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Vintage motor vehicles, Calder maquette lead Skinner's 20th Century Design Auction
The catalog’s cover lot, a Finn Juhl Chieftain Chair (Lot 320, $10,000-$15,000), combines elegant design and casual comfort.

MARLBOROUGH, MASS.- Skinner, Inc. presents its first 20th Century Design auction of 2016, at noon on June 23 in Marlborough, MA. In addition to a carefully curated selection of vintage Motor Vehicles, the auction will feature over 500 lots of fine and decorative art, including seating, sculpture, lighting, art glass, pottery, wall art, metalwork and jewelry, with highlights from some of the best designers of the 20th century.

Motor Vehicles as Functional Art
Leading off the auction, the eleven motor vehicles on offer range from icons of basic transportation to examples of the finest in automotive luxury and represent every decade from the 1920s through the 1970s. Among the former are a 1924 Ford Model T Five-window Coupe, presented in the appropriate basic black (Lot 3, estimated between $7,000 and $9,000), and its 1960s counterpart, a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle (Lot 2, $12,000-$15,000) whose only concession to creature comfort is its optional folding sunroof.

At the other end of the spectrum, a 1928 Packard Six Limousine (Lot 10, $20,000-$25,000) and a 1965 Mercedes 250 Sport Coupe (Lot 9, $18,000-$20,000) are representations of understated elegance, while a 1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible in bright gold (Lot 8, $15,000-$18,000) and the highlight of the sale, a 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton (Lot 11, $130,000-$140,000) epitomize exuberance in luxury motor vehicle design. In fact, the Cord was considered one of the most beautiful designs of the 20th century, as noted in the 1951 Museum of Modern Art exhibit “8 automobiles.” Held in a private collection, the 1937 Cord on offer has been exhibited for the last 25 years in the New England Air Museum.

Ford automobiles from the 1920s through 1960s and a 1969 Honda Dream motorcycle (Lot 1, $5,000-$7,000) also will be offered.

Furniture as an Art Form
Less mobile but just as comfortable, a chair by a noted designer like Finn Juhl, Hans Wegner, or George Nakashima would be a great spot to enjoy a cool drink after driving around in your roadster all day. The catalog’s cover lot, a Finn Juhl Chieftain Chair (Lot 320, $10,000-$15,000), combines elegant design and casual comfort, while a Hans Wegner Swivel Desk Chair (Lot 331, $10,000-$15,000) is perfect for a more business like setting. Other fine furniture on offer includes dining and occasional tables, bookcases, credenzas and chests; of particular note is a fine selection of pieces by Edward Wormley for Dunbar.

Furnishings for the Table and the Home
The auction also offers elegance in every aspect of the decorative arts. If a cup of tea is your preference, a Johan Rohde for Georg Jensen Silver Coffee and Tea Service (Lot 221, $10,000-$15,000) is an elegant way to take it, while a 252-piece Georg Jensen Assembled Acorn Pattern Flatware Service (Lot 226, $4,000-$5,000) or any of a number of serving pieces by the same maker are suitable for more formal dining. Decorative and functional glass by makers ranging from Tiffany, Gallé, and Daum Nancy to Lalique, Steuben, and Kosta, and ceramics from such diverse names as Rookwood, the Saturday Evening Girls, and Mary and Edwin Scheier will also cross the block.

Fine Art
The highlight in a large selection of paintings and sculpture is an Alexander Calder Stabile Maquette “The Big Ear” (Lot 336, $40,000-$60,000). Just over eleven inches tall, this delicate maquette is one-twelfth the size of Calder’s massive full-size version; a great find, it comes to us by family descent and is being presented at auction for the first time. Among the other works on offer are Robert Fremont Conover’s Night Shapes, 1949 (Lot 321, $10,000-$12,000) and works by Gyorgy Kepes, Taro Yamamoto, and George Warren Rickey.

Fine Jewelry
Over forty lots of jewelry will be presented in the sale, by designers from Scandinavia, continental Europe, and North America. Again, the Danish icon Georg Jensen is well represented, as are the artists of Taxco, Mexico.

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