Finding the Lost City
Discover Property from Lost City Arts: 36 Years of Collecting
15 January 2019
Established in 1982 in Lower Manhattan’s now upscale SOHO neighborhood sits the glass-encased mecca of mid-century design known as Lost City Arts.
Owner James Elkind has built a reputation as an authority on mid-century decorative arts and furniture and is widely regarded as a leading expert on the work of sculptor and designer Harry Bertoia.
On Sunday, January 20, Rago Auctions in Lambertville, New Jersey is delighted to offer mid-century and contemporary design and sculpture from the collection of James Elkind and Lost City Arts. Included in this 106 lot, single-owner collection are fine and rare works by George Nakashima, Harry Bertoia, Paul Evans, Phil Powell, Serge Mouille, Pedro Friedeberg, Charles and Ray Eames, Duayne Hatchett, and more.
As Jim told The Magazine Antiques in 2009, “What looks like prescience has also involved a lot of hard work…. You have to champion your stuff, and then you have to move on.”
This Sculpture Screen by Harry Bertoia, executed for the First National Bank of Miami, is a massive (over 136” tall) monument in melt-coated brass over steel. It presents as an epic poem spoken in the unique design vocabulary of its maker: dramatic, complex, and unapologetically bold.
Composed of a Carpathian elm burl plate affixed to a walnut base and shaft, this music stand by George Nakashima exemplifies the famed Delaware Valley Modernist’s mastery of challenging cuts of wood that lesser craftsman would have had to discard as unworkable.
Another Delaware Valley Modernist, Paul Evans developed a provocative and original design vocabulary that walked the line between abstract brutalism and high design. This cabinet of torch cut steel, an early example of his oeuvre, both challenges and invites.
A more orderly (but no less elegant) take on George Nakashima’s legendary woodworking, this walnut Double Pedestal Desk is constructed with the level of care and exacting craftsmanship that is a Nakashima trademark.
This massive pair of Heroic Sunburst Doors were designed by Billy Joe McCarrol and David Gillespe, and manufactured by Santa Barbara based Forms and Surface, Inc. in the early 1970’s. Standing nearly 8 feet tall and featuring a bronze sunburst design applied over walnut, they are the quintessence of cool, a grand entrance that will define and anticipate the space beyond.
Pedro Friedeberg, best known for his iconic Hand Chair, is a maker recognized for injecting his works with a potent cocktail of the surreal and the folkloric. The result, as in this Hand Foot side table, is as magnificent as it is mad.