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modern design

Rago Auctions features finest in modern design May 18-19

modern design
Albert Cheuret (1884-1966), Cobra console table with mirror, France, circa 1925, 40in. x 47¼in. x 13in., mirror: 34¼in. x 46½in. Estimate: $150,000-$250,000. Rago Arts and Auction Center image

LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. – On Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, May 19, Rago Auctions will host sales of Early 20th Century Design, Modern Design and Modern Ceramics and Glass. Exceptional designs by the Nakashimas, a rare work by Albert Cheuret and significant collections of both René Buthaud and Lino Tagliapietra will highlight the weekend auctions. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

Early 20th Century Design will launch Rago’s series on May 18 at 10 a.m. Highlighting the 333 lots are an exceptional and rare Cobra console table by Albert Cheuret (above) and the collection of Stephen Engel consisting of 55 lots of works by René Buthaud including pottery, works on paper, paintings and verre églomisé panels. A single-owner art pottery collection out of New York includes Fulper, Grueby, Van Briggle, Dedham and Zsolnay.

“Among the many highlights in this sale, I am most excited about lot 1131, a remarkable Albert Cheuret Cobra console with mirror. Its sinuous and exotic design reflects the renewed interest in ancient Egyptian art sparked by the 1922 discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. His work does not appear often on the secondary market and we expect there to be a flurry of competition when it crosses the auction block,” said Rago specialist Sarah Cutler.

modern design
George Nakashima, Dean’s Desk, console table with single-slab top, figured English walnut, 1970. Estimate: $40,000-$50,000. Rago Arts and Auction Center image

The Modern Design session contains 240 lots and will begin at 11 a.m. on May 19. Highlights include nearly 40 lots of George and Mira Nakashima furniture, a unique Wendell Castle Tell the Trees chair, 10 lots from Harry and Val Bertoia, a massive Hugo França sideboard, and many works by Paul Evans, including an early Loop cabinet, a Sculpted Bronze cabinet (below) and a rare Patchwork sculpture.

modern design
Paul Evans, Early Loop Cabinet, 48½in. wide, 1960s. Estimate: $25,000-$35,000. Rago Arts and Auction Center image

“One of my favorite pieces in this auction is the Wendell Castle Tell the Trees chair. It represents what I love most about Wendell’s work: his combination of craft and sculpture. This complex carved wood chair was made with state-of-the-art technology, including 3D scanning, 3D modeling and computer-controlled milling. The result is awesome and harkens back to the stack-laminated technique from his earliest work, minus the tremendous physical labor,” said Jad Attal, Modern Design specialist.

modern design
Wendell Castle, ‘Tell the Trees’ chair. Estimate: $60,000-$80,000. Rago Arts and Auction Center image

The Modern Ceramics + Glass auction will begin May 19 at 2:30 p.m. Highlights include over 30 lots of ceramics from a private California collection, including exceptional works by Harrison McIntosh, Marguerite Wildenhain for Pond Farm, Laura Andreson, Rupert Deese and Antonio Prieto. Also included in this segment will be nine exceptional works by Lino Tagliapietra, as well as art glass by Dale Chihuly and Jon Kuhn.

modern design
Lino Tagliapietra (b. 1934) Mandara vessel, Murano, Italy, 2006, blown glass, 36in. x 15¾in. x 7½in. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. Rago Arts and Auction Center image

“We’ve been favored with a superior selection of unique works by maestro Lino Tagliapietra in this auction – nine in all,” said Suzanne Perrault, partner and co-director of the 20th-21st Century Design Department. “Most combine his mastery of incalmo, murrine and cold work carving. Seeing so many fine examples together, from an Angel Tear to a Mandara to a plaque, provides a rare didactic experience for glass enthusiasts and a rare buying opportunity for glass collectors.”

Rago Arts and Auction Center will host an open house featuring William Warmus, fellow and former curator at the Corning Museum of Glass, on Wednesday, May 15. The auction house opens at noon, reception at 5 p.m., lecture at 6 p.m. RSVP: 609-397-9374, ext. 125 or email

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