Sollo Rago to hold Modern design auction Oct. 24-25

LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. — Wharton Esherick, Wendell Castle, Gio Ponti, Campo & Graffi, Richard Blow, Judy Kensley McKie, Phil Powell, George Nakashima, Jacques Adnet, Ron Arad and Albert Paley are just some of the Modern masters whose furniture is offered in Sollo Rago’s much-anticipated October Modern Auction Weekend.

John Sollo and David Rago will present these in a sale of approximately 960 lots of Modern design that also includes silver, contemporary ceramics, glass and wood; jewelry, lighting and textiles. The auction takes place Oct. 24-25 at 11 a.m., with exhibition from Oct. 17 through the mornings of the sale.

"This is a strong selection that takes buyers from Frank Lloyd Wright to Gio Ponti to Ron Arad," says John Sollo. "I expect the exceptional work here from Wharton Esherick, Albert Paley, Campo & Graffi and Phillip Lloyd Powell, Norman Cherner and Richard Blow to get a lot of attention. It certainly merits it."

Studio furniture figures significantly in the sale, including one of the finest pieces to come to market, a Wharton Esherick buffet (lot 26) with a sculpted walnut top on a curved base with drawers and doors, estimated at $280,000-$380,000. Also on the block is the carved and painted entry door from Phillip Lloyd Powell’s 1970s residence (lot 342). Stunning and singular, the door, with multiple layers of carving, shows the influence Powell’s trips to India. It is estimated at $45,000-$65,000. Sollo Rago’s always showcases the studio work of George Nakashima. Among the least expected of the pieces in this sale is lot 46, a rare chessboard in dark rosewood with holly insets, made in 1979 and estimated at $30,000-$50,000. Another Nakashima highlight is an exceptional walnut double chest with eight drawers and freeform, free-edge top, estimated at $20,000-$40,000

Richard Blow and his workshop, Montici Marbles, revived and recontextualized the art of pietra dura, transforming the ancient art of inlaid images created in stone into a Modernist one. The October sale has eight of these "paintings". Six are hanging plaques. Two are rare tables, notably lot 8, a coffee table with decorative hardstone inlays in granular black marble top on articulated brass and steel base, estimated at $9,000-$14,000.

European/Scandinavian offerings include lot 600, a lounge chair from Campo & Graffi. This outstanding piece of mid-century design is estimated at $20,000-$40,000. Lot 611 is a Gio Ponti walnut writing desk with two drawers, a unique prototype produced for Ponti in the development of the AP 1025 model, circa 1953, estimated at $20,000-$40,000. Lot 772 is a Jaques Adnet two-door cabinet with stitched black leather covering and brass hardware on faux bamboo legs, estimated at $10,000-$20,000. Lot 801 is a set of four Standard chairs by Jean Prouve, estimated at $10,000-$20,000. Lot 939 is one of the most innovative seating solutions of the 20th century, a Joe Columbo Tube chair from 1969, estimated at $6,000-$9,000. Lot 918 is a Papa Bear chair and matching ottoman in teak with burgundy leather upholstery by Hans Wegner, estimated at $6,000-$9,000 and lot 933A is an Ole Wanscher rosewood desk from the 1940s, estimated at $5,000-$7,000.

Other furniture highlights: lot 299, a classic Rosewood Thin Edge three-drawer chest from George Nelson for Herman Miller, estimated at $3,000-$5,000; lot 674, a rare (and possibly unique) pair of continuous plywood lounge chairs with faux-cowhide upholstery by Norman Cherner for Plycraft, estimated at $8,000-$12,000; lot 136, an Edward Wormley for Dunbar walnut pedestal side table inset with Tiffany Favrile tiles, estimated at $8,000-$12,000; lot 937, a set of four bentwood chairs with red aniline-dyed finish by Verner Panton for Thonet, estimated at $6,000-$9,000; lot 172, a triangular plywood table designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Meeting House of the First Unitarian Society in Madison, Wis., in 1951, estimated at $4,000-$6,000; and lot 375, a Harvey Probber pedestal dining table with elliptical quilted maple top and painted resin base, estimated at $4,000-$6,000.

A relatively recent, but increasingly important component of Sollo Rago’s sales is contemporary craft. This sale contains a mahogany dining table by Judy Kensley McKie (lot 24), the base carved with birds and fish, estimated at $60,000-$90,000; lot 1, a Wendell Castle walnut coffee table with tapering scalloped top, estimated at $40,000-$60,000; lot 175, a Michael Coffey Pegasus coffee table estimated at $6,000-$9,000; lot 23A, a Pedro Friedeberg Hand chair with three-footed base and gilded finish, estimated at $3,000-$5,000 and a wonderful selection of work by Edward Zucca.

Ceramics, glass, and turned wood are represented by such stand-outs as lot 107A, a Natzler bottle-shaped vase covered in mottled turquoise and gunmetal matte glaze estimated at $20,000-$30,000; lot 399D, a glass bowl by Frantisek Vizner from 2009, estimated at $9,000-$14,000; lot 244, one of ten vases in the sale by Claude Conover, estimated at $6,000-$9,000; lot 434, a glazed ceramic sculpture, "What Kind of Dog is That Dog," made for the Kohler Foundation in 1976 by Jack Earl and estimated at $5,000-$7,000; lot 111, a large stoneware bowl by Scheier in 1991, estimated at $2,500-$4,500; lot 650, a Fratelli Toso Cattedrale glass vase, estimated at $6,000-$9,000 and lot 22, a large ash-leaf maple turned vessel by Ed Moulthrop, estimated at $4,000-$6,000. Other makers and designers with work in the sale: Ceramicists Jun Kaneko, Axel Salto, Berndt Friberg, Lucie Rie, Peter Voulkos and Ruth Duckworth and glass-makers Dale Chihuly, Richard Marquis, Giuseppe Barovier, and Pavel Trnka.

The variety in lighting is equal to that in furniture: contemporary work by Marc Newson and Ron Arad; Pennsylvania studio work by Morgan Colt and George Nakashima; Europeans such as Gambone, Barbi, Sottsass for Arredoluce, Fontana Arte, Mangiarotti, Mazegga, Venini, Charles & Fils, Pierre Casenove, Ico Parisi; as well as work from Bill Lam, James Mont, Oscar Bach and Willy Daro. Some of the highly various highlights include: lot 399, a whimsical mixed-media table lamp of figurative female form by Dan Dailey for $10,000-$15,000; lot 641, an Arteluce brass floor lamp with three adjustable arms, estimated at $6,000-$9,000; lot 962, a Tom Dixon sculptured light wall estimated at $4,000-$6,000; lot 85, an Edgar Brandt and Daum wrought-iron table lamp with a rose and purple glass shade, circa 1925, estimated at $20,000-$40,000.

Art in the sale includes two sonambients from Harry Bertoia. Lot 520, measuring 17 ¼ inches by 6 3/4 inches by 3 inches, is estimated at $20,000-$30,000. Lot 518, with 16 rods arranged in an alternating pattern on square base and measuring 49 inches by 12 inches square is estimated at $15,000-$25,000. The sale also has two sculptures by Claire Falkenstein of welded copper and fused Venetian glass; works on paper by Alexander Calder, Harry Bertoia, Viktor Schreckengost and Beatrice Wood; a brass bust by Oswaldo Guayasamin; bronzes by Milton Hebald and Klaus Ihlenfeld; and a monumental acrylic on canvas self-portrait by Gene Davis, circa 1982, from the estate of Peter Joseph.

Those in search of interesting Modern jewelry need look no further than lot 759, an Ed Weiner brass pendant with applied copper and silver design, estimated at $1,500-$3,500. Lot 746 is a Linda MacNeil Bouquet Edition floral necklace and earring set from 2006, in its original box and estimated at $6,000-$9,000. Jewelry buyers will also find sterling silver cufflinks by George Jensen, a sterling money clip from Paul Lobel and a silver stick pin with star-shaped ornament by Betty Cooke.

Textiles in the sale include both floor rugs and tapestries. Always popular are the tapestries of Alexander Calder. The sale includes four, all Maguey fiber from Bon-Art, in the Circus, Moon, Sun and Turquoise patterns. Two other wall rugs of note are a woven wool tapestry by Norway’s Gerhard Munthe and a printed cotton velvet tapestry, “Homage to Emily Dickinson,” circa 1930, designed by Ruth Reeves for W&J Sloane. Each is estimated at $2,000-$4,000. Rugs include room-sized rugs from Stark, Edward Fields and Marta Maas Fjetterstrom and a Maui hand-knotted runner in silk and wool by David Shaw Nicholls.

There are a number of stand-outs in the silver and china services for sale. Lot 734 is a Georg Jensen sterling silver service for eight in the Acorn pattern, estimated at $5,000-$7,000. Other work from Jensen and associates: a Harald Nielsen/Georg Jensen sterling silver luncheon service for eight in the Pyramid pattern, estimated at $6,000-$9,000; a Georg Jensen sixty-three piece stainless steel flatware set in the Blue Shark pattern; a sterling silver cream pitcher and covered sugar bowl in the Blossom pattern; and a Johan Rohde/Georg Jensen sterling silver footed compote. Also here: a Louis W. Rice/Bernard Rice’s Sons silver plated Skyscraper serving dish; a 25-piece stemware set in the Embassy pattern, designed for the State Dining Room, Federal Building of the 1939 New York World’s Fair by Svend Stune, Walter Dorwin Teague and Edwin W. Fuerst; and a set of Alexander Calder silver-plated footed dishes for Reed & Barton.

Also look for lot 81, an iconic Bluebird radio by Walter Dorwin Teague for Spartan at $6,000-$9,000.

For more information phone 609-397-9374 or visit

Photos courtesy Rago Arts.