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Design by Nature: Freeman's announces October 16 Design Auction
George Nakashima, Important Tea Ceremony Platform for Kent Hall, Columbia University. 1964.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- Freeman's October 16 Design auction is a tightly curated sale that highlights nature as seen through the work of Art Deco fantasy and New Hope School simplicity. The 50 lot sale is anchored by a number of works from the Nakashima studios, with stand out selections from both George and Mira culled from private and institutional collections. Premier ironwork from Art Deco master Wilhelm Hunt Diederich will also be on offer, as will a rare "Iris" lantern from Tiffany Studios circa 1905.

“What excites me about Nakashima at this moment is its growing appeal to scholars, museums, and collectors worldwide,” says head of department, Tim Andreadis. “This is one of the nicest selections of George Nakashima works to come to auction this year, with some truly not-to-be-missed highlights.” Foremost among these works is a Tea Ceremony Platform completed in 1964 for Columbia University’s Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Kent Hall (Estimate $10,000-15,000). Very few of these platforms were made by Nakashima prior to or after this commission, and Freeman's October 16 sale will be the first time collectors will have seen its like at auction.

Not to be outshone by her father, Mira Nakashima is also well represented in this sale. When Mira took over the artistic direction of George Nakashima Woodworker in 1990, she continued her father's signature organic traditions, while establishing her own voice. Such work is exemplified by the custom Holtz dining table and set of eight conoid chairs (Estimate $60,000-80,000) crafted by Mira in the early 1990s. An important work because of how it relates closely to the Sanso and Peace Altar forms, among the most soaring examples produced by the studio with thick, highly-figured slabs. This lot, an exquisite example of Mira's early work, is accompanied by two original sketches, each signed and dated by the artist.

Like the Nakashimas, Master ironworker Wilhelm Hunt Diederich also found inspiration in nature, as seen in the balcony rails going up on the block later this month. Commissioned for the Park Avenue residence of noted philanthropist and attorney James Byrne circa 1920, the painted wrought iron and brass rails depict the artists' distinctive stylized animal silhouettes. The three lots (each estimated at $10,00015,000) show fantastical scenes of hounds and deer in motion, elegantly characterizing the "supple unspoiled rhythms" Diederich so admired in his favorite subject.

Rounding out a sale that brings together the beauty of nature and the function of design is a truly special example of glasswork from famed Tiffany Studios. The "Iris" lantern on offer this month is something of a new discovery in the field of Tiffany lighting. Only six or seven of these important lanterns have surfaced, the only lantern design by Tiffany to incorporate a floral motif. All other lanterns produced by Tiffany are geometric, making this "Iris" lantern truly special. It incorporates glass of the highest quality and careful composition in the enchanting hues of a pink and orange sunset (Estimate $300,000-500,000).

Other Notable Lots of the October 16 Design Auction

• Lot 17: George Nakashima, Special conoid dining table, 1984. Estimate $30,000-50,000.

• Lot 9: Marcel-André Bouraine, "Turbot," circa 1925. Formerly of the Collection of Sir Elton John. Estimate $4,000-6,000.

• Lots 44 & 45: George Jouve, Oiseaux, circa 1950. Estimate $3,000-5,000 each.

The Design viewing and auction will take place at 1808 Chestnut Street.

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