Toomey & Co. Auctioneers will offer two Gertrude Abercrombie paintings

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Toomey & Co. Auctioneers will offer two Gertrude Abercrombie paintings
Lot 2: Gertrude Abercrombie, Old Phonograph, 1954. Estimate $30,000-50,000.

OAK PARK, IL.- On Wednesday, February 23, Toomey & Co. Auctioneers will begin its Modern Design + Post-War & Contemporary Art auction with two oil paintings by Chicago surrealist Gertrude Abercrombie, each estimated at $30,000-50,000. In addition to the Abercrombie works available, the sale features well over 300 lots with art and design from important figures who have had a significant impact on their respective fields. Logistical details for the auction follow the highlights below.

Highlights of Modern Design + Post-War & Contemporary Art on February 23

Post-War & Contemporary Art

Both Gertrude Abercrombie paintings in the sale on February 23 have been authenticated by Susan Weininger, the leading scholar and author of multiple comprehensive essays on Abercrombie’s art and life. Lot 1 is entitled Leaf, Ribbon, Domino, Dice, Shell, Pieces of Eight, 1954 ($30,000-50,000). In the 1950s, Abercrombie began to focus on creating detailed, mysterious still lifes such as this. Lot 2 is entitled Old Phonograph, 1954 ($30,000-50,000). The Victorian table in this composition is likely based on one Abercrombie herself owned and the phonograph suggests a family heirloom, given how involved in music Abercrombie’s parents were. Each of these paintings were exhibited at and purchased from Marshall Field’s in Chicago in 1954-1955.

Other notable artwork up for bid on February 23 includes: Slovenian-Italian Zoran Antonio Mušic’s Holocaust-influenced watercolor, Nous ne sommes pas les derniers (We Are Not the Last), 1970 ($15,000-25,000); New Mexico artist Louisa McElwain’s large-scale oil landscape, Still Water, Rio Grande Gorge, 1996 ($10,000-20,000); and Southern Black folk artist Minnie Evans intricate color drawing of a head, eyes, and foliage ($7,000-9,000).

Modern Design

Mid-century American design boasts a range of impressive forms, but tables stand out in particular. Father-and-son duo Philip and Kelvin LaVerne’s rare Repose coffee table has a bronze base presenting a female figure at rest ($10,000-20,000). Two richly hued, steel coffee tables by Paul Evans for Directional are also in the auction on February 23 (higher $10,000-20,000). From KEM Weber, the sale has a curved birch and laminate coffee table produced for Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California in 1939 ($5,000-7,000). Tables will also be on offer from George Nakashima and Frank Lloyd Wright.

International modern design is led by two striking Brazilian examples: José Zanine Caldas’ Linea Z lounge chair for Móveis Artísticos Z and Jorge Zalszupin’s jacaranda and leather sofa for L’Atelier / J.D. Móveis e Decorações (each $15,000-25,000). A strong Italian offering has two slender steel ‘Catilina’ armchairs from architect Luigi Caccia Dominioni and an attractive brass Triennale floor lamp by Angelo Lelii for Arredoluce (highest $5,000-7,000). Among several iconic Scandinavian designs, two separate Papa Bear lounge chair and ottoman combinations from Denmark’s Hans Wegner for A.P. Stolen should see considerable interest from bidders (each $6,000-8,000) .

Preview and Bidding with Toomey & Co. Auctioneers

Modern Design + Post-War & Contemporary Art on Wednesday, February 23 will start at 10:00 a.m. Central Standard Time. The sale will be held at Toomey & Co. Auctioneers, 818 North Boulevard, Oak Park, Illinois, but it will not be open to the public. Those who wish to preview in person or virtually should email Clients are required to wear masks on the premises regardless of vaccination status. Bidders may also participate by phone (708-383-5234) or leave absentee bids ( The catalog is posted online at and early registration is recommended. Alternatively, bids may be placed via two real-time, third-party platforms (LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable).

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