CHICAGO – Wright will hold two auctions representing the remarkable collection of Michael & Gabrielle Boyd: Living In Design: The Michael & Gabrielle Boyd Collection, followed by Books On Design: The Michael & Gabrielle Boyd Collection, both to take place on Wednesday, June 7. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers. Known for their discerning eye, unique aesthetic, and depth of experience in multiple fields of design, the Boyds have together gathered a captivating assortment of art, objects and furniture that reflects their passion for the ongoing and multifaceted evolution of design as a living discipline.
Living In Design comprises more than 200 lots that embody the Boyds’ distinctive taste, insatiable curiosity, and expansive, egalitarian approach to collecting design. With historic modern masterworks offered alongside electric guitars, a prodigious group of Nike sneakers, and ethnographic objects, the collection speaks to the Boyds’ wide range of interests and influences, including a strong selection of architect-designed furniture. Among the leading lots are an extremely rare Donald Judd chair, estimated at $60,000–$80,000; Marcel Breuer’s early and rare Wassily armchair, estimated at $20,000-$30,000; Gerrit Rietveld’s Elling cabinet, estimated at $50,000-$70,000; several Semi-Metal chairs by Jean Prouve, as well as works from Isamu Noguchi, Rudolph M. Schindler, Hans Coray, Nassos Daphnis, Le Corbusier, Carlo Scarpa, and Takashi Murakami and Louis Vuitton.
Made from galvanized steel, Donald Judd’s Rare Armchair 1 is just one of two that the artist made from the material; it was acquired by the Boyds directly from Judd, who kept the only other example for his personal collection. As a deeply focused artist and thinker, Judd spent most of his creative life refining a few simple geometrical forms in wood and metal, and few contemporary artists have been as rigorous. While Judd maintained that his art and furniture were separate endeavors, both exemplify his dedication to simplicity, clarity, and an accessible, democratic view of three-dimensional objects.
The auction includes several works from Michael Boyd’s own PLANEfurniture line of architectural furnishings, including a pair of prototype Elephant chairs and ottomans, estimated at $6,000-$8,000, and a pair of Paddle armchairs, estimated at $3,000-$5,000. Boyd has said, “When design is not necessary, I don’t do it,” a statement that emphasizes his PLANEfurniture works as highly intentional entries into the design canon. Created with a philosophy that “form should inspire; and these forms should function effortlessly,” PLANEfurniture designs are held in the permanent collections of SFMOMA, the Palm Springs Museum, and the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Living In Design is immediately followed by Books On Design, a special auction segment presenting in excess of 120 lots consisting of more than 1,600 books, posters, and ephemera from the Boyds’ personal library. From a Rietveld exhibition poster mock-up that has an estimate of $1,500-$2,000 to large groupings of monographs dedicated to Donald Judd, Le Corbusier, Ellsworth Kelly and many more, Books On Design offers a perfect companion to the Boyds’ collection, rich with history and context that bring design to life. Indeed, both auctions are timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the publication of Sitting on the Edge: Modernist Design from the Collection of Michael & Gabrielle Boyd by Paola Antonelli.
Reflecting on his ethos as both a designer and collector, Boyd has said, “I try to synthesize all design culture, not just the history of design and architecture, but also movies and fashion, and not just Vienna and Paris and Amsterdam as touchstones — but also looking at Japan and Brazil, as well as here in the land of Eames and [Craig] Ellwood.” Wright is proud to help share the Boyds’ vision and legacy, in which design might be an accessible touchstone for a life well lived.
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