Featuring rare commissioned works by George Nakashima from the Eastman Kodak estate, Phillip Lloyd Powell and Paul Evans
Bidsquare is proud to announce the addition of Todd Merrill to its roster of leading auction houses on www.bidsquare.com. In an exclusive partnership with Bidsquare, Todd Merrill Studio presents Aquetong Road: New Hope, PA 1950s - 1970s, a curated collection of historic American design. The sale focuses attention on three seminal, Mid-20th Century American craftsmen - George Nakashima, Paul Evans and Phillip Lloyd Powell.
In the 1950s, Paul Evans, Phillip Lloyd Powell and George Nakashima each set up studios along the same mile of Aquetong Road in New Hope, Pennsylvania, creating a mecca of finely crafted wood and metal furnishings and ushering in a new era of innovative studio design on the East Coast. Each of these artists has become collected and sought out by worldwide audiences.
The curated sale features low tables and a very unique suite by iconic American woodworker, George Nakashima. The suite was commissioned in 1952 by Corwin and Alice Strong. The Strong Family co-founded Eastman Kodak. As early clients of George Nakashima, who opened his studio in New Hope, PA in 1943, the Strongs commissioned a large number of works for their homes in both Maryland and Maine over a twenty year period. This particular suite remained in the Strong family's Maine residence for over 60 years. The suite is signed twice and comes with two letters of authentication from both Mira Nakashima and the Strong Family.
The overall proportion shows the dual influence of both modern design and Nakashima’s Japanese heritage. According to Mira Nakashima, the chairs are perhaps the first of their forms to be made.
Todd Merrill commented on the authentication of the suite, "The suite had been tucked away on an island in Maine for 50 years unseen and forgotten. When I showed it to Mira Nakashima she could not believe it existed. Nothing like it had been made or seen by her. Some of their early records were missing and it became touchy to authenticate without the original studio records. After a few weeks of searching, she came back with very good news - that the sofa had been documented in her mother’s ledger. Mira then issued a full statement of authenticity for this rare Nakashima sofa."
Next up is internationally recognized Paul Evans, another great studio furniture maker of the 20th Century. The sale features cabinets, tables, pedestals and more by Evans. One unique piece is a Verdigris Copper Loop Hanging Console.
The console features a two-door wood cabinet sheathed in copper sheets with an applied green patina. The cleft slate top is typical in Evans' works from this period. Predating Evans' celebrated Patchwork Series (often referred to as Copper, Bronze and Pewter) the Verdigris Copper Loop Series is the earliest example of Evans' use of sheet metal in a collaged application. This technique would evolve into the Patchwork Series and eventually the Cityscape Series. Very few pieces were done in the rich green Verdigris patina, making this charming console rare and highly collectible.
Another highlight not often seen at auction from Paul Evans is a hanging light. This welded and torch-cut steel hanging light is unique in Evans' repertoire and points to his distinct approach to sculpting with metal.
Todd Merrill discussed being the first dealer of 20th Century design to host a dedicated sale on Bidsquare, "Bidsquare was first brought to my attention by David Rago, whom I respect immensely. Based on their expertise and the quality of their auction audience, I felt that Bidsquare was the ideal platform for me to feature this curated catalog with. In addition to its ease of use, given Bidsquare's popularity with private collectors and dealers, specifically in 20th Century design, choosing Bidsquare was an easy decision.”
The final craftsman of the Aquetong Road curated collection is Phillip Lloyd Powell. Two pieces in the sale are by Powell, a Sculpted Walnut Three-Seat Sofa and a Silvered Walnut Mirrored Screen, highlighted below.
The beautiful panels that compose this screen were hand carved from American black walnut. The “silver” gilding, made of aluminum leaf, sits over a base of red paint. This unique pairing adds an unexpected twist to the panels. Powell reappropriated the screen's elegant leaflike motif throughout his iconic body of work. An estimated twenty screens are known to have been made by Powell.
Todd Merrill Studio has established itself as the premier dealer for 20th Century furniture and lighting,” says Allis Ghim, Bidsquare’s CEO. “We are excited and proud to welcome Todd Merrill Studio to our growing roster of leading auction houses and dealers on our site.”
Since 2000, Todd Merrill Studio has been renowned for a mix of the best historic late 20th Century American studio furniture and contemporary artist-produced design. In 2008, Merrill wrote Modern Americana, Studio Furniture from High Craft to High Glam (Rizzoli), a seminal book chronicling post-war studio design. Early works by Evans, Powell and Nakashima are among the 30 artists profiled. In 2018, Rizzoli will publish the second edition of Modern Americana.
Bidding is now live for Todd Merrill's first sale on Bidsquare, Aquetong Road: New Hope, PA 1950s - 1970s. Bidding closes Tuesday, January 23rd at 6PM EST. Additional information and the full digital catalog for the sale is online now at www.bidsquare.com.
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