On Wednesday, May 19, Toomey & Co. Auctioneers will present its second Modern Design + Post-War & Contemporary Art sale of 2021, with an impressive selection of art and design by individuals who have shaped their respective fields during the mid-to-late 20th century. The auction features a variety of sculptures, paintings, works on paper, ceramics, glass, furniture, lighting, metalwork, and more. Among the examples available are works by European and American innovators as well as those who made their mark in Chicago specifically. Logistical details for the sale and bidding instructions are provided below.
Highlights of Modern Design + Post-War & Contemporary Art on May 19
Clay and Metal Sculptures
An impressive range of sculptural works will be on offer May 19, such as Pablo Picasso’s red earthenware plate decorated with an owl, Hibou Mat, 1955 ($10,000-20,000), Peter Voulkos’ stoneware abstract plate and lidded vessel (each $5,000-7,000), and David Gilhooly’s glazed ceramic frog cheeseburger and frog hot chocolate (higher $1,500-2,500). Bronze sculptures include Mimmo Paladino’s Testa con 0, 2000 ($10,000-20,000), Dimitri Hadzi’s Mirrors of Siracusa, circa 1990 ($8,000-12,000), and Georges Lavroff’s Art Deco Polar Bear ($6,000-8,000). Two other striking works are Victor Salmones’ cast metal Male and Female Nude Sunbathers ($3,000-5,000) and John Kearney’s Doe Goat welded from chromed steel bumpers ($2,500-3,500).
Paintings, Prints, and Drawings
Two powerful oil on canvas paintings depict nature: William S. Schwartz’s Islands ($3,000-5,000) and William Skilling’s Cheetah in a Red Harness ($2,000-3,000). The sale features a Keith Haring lithograph, International Volunteer Day, 1988 ($2,000-3,000), screenprints from Jean Dubuffet, Peter Max, and Roy Lichtenstein (highest $1,500-2,500), and an Interview Magazine signed by Andy Warhol with a Campbell’s Soup sketch ($400-600). Chicago is well represented with an H.C. Westermann drawing, comics and printed matter from The Hairy Who, screenprints from sculptor Richard Hunt, and ballpoint illustrations by Outsider artist/musician Wesley Willis (highest $1,000-2,000).
Decorative Ceramics and Art Glass
Decorative arts boasts some important ceramic and glass examples. British designers Hans Coper and Dame Lucie Rie have multiple stoneware items in the sale (highest $10,000-20,000) and France’s René Buthaud’s ceramic vase is artfully decorated with reclining nudes ($3,000-5,000). Mid-century American ceramics includes figural works from Edwin and Mary Scheier and Feelie vases by Rose and Erni Cabat (highest $3,000-5,000). Art glass is led by a strong Italian grouping, with a Barovier Seguso Ferro female figure holding back rearing horses and a rare patchwork vase attributed to Dino Martens (each $5,000-7,000), and American Dale Chihuly’s cobalt blue Basket with red lip wrap ($2,500-3,500).
Modern European Design
Italian design includes a pair of lounge chairs attributed to Gio Ponti, a lounge chair and ottoman by Giulio Moscatelli, and a lounge chair from Osvaldo Borsani (highest $5,000-7,000). The Scandinavian section features a pair of lounge chairs with ottoman by Preben Fabricius and Jørgen Kastholm, a pair of armchairs by Erik Gunnar Asplund, and Arne Jacobsen’s Swan lounge chair (highest $5,000-7,000). A luxurious daybed/sofa from Swiss maker De Sede will be offered along with three plush Togo seating lots by France's Michel Ducaroy and a pair of Jean Prouvé lounge chairs (highest $5,000-7,000). Lighting by French designers also stands out, such as Édouard-Wilfred Buquet’s table lamp, Michel Buffet’s wall sconce, and Serge Mouille’s wall lamp (highest $5,000-7,000).
Modern American Design
New York designer Robert Sonneman’s large Cityscape ceiling pendant light would pair well with Paul Evans’ Patchwork occasional table (each $3,000-5,000). Like Evans, George Nakashima worked in New Hope, Pennsylvania and the auction has a cherry wood cabinet by Nakashima ($2,000-3,000). Another lot with historic woodworking features two mahogany side tables by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Benjamin Adelman House in Phoenix, Arizona, 1951 ($4,000-6,000). Charles and Ray Eames have several items for Herman Miller in the sale, including multiple iconic 670 / 671 lounge chairs and ottomans (highest $5,000-7,000), and a La Chaise chair for Vitra ($3,000-5,000). Other notable designers in the sale are Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, Harry Bertoia, and Florence Knoll. Four lots from Warren Platner for Knoll with steel-wire framed furniture will be available plus an array of bronze furniture with cotton/nylon cord from Walter Lamb and Kipp Stewart (highest $4,000-6,000).
Bidding in Modern Design + Post-War & Contemporary Art on May 19
Modern Design + Post-War & Contemporary Art on Wednesday, May 19 will start at 10:00 a.m. CDT. The sale will take place at Toomey & Co. Auctioneers, 818 North Boulevard, Oak Park, Illinois. Given COVID-19, the auction will not be open to the public. Bidders may participate by phone (708-383-5234) or leave absentee bids (firstname.lastname@example.org). The catalog is available online at toomeyco.com and early registration is recommended. Bids may also be placed via two real-time, third-party platforms (LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable). Preview is available virtually and by appointment. Those interested should contact email@example.com to request further condition information or schedule a preview time.
Upcoming Auctions and Consignments
Toomey & Co. Auctioneers will close out spring with two sales: Fine Art + Furniture & Decorative Arts on Wednesday, June 9 and Keramics & Rookwood: American & European Art Pottery on Thursday, June 17. The first summer sale will be Folk, Outsider & Self-Taught Art on Thursday, August 12. Consignments are invited for upcoming auctions and photographs of items may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org for estimates. To learn more about past or future auctions, please visit toomeyco.com.
About Toomey & Co. Auctioneers
Located just west of Chicago in Oak Park, Illinois, Toomey & Co. Auctioneers holds several carefully curated auctions annually with material sourced from six departments: Fine Art, Early 20th Century Design, Modern Design, Fine Furniture & Decorative Arts, Silver & Objects of Vertu, and Fine Jewelry & Timepieces. Recent schedules have presented single-owner and special sales drawn from important estates and private collections.