20th century works by Nakashima, Evans and Lalique headline at White’s


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Among the important 20th century furniture offered will be this George Nakashima free-form walnut "Conoid" coffee table with single board and butterfly-joined top. Photo courtesy White's Auctions

MIDDLEBORO, Mass. — On Aug. 29, 2010, White’s Auctions will offer some exciting pieces from artists and designers of the American crafts and studio artist movements. These artists and craftsmen worked with traditional materials, such as woods, metals and glass, in unconventional ways to produce functional, creative pieces. This sale includes a fine selection of fresh-to-the-market lots of significant interest for collectors, dealers and decorators with interests in this area.

Included are three pieces of George Nakashima furniture — a free-form walnut “Conoid” coffee table with single board and butterfly-joined top, and a walnut, slat-back, open armchair and footstool. George Nakashima has been heralded as “the elder statesman of the American Craft Movement.” A Japanese American born in 1905, Nakashima studied abroad and received an architecture degree from MIT. After release from a post-World War II Japanese internment camp, Nakashima began making furniture from scrap wood and fallen trees. Despite his preference for handmade pieces, he later agreed to design furniture for mass production for Hans Knoll and Widdicomb-Mueller.  He died in 1990. 

Also offered in this sale is pair of signed Paul Evans ottomans in the “Argente” design from 1967. Argente pieces are considered among the rarest and most important of his work. These ottomans were quite possibly created as a special commission and could carry quite a high estimate. Paul Evans, born in 1931, studied traditional silversmithing in New York and worked as a silversmith in Sturbridge, Mass. In the 1950s, he began working with artist Phillip Powell, designing one-of-a-kind modern  sculpture and furniture pieces in bronze, silver and gold, later adding pigments and acid treatments. Evans began creating his innovative pieces for the furniture manufacturer Directional, with whom he was associated for most of his career. It was here that he developed the “Argente” line of welded aluminum. He retired from Directional in 1980, after which he started his own studio in New York City. He died seven years later at the age of 56.

Additional exciting 20th Mid-Century Modern pieces to be offered include an R. Lalique frosted and polished automobile mascot/hood ornament, “Tete De Belier,” 1928; Baccarrat and other art glass pieces; an unusual bronzed and Lucite ceiling fixture; a one-of-a-kind, artist-designed, palace-size carpet; chrome and glass tables; A Howard Miller (George Nelson) tall clock; a Habitat  floor lamp designed by Paul Mayen; and signed Mid-Century Modern sculptures. Paintings include two abstracts by John Way (Wei Letany, Chinese American, born Shanghai 1921). A Folk Art painting on board by 20th Century Haitian artist Casimir, titled “Haiti Carnival,” is a colorful example of his work.

A rare French bronze clad automation/automaton fantasy clock in the form of a Model T automobile stands out in the crowd. Other clocks included are a large Ansonia 30-day wall clock and a French porcelain mantel clock, signed S. Devaulx.

For the Victorian collectors and decorators, the sale includes a Golden Oak double glass-door gun cabinet; a Victorian turtle-top, marble-top center table; other marble top with carved dog base; ornate brass bed; lighting; china and bric-a-brac. Other 18th- and 19th-century antique furniture pieces include a Pennsylvania two-piece linen press, a Shaker work table, a period English linen press, corner cupboard, chest and drop-leaf table. Also offered will be a Joseph McHugh Arts & Crafts Morris chair with paddle arms and crossed back slats.

Good smalls include cobalt blue decorated stoneware crocks, Limoges, Character jugs, Roseville, Shelley, cut glass, Chinese 14-inch Oxblood vase, a finely carved ivory in the form of crabs in a basket, a pair of miniature plique a jour bowls, a pair of miniature Chinese silver bowls and more. Of note is a fine Viennese silver and enamel small casket box with a detailed scene of women and gentlemen in period dress.

Sterling and jewelry also are well represented, with Wallace Grande Barouque, Tiffany sterling flatware, a Gorham sterling tea set, an 18-karat gold Tiffany pocket watch, French Vascheron keywind pocket watch, vintage man’s gold wristwatch, a mine cut diamond solitaire ring and Elgin pocket watch and more.

Rounding out this sale are scrapbooks with signed letters by Calvin Coolidge; paperwork and letters of George Barrows (Barrows Stove Company, Taunton, Mass.); approximately 500  comic books from 1950s to 1990s; 25,000-plus autographs collected over a lifetime of pursuit, consisting primarily of sports figures as far back as the 1930s; and a 1930s Great Britain entertainers autograph book.

The auction will be held on Sunday Aug. 29, 2010, at the Middleboro Lodge of Elks, 24 High St., Middleboro, Mass., at 3 p.m. On-site preview will be held from 1:30 p.m. to the auction’s start. Call John White, auctioneer, at 508-947-9281, or Kathryn Black at 508-269-9275 with any questions or suggestions. Please arrange absentee and phone bid requests with Black at 508-269-9275. Visit www.whitesauctions.com and www.auctionzip.com (ID#7546) for photos and updates. Also visit the auction house on Facebook and Twitter, both of which link to the website). ?



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More Images:

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Another Nakashima item is this walnut slat-back open armchair, with an accompanying footstool.
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This pair of Paul Evans ottomans from 1967 in the "Argente" design are believed to be a created as a special commission. Argente pieces are considered among the rarest and most important of Evans' work. Photo courtesy White's Auctions
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This Lalique frosted and polished automobile mascot/hood ornament titled "Tete De Belier" from 1928 is rarely seen at auction.
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An unusual Howard Miller (George Nelson) tall clock, an icon of Mid-Century Modern design, will be offered via White's Auctions.

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