Pennsylvania artisans highlighted Freemans Design sale this week, with record-breaking work from Mira Nakashima among others. The first of Freemans
bi-annual 20th Century Design auctions featured works from the Collection of Perry & June Ottenberg, and totaled more than $875,000, with a 91 percent sell-through rate and 93 percent sold by value. The double-header sale day, which came just one day after the American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists auction, opened with 18 Works from the Bachman Collection, which achieved more than $1,960,000, bringing the two-day sale total to over $4.5 million.
Freemans set a worldwide auction record for any work made by Mira Nakashima (under her sole direction or in conjunction with her father, George Nakashima), with the sale of Lot 43, an exceptional Holtz dining table and set of eight Conoid chairs. The set came from the Collection of Dr. Steven J. Weber and Pati Doyle-Weber, early patrons of Mira Nakashimas following the death of Miras father in 1990. The extraordinarily large and impressive Holtz table has a single board Claro walnut top with eight butterflies in American black walnut and laurel and the exposed cross-section of a lead bullet revealed during the sawing of the lumber. When auctioneer Tim Andreadis, who also serves as the Head of 20th Century Design, struck the hammer, the lot had soared past its presale estimate of $60,000-80,000, selling for $150,000 and setting a world record for the artist.
Offerings by George and Mira Nakashima, including chairs, dining tables, daybeds and a lamp, dominated the days events, with 10 of the 15 top-performing lots by one or both of the artists. Lot 48, a special Greenrock console table by George and Mira Nakashima, sold for $20,000, doubling its high estimate. Lot 44, a special Arlyn II coffee table in Buckeye burl and American black Walnut by Mira, exceeded its high estimate when it sold for $18,750. Both lots came from the Collection of Dr. Steven J. Weber and Pati Doyle-Weber. A Conoid bench (Lot 88) of American black walnut and hickory sold for $37,500, and a set of six Conoid dining chairs (Lot 10) sold for $26,250; both lots were executed by George.
From the Collection of Perry & June Ottenberg, a special-order bar cabinet in American black walnut and English oak burl (Lot 7) was signed with the clients name and a studio notation; the piece sold for $25,000. Sixteen porcelain vessels by Rudolf Staffel also from the Ottenberg realized strong results across the board, with interest from museums and private collections. Lot 23, a thrown, scored and applied porcelain Light Gatherers vessel sold for $8,125, setting a new world record for the artist. The Ottenbergs passionate support of Rudolf Staffel continued for almost four decades. Two pieces of jewelry from the Ottenberg Collection by Sweden-born American artist Olaf Skoogfors also set auction records, specifically Lot 28, a vermeil and cultured pearl necklace, which sold for $2,125, and Lot 29, a silver and gold-topped silver necklace, which sold for $938.
A vase by French artist René Lalique (Lot 106) came from the Collection of Lee & Gilbert Bachman, whose fine art was offered for sale earlier in the day. The Alicante vase, no. 998, far surpassed its presale estimate of $6,000-8,000 when it sold for $21,250. A large Macchia vessel by Dale Chihuly (Lot 73), also from the Bachman Collection, more than doubled its high estimate, selling for $17,500. A Poissons vase by Jean Dunand (Lot 108) sold for $37,500.
A teak and leather settee, model NV-48, by Danish designer Finn Juhl (Lot 55) sold for $15,000. A set of six armchairs, model 5480, in laminated ash, cane, brass, and upholstery by Edward Wormley (Lot 61), more than doubled their presale estimate of $4,000-6,000, selling for $12,500.