SAN RAFAEL, Calif. – In a 1961 article, Playboy magazine delighted in the “exuberance, finesse and high imagination characterized in design today.” It further asserted, “Today, design is more likely to reflect great good spirits than profound philosophies.” Fine Estate Inc. will offer a collection of iconic examples of this mid-century ideal in their auction on Sunday, May 26. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
Furniture highlights include the Sputnik era “Constellation” brass inlaid table (above) by British designer T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings (estimate $5,000-$6,000), Arredoluce’s 1947 three-light anthropomorphic semaphore Triennale lamp (below), and a pair of sinuous glass topped walnut side tables by Vladimir Kagan (estimate $3,000-$5,000).
An 50th anniversary example of an Eames Lounge chair and ottoman, designed for Herman Miller by Charles and Ray Eames in 1956 will be offered (estimate $3,000-$5,000). Also available will be a glass top coffee table, embodying Isamu Noguchi’s biomorphic work for Herman Miller (estimate $1,000-$2,000). Lewis Black’s work for Florence Knoll is represented by his visually and structurally simple Lounge Chair 645 (estimate $2,000-$4,000).
Other notable mid-century designers included in the auction are Edward Wormley, Frank Lloyd Wright, George Nelson and James Mont. Additionally, a signed circa 1970 three-piece suite of ring and earrings by master jeweler Arthur King with cat’s-eye chrysoberyl and diamonds set in naturalistic 18K gold has an estimate of $1,800-$2,500; A rare Buccellati silver tureen will be offered with an estimate of $5,000-$7,000.
This mid-century collection, largely drawn from a private collection in Belvedere, California, is part of a 400-plus auction of fine art, silver, pottery Asian decorative arts and fine books, which includes a highly limited edition complete 60-volume edition Definitive of the Works of Charles Dickens (estimate $15,000-$20,000). Published in New York by R.G. Newbegin Co. in 1902 this set is (below) number 14 of only 15 sets printed. As an added bonus, the lot includes a signed handwritten letter by Dickens to Lord Cockburn and a £5 check made out to “self.”
A 30-volume blue morocco bound set of Victor Hugo’s works (estimate $3,000-$50,00) was published in Boston by Estes and Lauriat. This rare edition is number 2 of only 25 sets printed.
For collectors of a more modern mindset, the auction features 10 lots of books about Star Wars and George Lucas. Many of the books are signed and inscribed by George Lucas; they come from the collection of a senior staff member at Lucas films.
For details contact Fine Estate Inc. at 415-419-501.