Hip furniture designs of Mid-century master Paul Evans takes top lot honors at antique auction


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Paul Evans (American, 1931-1987) 10-piece sculpted bronze dining suite, made in 1970 featuring Stalagmite glass-top dining table, set of eight dining chairs with purple micro-suede seats and backrest; sideboard with two slate tablets and bi-fold doors concealing interior shelves. Signed "PE 70." Offered as three lots, total selling price: $59,225. Photos courtesy Austin Auction.

AUSTIN, Texas – Austin Auction Gallery chalked up a solid $260,000 total with its April 18, 2010, Important Spring Estates Auction, led by a keenly pursued selection of Mid-Century dining room furniture designed by Paul Evans (American, 1931-1987).

The 10-piece sculpted-bronze dining suite consisted of a large ‘Stalagmite’ glass-top table, eight chairs upholstered in purple micro-suede, and a long, sculpted-bronze server set with two slate slabs. The consignor had purchased the suite in 1970, from the Chicago showroom of Directional Furniture, for whom Evans designed.

The Evans set was offered in three lots with a total estimate of $17,000 to $23,000, but bidders knew an opportunity when they saw one and pushed the aggregate price to $59,225. The table made $10,925, while the coveted complete set of chairs soared to $29,900. Completing the ensemble, the sideboard closed at $18,400. All prices quoted in this report are inclusive of 15 percent buyer’s premium.

“We had nine or ten phone bidders, from all over the country, who were interested in the Paul Evans set,” said Austin Auction associate Chris Featherston, “but amazingly, it all went to a buyer from our own hometown here in Texas. One of the phone bidders, who was from New York, was surprised that he had been outbid by someone from Austin.”

An 18th-century, Louis XV-style marble-top carved console from the same estate that produced the Paul Evans furniture also met with success in the sale. Heavy phone participation boosted its closing price to $8,625.

A category that garnered considerable interest was Asian art. “Since we have been online with our sales, we have gained quite a few buyers out of China,” said Featherston.

Featherston explained that because of over-harvesting and polluted ocean waters, raw red coral has become a scarce commodity. “Even 20th-century pieces like some that we auctioned attracted a lot of attention,” he said.

A group of four small red coral snuff bottles representing a woman, an urn with a relief image of a deer, and two eggplant forms with beetles in relief sold for $1,725 (estimate $200-$400); while a diminutive (4 1/4-inch-tall) red coral figure on an elephant made $1,265 (estimate $300-$500). Yet another example of Asian art that surpassed estimate was the 2 1/2-inch-tall hornbill snuff bottle with dipper that garnered $1,725 against expectations of $200 to $400.

Unfortunately, the sale’s star lot – an opal, diamond and pearl necklace that reputedly belonged to America’s first interior designer, Elsie de Wolfe – did not find a new owner.

Austin Auction Gallery will hold its next cataloged Estates Auction on May 22-23. For additional information, call 512-258-5479 or e-mail info@austinauction.com. Visit Austin Auction Gallery’s website at www.AustinAuction.com. ?




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More Images:

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A Chinese carved red coral figure of a young beauty seated atop an elephant, 4 1/4 inches inclusive of stand, likely 19th century, realized $1,265.
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A selection of couture ensembles and evening gowns was offered, including designs by Halston, Oscar De La Renta, Richilene and others. In all, the clothing made $7,619.
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Evening Party, one of 11 artworks by John Strevens (British, 1902-1990) sold by Austin Auction Gallery on April 18. Signed and titled, measuring 40 inches by 50 inches (sight), it hammered $5,463.
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Carved in the Rococo taste with trails of flowering vines, an 18th-century, Louis XV marble-top console table features an opulent pierced and carved base. It sold for $8,625 against an estimate of $3,000-$5,000.

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