The annual blow-out auction at Wright auction house in the West Loop is a great opportunity to score some bargains on vintage modern art and design objects. Most of the 550 lots have no reserve price, meaning they could potentially sell for well below their value. “We’ve always fought against this idea that we are exclusive to an elite buyer or collector,” says Michael Jefferson, Wright’s senior vice president. Prices ranges from $100 to $1,000.
The live auction is Saturday, July 12 at 10 a.m. You can also bid online at liveauctioneers.com. All objects can be previewed at the Wright warehouse this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 10am–5pm, 1440 W Hubbard, or at wright20.com.
Below, Chicago selected a handful of prominent picks—and pocket picks.
Ruth Duckworth, untitled ceramic sculptures, c. 1974. Estimate: $500–$700
Ruth Duckworth was a prolific Chicago ceramicist. (She died in 2009, at 90.) These two pieces are hold-in-your-hand small, and wonderfully evocative of handheld pleasures. Duckworth had a way of making stoneware look like skin. Lots 216 and 217.)
Henry Glass, four lots of furniture, 1955–1966. Estimates: $700–$5,000
This local furniture designer never got the recognition he deserved, says Michael Jefferson, Wright’s senior VP, because his objects were never mass produced like the Eames brothers. Here, four lots include a mobile library and a kinetic child’s dining set. Glass innovated a method of molding plywood in cylinders. The objects are “underrated, undervalued, and underappreciated,” says Jefferson. (Lots 161–164.)
Hilton Brown, Victoria - Screen Series No. 37, acrylic on canvas, 1969. Estimate: $1,000–$1,500
Hilton Brown, 76, was schooled in Chicago but now lives on the East Coast where he teaches at the University of Delaware. Shortly after making this series of hard-edge geometric paintings—the genre was trendy in the late sixties—Brown did a 180, and focused his paintbrush exclusively on the male nude. But, doesn’t the abstract geo painting contain the seed of something graceful? (Lot 274.)
Christopher Wool and Felix Gonzales-Torres, untitled poster, 1993. Estimate: $600–$800
Felix Gonzales-Torres was known for giving museum visitors free art to take away. In 1993 he collaborated with Christopher Wool, whose painting retrospective just passed through the Art Institute. Once piled in a stack, a collectable freebie, the auction house is now banking on the poster being worth hundreds. (Lot 502, detail)
Anish Kapoor, illy cup and saucer, 2011. Estimate $200–$300.
A bottomless cup of espresso might be too much of a good thing, but Anish Kapoor’s mirror-lined mini-mug only creates the illusion of such decadence. The sculptor of The Bean designed this limited edition espresso cup and saucer for the coffee company illy. (Lot 599.)