Rago Design Series to offer outstanding selection

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Rago Design Series to offer outstanding selection
Amber Cowan b.1981, Gondola and Sherbert in Shell, 2023. Flame-worked elements and antique glass, 10½ h × 17½ w × 6 d in (27 × 44 × 15 cm). Estimate: $5,000–7,000.

LAMBERVILLE, NJ.- Rago's Spring Design series — Early 20th Century Design on May 11th and Modern Design on May 12th — will bring multiple important works to auction, including art pottery and ceramics from George Ohr, Toshiko Takaezu, and Saturday Evening Girls, furniture from Wendell Castle, Paul Evans, and George Nakashima, and glass from Lino Tagliapietra and Dan Dailey.

Building on Rago's reputation as one of the foremost purveyors of art pottery, Early 20th Century Design features a selection of works from George E. Ohr, Saturday Evening Girls, Grueby Faience, and the Newcomb College Pottery. Two exceptional works from Ohr, a handled green vase (est. $35,000-40,000) and a volcanic glazed vase (est. $25,000-35,000) showcase the singular maker's experimental style. Made by Leona Nicholson for the Newcomb College Pottery in 1908, the Early and Tall vase with irises (est. $19,000-24,000) captures reverence for nature's beauty in a rich palette of glazes, exemplifying the celebrated pottery's excellence in craftsmanship.

Early 20th Century Design also features an impressive offering of works by the Saturday Evening Girls, including an Exceptional and scenic vase (est. $15,000-20,000), an Important and Early center bowl with roosters (est. $10,000-15,000), and an Exceptional and Large charger with Viking ship (est. $12,000-16,000). Born from the desire to offer education and social events for the predominantly immigrant, working-class women in Boston's North End, the Saturday Evening Girls began as a reading group that also flourished into a celebrated pottery where young women learned artisanry and enjoyed stable employment with provided meals and paid vacation. Today, their works are celebrated as exemplary works of the American Arts & Crafts Movement, executed in rich colors on forms that were either wheel-thrown or shaped in molds.

Tiffany Studios is well-represented, with many works of glass and clay, including the Four-Light Tulip table lamp (est. $20,000-25,000), two Greek key table lamps (both est. $10,000-15,000), a Scarab inkwell (est. $8,000-10,000), and a Rare Rustic flower holder (est. $8,000-10,000).

Among the highlights of Modern Design are Lino Tagliapietra's 2019 glass sculpture Manhattan Sunset 2 ($100,000-150,000), Wendell Castle's Match point bench (est. $50,000-70,000), an Exceptional cabinet by Wharton Esherick (est. $40,000-60,000), the 1988 glass sculpture Cross Head by Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová (est. $40,000-60,000), and ceramics by Toshiko Takaezu from a Princeton Collection, including an untitled closed form made circa 1961 (est. $15,000-20,0000) and Blue Moon (est. $6,000-8,000).

Works by New Hope, PA, craftsmen make a strong showing, not least with works by Paul Evans and Phillip Lloyd Powell from the Rina and Norman Indictor Collection as well as George Nakashima works from the Bill and Sue Western Collection. In complement to these significant offerings, Rago will be hosting a special symposium on Saturday, May 6th, featuring Mira Nakashima, Miriam Carpenter, and Robert Aibel discussing the American craft furniture movement. All net proceeds from this ticketed event will benefit the Nakashima Foundation for Peace.

In addition to the Nakashima Foundation for Peace, Rago is pleased to support several worthy causes through benefit lots featured in Modern Design. Lots 649 to 259 comprise the Smithsonian Women's Committee Visionary Benefit Auction, and features works from past and present Smithsonian Visionary and Delphi Award winners to benefit programming across multiple departments of the national institution. Works include sculptures by this year's Delphi Award winner Amber Cowan, as well as works from Wendell Castle, Chunghi Choo, David Ellsworth, Mary Lee Hu, Patti Warashina, and Toots Zynsky.

The special section Unbreakable Ukraine offers works donated by prominent glass artists from around the world, sold to benefit the Glass Museum in Lviv, Ukraine. Contributing artists include Michael Aschenbrenner, Latchezar Boyadjiev, Peter Bremers, Wilfried Grootens, Steve Linn, and others.

“We are truly proud of this spring's Design series, which features some of the best in design and craftsmanship from the past century," says David Rago. "That we can share such spectacular works while also helping to support civically engaged arts institutions – at home and abroad – is a real pleasure."

The full selection of works featured in Early 20th Century Design and Modern Design will be on view at Rago in Lambertville, NJ, May 4th to 12th from 11 am to 4 pm daily. Early 20th Century Design will begin at 11 am Eastern on Thursday, May 11th, and Modern Design will begin at 11 am Eastern on Friday, May 12th. The live auctions accommodate advanced bids, telephone bidding, and live online bidding.

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