Toomey & Co. Auctioneers to offer 'Modern Design + Post-War & Contemporary Art' sale

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Toomey & Co. Auctioneers to offer 'Modern Design + Post-War & Contemporary Art' sale

OAK PARK, IL.- On Wednesday, May 18, 2022, Toomey & Co. Auctioneers will hold its spring Modern Design + Post-War & Contemporary Art sale with 360 lots by notable figures from the mid-20th century to the present. Among the items up for bid will be paintings, prints, sculptures, furniture, lighting, metalwork, pottery, and glassware. In addition to works by artists and designers from Chicago and the Midwest, the sale features a range of impressive examples from individuals across the globe. Preview details and bidding instructions follow the auction highlights below.

Highlights of Modern Design + Post-War & Contemporary Art on May 18

Paintings, Drawings & Prints

Chicago artist Ed Paschke’s oil on canvas, Menagerie, 1969 (estimate $50,000-70,000), deftly appropriates pop culture, cinema, and early photography. In abstract art, the auction has an acrylic painting by Paul Jenkins, entitled Phenomena Sighting the Bridge, 1987 ($25,000-35,000), and compositions by Milton Resnick, Robert Natkin, and Frank Stella (highest $8,000-12,000). Pop artists with works available include Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and Peter Max (highest $4,000-6,000). Along with drawings by Chicago Outsider artists Lee Godie and Wesley Willis, the auction has mixed media works by Black cultural advocate Margaret Burroughs (highest $4,000-6,000).

Sculpture, Ceramics & Glass

In addition to an abstract steel sculpture by Chicago's Richard Hunt, the sale offers a printing plate and two of his lithographs (highest $10,000-20,000). Multiple fantastic steel sculptures will be presented by James Bearden plus a colorful wood construction by Betty Parsons (highest $6,000-8,000). Toots Zynsky’s threaded-glass vessel has an otherworldly aspect and Salvador Dalí’s pâte de verre glass Cyclops, 1967 evokes Cubism in three dimensions (higher $8,000-12,000). The auction also has a ceramic wall plaque by French Cubist artist Fernand Léger, two Ruth Duckworth vessels, and a monumental glazed ceramic work by Jun Kaneko (highest $10,000-20,000).

Modern American Design

An overall sale highlight is Eliel Saarinen’s silverplated tea urn, circa 1934 ($30,000-50,000). Most examples of this rare modernist form exist in private or institutional collections and this is perhaps the first tea urn by Saarinen ever to come to auction. Another striking piece of metalwork is a Generations coffee table incorporating bronze children by Philip and Kelvin LaVerne ($15,000-25,000). The sale has an early Rudder stool by sculptor Isamu Noguchi and an ESU 200-C cabinet by Charles and Ray Eames, both for Herman Miller (higher $15,000-25,000). A range of Knoll furniture by the likes of Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen, and Warren Platner will also be offered (highest $2,500-3,500). Historic wooden benches by Frank Lloyd Wright and Donald Judd are available plus studio craft seating by Mira Nakashima and Wendell Castle (highest $15,000-25,000).

Modern European & International Design

From Denmark, the auction boasts a Bodil Kjær early “James Bond” desk and eight Hans Wegner chairs from Harvard’s medical library (higher $15,000-25,000). Pendant lamps and a chandelier from Finland’s Paavo Tynell will go to the top bidder (higher $6,000-8,000). Italian design includes various examples by Gio Ponti, like a pair of early lounge chairs, a Luigi Caccia Dominioni desk, and two glass vases by Vittorio Zecchin (highest $8,000-12,000). Charlotte Perriand created attractive lines for French ski resorts and the sale has furniture from Les Arcs and Méribel (highest $2,500-3,500). Finally, in Brazilian design, the auction includes a José Zanine Caldas lounge chair, a Jorge Zalszupin bench, and rosewood furniture by Oscar Niemeyer for the Hotel SESC in Rio (highest $10,000-20,000).

Preview and Bidding with Toomey & Co. Auctioneers

Modern Design + Post-War & Contemporary Art will be held on Wednesday, May 18 at 10:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time at Toomey & Co. Auctioneers, 818 North Boulevard, Oak Park, Illinois. The auction is open to the public and preview is available both in person and virtually by emailing

Upcoming Auctions and Consignments

Toomey & Co. Auctioneers will conduct two sales on consecutive days in June: Fine Art + Furniture & Decorative Arts on Wednesday, June 8 and Keramics & Rookwood: American & European Art Pottery on Thursday, June 9.

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