The twin catalogs for next weekend's sale of modern and contemporary arts and crafts at the Rago Arts and Auction Center present a history of the movements and creators of the last 110 years, from the well-established to the up-and-coming. Just as remarkable is the sale itself.
The more than 1,300 lots of furniture, ceramics, glass, metalwork, and decorative art for sale at the two-day event in Lambertville include works by many of the best-known names in an abundance seldom seen.
The second session, beginning at 11 a.m. June 12, for instance, will feature more than 20 lots of Wharton Esherick, the artist and cabinetmaker so closely associated with Rose Valley (and the Hedgerow Theatre there). Along with woodcuts and sketches, there are at least three major pieces of furniture: a wagon-wheel table made in 1932 for an equestrian tack room, which has a presale estimate of $80,000 to $110,000; a 1965 carved oak and cherry set of library steps, which has a presale estimate of $25,000 to $35,000; and a 37½-by-99½-inch cherry and poplar sideboard done in 1969, near the end of the artist's life, with a presale estimate of $100,000 to $150,000.
That session also has Bertoias by the bunch. One of the 13 pieces, an 87-inch-high sound sculpture, has a presale estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.
At the first session, beginning at 11 a.m. June 11, there is Stickley by the stack, with presale estimates for the three dozen lots in the low- to mid-four-figure range.
The session also features two other lots of Arts and Crafts furniture. And this is where the auction catalogs' role as a compendium comes into play. The two lots, a dining room table with four leaves and hammered copper hinges and a set of six dining chairs carved with family crests, were made at Arden, a utopian colony founded in 1900 on 162 acres in Delaware by Frank Stephens and the Philadelphia architect William Lightfoot Price.
Many Arden residents also were artisans, according to the catalog description of the two pieces, including Frank Stephens' son Don, who along with Price designed the dining room set for his brother, Roger, and sister-in-law-to-be, Alice Thornall. The two lots, with presale estimates of $5,000 to $7,000 and $9,000 to $12,000, respectively, come from the estate of Caroline Stephens Holt. The Stephens family made about 100 pieces of furniture, and the estate has donated 11 other pieces to the Arden Craft Shop Museum in Wilmington and the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover.
The first session opens with 87 lots of early 20th-century Arts and Crafts from the collection of Suzanne and Adriano de Cardenas, who, according to the catalog, were impressed by the Japanese, Moorish, and Gothic influences on the Arts and Crafts movement and stipulated that 4 percent of the hammer price go toward Japanese disaster relief.
Among the items for sale are a dozen lots of furniture designed by Kimble & Cabus, a New York firm that began specializing in the 1870s in modern gothic style characterized by ebonized woods with incised gilt decoration, inlaid tiles and painting, and medieval patterns - all of which won the firm acclaim at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. Most should sell in the four-figure range.
Glass, ceramics, more furniture. The first session also features a segment devoted to "A Century of Glass From Tiffany to Chihuly" that includes not only a Dale Chihuly three-piece seaform set ($4,000 to $6,000) and a Tiffany Studios chandelier with bronze and gold favrile glass ($25,000 to $35,000), but also a 31-by-60-inch blue column cast glass circular table made in 1994 by John Lewis and a massive cast glass and lacquered oak sculpture by the contemporary local artisan Steve Tobin (each $10,000 to $15,000).
Along with the Eshericks and Bertoias, the second session will offer works by other familiar names: 30 lots of George Nakashima furniture, notably a 1962 free-form desk ($18,000 to $24,000); more than 40 lots of Paul Evans, including a faceted chrome-plated steel cabinet ($25,000 to $35,000); other works by Tommi Parzinger, Eero Saarinen, and Charles and Ray Eames; and Jitterbug, a 1977 collapsible single-cell steel sculpture by R. Buckminster Fuller ($1,000 to $2,000).
The session also features landmark works by lesser-known artisans: a 1930s desk lamp reminiscent of a crescent moon by Donald Deskey and Phillip Vollmer ($10,000 to $15,000); a 1957 Raymond Loewy sterling flatware service for 16 ($7,000 to $9,000); a 1990s elm, chrome, and glass tensor dining table by the Spanish designer Jaime Tressera ($10,000 to $15,000); and a pair of painted wood and glass architectural doors done around 1972 by designer and decorator John Dickinson for his firehouse home in San Francisco ($25,000 to $35,000).
Previews: noon to 5 p.m. Saturday through Thursday, noon to 8 p.m. next Friday, and 8 a.m. to sale time on sale days at the gallery at 333 N. Main St. For further information, call 609-397-9374 or go to www.ragoarts.com.
Fine art at Alderfer. More traditional fare will be offered by Sanford Alderfer Auction and Appraisal at a four-day sale next week at the gallery, 501 Fairgrounds Rd. in Hatfield. Sales of the top items - 167 lots of paintings to be offered beginning at 4 p.m. Wednesday and furniture and decorative arts on the block beginning at noon Thursday - will be carried live online at www.Artfact.com.
Among Wednesday's paintings, many of which are by local artists: Moonlit Shore, by Charles H. Gifford ($8,000 to $10,000); Sunset in the Harbor, by Henry B. Snell ($8,000 to $12,000); House Along the Stream, by Fern I. Coppedge ($12,000 to $18,000); Spring Landscape, New Hope, Pa., by Stanley L. Reckless ($15,000 to $25,000); Cat Hill Country, Winter 1926, by Walter E. Baum ($20,000 to $30,000, one of six Baums in the session); and The Quarry Road, by William L. Lathrop ($20,000 to $40,000). Among Thursday's decorative arts items: paperweights, inkwells, American Indian pottery, furniture, including an English tall-case clock by J. Hendricks and a Louis XV writing desk, and Japanese prints. Beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Alderfer will offer jewelry, with some also going on www.Artfact.com; at 11 a.m. Wednesday, more than 300 lots of artwork will be offered at an uncataloged discovery sale, and from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday there will be an uncataloged estate sale.
Previews: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, and 7 a.m. to sale time Thursday. For further information, call 215-393-3000 or go to www.alderferauction.com.