Rounding out Freeman’s 2018 auction season is the December 10 sale of Design. The auction includes close to 130 lots, offering a varied selection of master American studio artisans from Pennsylvania, and the New Hope area. Among the modern designers, works by George Nakashima (1905-1990), Paul Evans (1931-1987), Wharton Esherick (1887-1970), and Phillip Lloyd Powell (1919-2008) feature prominently, along with an assortment of more than a dozen silver items, from a California collection.
Lot 122, an Important Holtz Dining Table by George Nakashima (estimate: $150,000-250,000) is perhaps the most impressive piece in the sale. In 1984, the woodworker and guru was approached by a D.C. architect, David A. Holtz, to create a dining table to serve as a truly spectacular piece of art in Mr. Holtz's Potomac ,Maryland home. For the project, Nakashima selected a "very fine slab of Claro walnut," thick and heavily figured. The resultant, extraordinary table was unlike any Nakashima had completed up to that date, and as a result, the Nakashima catalogue has named all future tables of the same design, "Holtz" for the original table's owner. George Nakashima Woodworker estimates no more than six such tables have ever been created. The present lot was the first.
Additional notable works from Nakashima include a classic, fine Conoid bench, made of English walnut, American black walnut, hickory, rosewood (Lot 53, estimate: $50,000-70,000). The present lot was exhibited in the 2004 show ‘George Nakashima: Nature, Form & Spirit’ at the Japanese American National Museum, in Los Angeles, CA, and will be accompanied by a photocopy of the original sketch signed by Mira Nakashima Yarnall and programming material featuring the lot from the exhibition. The auction includes two dozen pieces by Nakashima.
The auction offers a beautiful selection of art nouveau glass, including a table lamp and two chandeliers from Tiffany Studios. Lot 47, a “Floral Bouquet” chandelier, circa 1910, is made of leaded glass and patinated bronze (estimate: $100,000-150,000). Lot 45, a “Daffodil” table lamp, circa 1915, comes from a private Philadelphia collection (estimate: $30,000-50,000). There are also close to 20 glass vessels by French artist René Lalique, including a “serpent” vase of ruby red glass (Lot 18, estimate: $15,000-25,000) and a “poisons” vase of emerald green glass with a white patina (Lot 2, estimate: $6,000-8,000). Nine glass vases by Daum, the crystal studio in France, will also be offered, including crane and blackbird vases (Lots 30 and 31, estimate: $8,000-12,000, each).
A center table by Paul Evans and Phillip Lloyd Powell (Lot 56, estimate: $15,000-25,000), made of polychrome and gilt-steel, with American black walnut and slate, is among the highlights. A school chair, by Wharton Esherick (Lot 62, estimate: $6,000-8,000), made of maple and woven leather, was initially designed in 1924, as a prototype for a child’s chair, now in the permanent Collection of the Wharton Esherick Museum. These chairs were made in lieu of tuition payment for his then 9-year-old daughter Mary, to accompany her to the newly minted progressive school for children in Croton, New York, known as the Hessian Hills School. The present lot is a replacement of the original six, which were lost in a fire in 1930.
There are also selections of American, British, and Japanese studio ceramics, with works by Jennifer Lee (b. 1956), Hans Coper (1920-1981), Lucie Rie (1902-1995), and early works by Ian Godfrey (1942-1992). Highlights include Lot 87, a dark olive vessel with umber bands by Jennifer Lee (estimate: $4,000-6,000), Lot 89, a composite form with vertical impression, of stoneware with porcelain slip, engobes, and manganese glaze, by Hans Coper (estimate: $6,000-8,000), and Lot 109, ‘King and Queen in Court’ by Ian Godfrey (estimate: $800-1,200), made of glazed stoneware.
Rounding out the auction are two dozen pieces of silver by French artisan Jean Puiforcat (1897-1945), all from the Carmichael/Pelsinger Collection of San Francisco. An assembled flatware service, in the “Cannes” pattern (Lot 38, estimate: $10,000-15,000) and a covered tureen, of silver and fluorite (Lot 43, estimate: $10,000-15,000) are among the standouts of the collection.