Single-owner Masterworks of Craft sale at Rago Nov. 9 celebrates 20th-century American artists

Wendell Castle Triad chair, estimated at $13,000-$17,000 at Rago.

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LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. — Fixtures of the Philadelphia art community for years, Jane and Leonard Korman meticulously collected select examples of fine 20th-century American studio furniture, monumental ceramics, and glass sculpture. Rago brings 96 examples from their outstanding collection to market with Masterworks of Craft from the Kormans on Thursday, November 9. The catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

The Kormans were clearly fans of Judy Kensley McKie (b. 1944-), the well-known studio furniture artist who focuses on animal and floral forms. The sale has three of her works, with Fish Bench as the top-estimated McKie lot. Made in 1999 of patinated bronze, the work is marked 8/10 and is estimated at $75,000-$100,000.

Groundbreaking studio potter Lucie Rie (1902-1995) was also a Korman favorite, with three examples in the sale. Rie’s unique approach to glazing and firing can be seen in Vase with Flaring Lip, a 1989 work dating to near the end of her career. It carries an estimate of $15,000-$20,000.

Considered a father of the American craft furniture movement, Wendell Castle (1932-2018) was an active artist whose works perform positively at auction. In an unusual departure from his traditional medium of wood, Triad Chair features gel-coated fiberglass construction with gold leaf. It is number 7 from an edition of 8 and is estimated at $13,000-$17,000.

Monumental ceramic sculpture is a unique and rather remote area of art, occupied by only a few. A leader in this category is Jun Kaneko (b. 1942-), an educator and artist who has pushed the boundaries of ceramic sculpture. Untitled (Dango) is a large-format work, measuring 38 by 42 by 28in. It is estimated at $15,000-$20,000.

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Judy Kensley McKie Fish Bench, estimated at $75,000-$100,000 at Rago.
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Lucie Rie vase with flaring lip, estimated at $15,000-$20,000 at Rago.
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Wendell Castle Triad chair, estimated at $13,000-$17,000 at Rago.
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Jun Kaneko, ‘Untitled (Dango),’ estimated at $15,000-$20,000 at Rago.
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Betty Woodman, His/Hers Vases, 4th of July, estimated at $45,000-$65,000 at Rago.
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George Nakashima collection highlights Piasa’s American Design sale Nov. 8

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PARIS — A breathtaking collection of 27 George Nakashima originals — including numerous special orders — takes center stage at Piasa’s American Design sale, scheduled for Wednesday, November 8. The catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Respected globally, George Nakashima (1905-1990) was an American woodworker, architect, and furniture maker regarded as a leader in the American craft movement. Though his family continues to run his business, examples created during George’s lifetime command the highest prices in the aftermarket — particularly special orders from customers, which can vary from the standard Nakashima designs.

Created two years before Nakashima’s passing is a 1988 special-order Minguren II dining table in walnut. Inscribed Thomas beneath the tabletop, the 80in-long table is the top overall lot in the sale and is estimated at €120,000-€150,000 ($126,835-$158,543).

In keeping with the American Design theme, Piasa has included four Harry Bertoia designs spanning a few areas of art he explored during his lifetime. The sale includes two items from the Bush series, metallic sculptures designed to resemble flora. This item, described as a “unique piece,” dates to 1972 and is made of bronze and copper. It is estimated at €70,000-€90,000 ($73,986-$95,125).

Philip Lloyd Powell (1919-2008) spent most of his career in relative obscurity, fashioning beautiful furniture prized by collectors today, though he never had any formal training. This 8ft-long dining table carries all the Powell hallmarks, including flowing design and stunning materials (in this case, walnut and slate). It is estimated at €40,000-€60,000 ($42,278-$63,417).

A beautiful wall mirror from Wendell Castle (1932-2018) is another marquee lot. With sculpted walnut made using Castle’s stacked lamination technique (numerous layers of wood bonded together, then fashioned into the final design), the piece is estimated at €25,000-€35,000 ($26,423-$36,993).

Piasa has two additional sales slated for the same date — November 8 — also in Paris.

They include After Alexander Calder – 53/100, a 15-lot micro-sale with works inspired by the look of Calder. All lots are estimated at €15,000-€20,000 ($15,888-$21,185).

The other is Arts and Crafts – Made in America, a sale featuring furniture by Gustav Stickley, the Stickley Brothers and Charles P. Limbert, with 34 lots in all.
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George Nakashima, Minguren II special-order table, estimated at €120,000-€150,000 ($126,835-$158,543) at Piasa.
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Harry Bertoia piece from his Bush series, estimated at €70,000-€90,000 ($73,986-$95,125) at Piasa.
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Philip Lloyd Powell dining table, estimated at €40,000-€60,000 ($42,278-$63,417) at Piasa.
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Wendell Castle mirror, estimated at €25,000-€35,000 ($26,423-$36,993) at Piasa.
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Bid Smart: Wendell Castle’s studio furniture stacks up fans and dollars

A custom chandelier in cherry, designed by Wendell Castle for a private home in 1976, achieved $90,000 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2022. Image courtesy of Rago Arts and Auction Center and LiveAuctioneers.

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A custom chandelier in cherry, designed by Wendell Castle for a private home in 1976, achieved $90,000 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2022. Image courtesy of Rago Arts and Auction Center and LiveAuctioneers.
A custom chandelier in cherry, designed by Wendell Castle for a private home in 1976, achieved $90,000 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2022. Image courtesy of Rago Arts and Auction Center and LiveAuctioneers.

NEW YORK — Dubbed the “father of the American studio furniture movement,” Wendell Castle (1932-2018) created innovative furniture designs that are highly coveted today. He also didn’t restrict himself to wood as a medium. His legacy lies in his craftsmanship, use of unusual materials and always challenging himself to produce work that pushed the boundaries of what furniture could be.

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Mid-century designers elevated the sideboard to fine art

A Paul Evans Cityscape sideboard earned $40,000 plus the buyer’s premium against an estimate of $6,500-$8,000 in September 2022. Image courtesy of Roland NY and LiveAuctioneers.
A Paul Evans Cityscape sideboard earned $40,000 plus the buyer’s premium against an estimate of $6,500-$8,000 in September 2022. Image courtesy of Roland NY and LiveAuctioneers.
A Paul Evans Cityscape sideboard earned $40,000 plus the buyer’s premium against an estimate of $6,500-$8,000 in September 2022. Image courtesy of Roland NY and LiveAuctioneers.

NEW YORK — A sideboard is a piece of furniture that has a flat top and drawers in which to store linens or dining ware, but it can be so much more than that. Elite Mid-century Modern artisans seized upon the sideboard’s potential and transformed this dining room workhorse into a work of art.

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Colorful Calder and glorious glass await at Cottone, Sept. 23

Alexander Calder, ‘The Beams,’ est. $40,000-$60,000
Alexander Calder, ‘The Beams,’ est. $40,000-$60,000
Alexander Calder, ‘The Beams,’ est. $40,000-$60,000

GENESEO, N.Y. – Cottone Auctions’ late summer Fine Art & Antiques auction, scheduled for Friday, September 23, will feature fine items from private institutions, estates and individuals. The sale will begin at noon Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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Titans of Modern Design enliven Hindman’s Nov. 16 sale

Dale Chihuly, yellow orange hornet chandelier, est. $30,000-$50,000
Dale Chihuly, yellow orange hornet chandelier, est. $30,000-$50,000
Dale Chihuly, yellow orange hornet chandelier, est. $30,000-$50,000

CHICAGO – On November 16, Hindman Auctions will present its biannual Modern Design sale, which will offer outstanding studio craft furniture and other 20th and 21st century design. The auction will spotlight top American designers such as Wendell Castle, Dale Chihuly, Frank Gehry, Philip and Kelvin LaVerne, Sam Maloof, Peter Voulkos and Vladimir Kagan. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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Wendell Castle, Le Pho, Claude Venard deliver at Neue

Claude Venard still life, which sold for $15,990
Claude Venard still life, which sold for $15,990
Claude Venard still life, which sold for $15,990

BEACHWOOD, Ohio – An important dining table custom designed by Wendell Castle soared to $70,110, and vibrant still-life oil paintings by Le Pho and Claude Venard sold for $20,910 and $15,990, respectively, in Neue Auctions’ online-only Modernism sale, held on May 15.

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Castle and Kline headline Neue’s May 15 Modernism auction

Still life floral painting by Le Pho, estimated at $6,000-$9,000
Still life floral painting by Le Pho, estimated at $6,000-$9,000

BEACHWOOD, Ohio – An important and visually arresting dining table custom designed by Wendell Castle (American, 1932-2018), an untitled ink on paper artwork by Franz Josef Kline (American, 1910-1962), and a still life floral painting by the Vietnamese artist Le Pho (1907-2001) are just a few expected highlights in Neue Auctions May 15 Modernism auction. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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