auction house sold 67 works by the renowned New Hope furniture maker. The Select Design sale underscores this reputation for careful stewardship of Nakashima furniture. An auction highlight is an exceptional 1961 conoid desk, in which a characteristic asymmetrical design is rendered in English walnut, American black walnut, rosewood, and hickory; it is estimated at $60,000-$80,000.
Another example is a special Minguren I coffee table, featuring a striking oval table top made of Oregon myrtle and American black walnut—referencing Nakashima’s upbringing in the Pacific Northwest, but constructed in his longtime Pennsylvania-based studio. The Minguren I coffee table is estimated at $30,000-$50,000. With an impressive concentration of these works, the Select Design sale is an unmissable auction for serious collectors of Nakashima.
An exquisite wrought iron firescreen for R.T. Walder, made by Samuel Yellin in 1929, is another highlight of the sale. Carrying an estimate of $40,000-$60,000, the screen’s construction and design stands apart from other known Yellin examples, notably the fairly delicate gauge of iron (not greater than a quarter-inch throughout) and a striking silhouetting of the design in two dimensions. The U-shaped structure frames a zoomorphic design of twin dragon head terminals with flared nostrils, raised above a pair of four-claw feet. The screen’s whereabouts were unknown before it was rediscovered in Bucks County and subsequently brought to Freeman’s; its sale is a remarkable opportunity to collect work by this significant Philadelphia metalworker.
This select auction features a number of notable 20th century designs, including a five-piece Tea and Coffee Piazza set designed by Michael Graves and commissioned and produced by Alessi, estimated at $15,000-$25,000; a Tiffany Studios Peacock mirror from circa 1905, estimated at $10,000-$15,000; and furniture and statement pieces by Paul Evans, June Schwarcz, Vladimir Kagan, and Claude Conover.
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