Toomey & Co. readies powerful Art & Design lineup, Dec. 13

Hugh Garden for Teco Pottery, jardinier with water lilies, model 86, estimated at $15,000-$20,000

Hugh Garden for Teco Pottery jardiniere with water lilies, estimated at $15,000-$20,000

CHICAGO – On Tuesday, December 13, Toomey & Co. will present Art & Design, an expertly curated selection of important works by artists, designers and architects who have helped define their respective fields for more than a century. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Auction highlights include an Isamu Noguchi sculpture titled Little Walking Box (Arukidasu kobako); a pair of weed holders by Frank Lloyd Wright; an early chest by Gustav Stickley; Pierre Jeanneret’s Committee table from Chandigarh; and Ivan Albright’s oil on canvas, Lobster Salad. The auction also features a range of exceptional works by Adler & Sullivan, Ernest Batchelder, Phillip Lloyd Powell, Jean Prouve, Pablo Picasso, Rufino Tamayo and Teco Pottery.

Chandelier from the Batchelder House, created by Ernest Batchelder and Douglas Donaldson, estimated at $25,000-$35,000

Chandelier from the Batchelder House, created by Ernest Batchelder and Douglas Donaldson, estimated at $25,000-$35,000

Isamu Noguchi created Little Walking Box (Arukidasu kobako) in 1952 while staying with his new bride, actress Yoshiko Yamaguchi, in a farmhouse owned by noted ceramicist Kitaoji Rosanjin in Kamakura, Japan. Noguchi established a studio and had access to Rosanjin’s kilns. In September of 1952, the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura hosted a major exhibition of Noguchi’s ceramic sculptures and lighting. Little Walking Box was among the works on display in this important show.

Isamu Noguchi, ‘Little Walking Box (Arukidasu kobako),’ estimated at $100,000-$200,000


Isamu Noguchi, ‘Little Walking Box (Arukidasu kobako),’ estimated at $100,000-$200,000

Handcrafted in Shigaraki stoneware, a clay found in the Kamakura region and dating as far back as 1192-1333, the expressive form is reminiscent of Japanese stone lamps called Ishidoro that were initially installed in temples and shrines and later in gardens, along pathways and near home entrances. Taking cues from traditional stone lantern designs, Noguchi’s Little Walking Box has windows on all four sides representing the sun, moon and stars. It is estimated at $100,000-$200,000.

This Noguchi sculpture was originally in the collection of Leonore Grace Smith Jerrems Molloy, a notable 20th-century Chicago artist and patron who lived in a lakefront high-rise building designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe with her second husband. Little Walking Box was displayed prominently for many years on a table overlooking Lake Michigan. It has remained in the family until now.

Pair of Frank Lloyd Wright weed holders, estimated at $200,000-$300,000

Pair of Frank Lloyd Wright weed holders, estimated at $200,000-$300,000

The two Frank Lloyd Wright weed holders in the December 13 Art & Design auction were produced circa 1895 from copper and retain their original brown and red patina. This pair, which is estimated at $200,000-$300,000, was presented to Frederick Bagley by Wright and passed down through the family. A marble importer who supplied materials to Wright, Bagley was also one of his earliest clients. In 1894, Wright designed Bagley’s house in the village of Hinsdale, west of Chicago. There are fewer than 20 known examples of this important Frank Lloyd Wright form, many of which are held by distinguished institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the British Museum in London.

Weed holders were patinated in thin layers of lacquer, the same treatment used on Wright’s bulbous copper urns. Wright extolled the merits of copper in his influential article titled In the Cause of Architecture (Architectural Record, October 1928), describing copper as “the only sheet metal that has yet entered into architecture as a beautiful and permanent material […] Copper is more nearly permanent than anything we have at hand as an architect’s medium.” The slim obelisk shape is a prime illustration of Wright’s philosophy in practical and organic design that incorporates the local landscape — in this case, for holding prairie weeds commonly found in the Midwest.

Along with the weed holders, the Art & Design sale lineup features several other historic works by Frank Lloyd Wright, including eight dining chairs from the Edward C. Waller House in River Forest, Illinois; a window from the Ward W. Willits House in Highland Park, Illinois; a slant back chair from Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois / Browne’s Bookstore in Chicago; and a cabaret table from the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.

Gustav Stickley upright chest, model 614, estimated at $60,000-$90,000

Gustav Stickley upright chest, model 614, estimated at $60,000-$90,000

In addition to examples of Prairie Style design, the auction boasts an array of early American Arts & Crafts pieces, such as a Roycroft double Morris chair; a chandelier from the Ernest Batchelder House, Arroyo Seco in Pasadena, California; art pottery from Teco, Newcomb College, and Saturday Evening Girls; a writing table by Harvey Ellis for Gustav Stickley; an L. & J.G. Stickley tall case clock, model 919; and Gustav Stickley’s upright chest, model 614. This last carries an estimate of $60,000-$90,000.

Ivan Albright, ‘Lobster Salad,’ estimated at $20,000-$30,000


Ivan Albright, ‘Lobster Salad,’ estimated at $20,000-$30,000

Other significant fine art consists of Ivan Albright’s oil painting dubbed Lobster Salad and Rufino Tamayo’s watercolor bearing the title Mujer de pie con rebozo y canasta (Standing woman with shawl and basket), which were both painted circa 1940 and, like the Noguchi sculpture, come from the collection of Leonore Grace Smith Jerrems Molloy. The Albright has an estimate of $20,000-$30,000.

Additional works on offer by major artists include Alfonso Iannelli’s carved stone sculpture, Love Group; Pablo Picasso’s solid repousse silver plate titled Tete en forme d’horloge (Clock-shaped head); Albert Paley’s abstract steel sculpture Alligator with Seahorses; a Henri Cartier-Bresson silver gelatin print; three Robert Lostutter watercolor and pencil compositions; two Harry Bertoia monotype prints; and a Robert Kipniss landscape painting.

 

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