Published: October 8, 2002
LOS ANGELES – Rare examples of Twentieth Century Modern brought strong prices and set auction records on Sunday, September 29 at Butterfields. Nearly 450 lots of furniture and decorative arts were offered to bidders in the salesroom as well as via the Internet. The sale totaled $937,419, meeting 99 percent of the pre-sale dollar expectation.
Two exceptional and fresh-to-market Dirk van Erp lots were of great interest to collectors, one selling for an impressive auction price. A bidder paid $104,750 for a van Erp hammered copper and mica “Warty” lamp estimated at $20/30,000. A slightly smaller van Erp copper lamp estimated at $15/20,000, sold for $23,500.
A world record price was set for a Frank Lloyd Wright armchair designed circa 1936 for the Johnson Wax Company’s Administration Building. The chair maintains its original “Cherokee” red paint and original fabric upholstery. The chair, a gift to the consignor from Johnson, sold for $104,750 ($12/15,000). Still another at-auction record price was set when a bidding battle pushed the price for an important George Nakashima dining table of English burl oak above its estimate to sell for $64,500. The table was designed and executed in 1964, and was crafted from the first log of this fine wood inventoried by Nakashima.
Other strong sellers included a Tiffany Studios lamp and two lots of Raymond Subes designs, including Art Deco wrought-iron gates similar to a pair Subes designed circa 1934 for the S.S. Normandy. This pair sold for more than three times the estimate, fetching $17,625. Sculpture, decorative glass and many examples by important designers found buyers, notably, $32,312.50 paid for a Demetre Chiparus cold-painted bronze and ivory group signed and inscribed by the artist, and $17,625 paid for a Sam Maloof rocking chair sold to benefit the Camp Max Straus Foundation.
Wall hangings and woven tapestries directly from the personal collection of textile designer Evelyn Ackerman found buyers, as did a series of circa 1956 Gertrude & Otto Natzler ceramics. Multiple lots of fine art were offered and sold, featuring works by Herbert Bayer, Roy DeForest and others. An Andy Warhol “Campbell Soup Dress” constructed of paper and designed circa 1968 sold for more than twice its estimate, bringing $3,231.25.
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