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About Auction HouseWe value creativity and focus on the quality of presentation and content. Our world-class specialists, award-winning catalogs, pioneering website and international marketing has captured the attention of distinguished collectors around the globe—buyers and sellers alike—making Wright a prominent resource for 20th century art and design. Richard Wright founded Wright auction house in 2000. He has more than thirty years of experience handling and documenting 20th century works and has been recognized as a “maverick of design” by The New York Times.
Auction Previews & News13 Results
- Auction Industry
Wright Offers Exuberant Paintings and Prints by American Artist Best known for his large-scale paintings, American artist Ross Bleckner rose to prominence in the mid-1970s and 1980s. His Op-Art-inspired artworks are transcendent and contemplative in nature. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Bleckner decided to pursue an art career after encountering a show of Op Art in 1965. His art mainly deals with change, loss, and memory, often highlighting the AIDS crisis in his early works. A series of paintings by Ross Bleckner is featured in the ongoing selling exhibition held by Wright. Learn more about Bleckner before purchasing a piece. Small Count, 1990 by Ross Bleckner. Image courtesy of Christie’s. Raised in a supportive Jewish family, Ross Bleckner grew up in the beautiful town of Hewlett Harbor on Long Island. He moved to New York when he was 25 years old. He went on to study alongside artists Sol LeWitt and Chuck Close at New York University, where Bleckner earned his BA. The artist worked in an art supply store and drove a taxi as a young college student. He later received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 1973. He returned to New York In 1974 and held his first show with Cunningham Ward Gallery in 1975. Some of Bleckner’s famous works focusing on the AIDS epidemic include Small Count (1990), 8,122+ as of January 1986 (1986), and Throbbing Heart (1994). In the painting, 8,122+ as of January 1986, the numerals 8, 1, 2, and 2+ each are painted in the four corners of the canvas. It represents the total number of people who had died of HIV/AIDS at that point in history. In addition to AIDS, the artist was deeply touched by cancer, and his works, especially in the 1990s, focused on imagery inspired by cellular transformation. In an interview with The New York Times, the artist once said, “I want to be as good as I can, for as long as I can. And, hopefully, break through that darkness with a little bit of light once in a while. If people like it, great.…
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The One and Only Photo of Neil Armstrong on the Moon and Iconic First Human-Clicked Image of Earth Come to Sale With Wright
The Apollo 11 mission with Commander Neil Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin, Jr. was a massive moment in space history. On July 20, 1969, astronaut Armstrong became the first human to walk on the Moon. However, in most of the images, he's either partially visible or appears as a reflection; Armstrong had the camera with him and hence most of the photos show Buzz Aldrin. There is only one clear image showing Armstrong with his back to the camera. This historic photograph by Aldrin is a key highlight of the upcoming vintage photographs auction, presented by Wright. Printed in 1969, this is a large format vintage chromogenic print on fiber-based matte Kodak paper. It is a frame from the panoramic sequence taken by Aldrin from the rim of Double Crater. Another noteworthy image available in the sale is The Blue Marble, the first human-clicked image of the full Earth. The iconic photo was shot through an 80mm lens. It is attributed to Harrison Schmitt, who photographed most of the images of Earth on the way to the Moon. Based on the mission transcripts, there is also a possibility that Ronald Evans clicked it. To view the complete catalog and register to bid online, visit Wright.
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As NASA looks again to the moon 50 years after the final Apollo 17 mission, groundbreaking works from the collection of Victor Martin-Malburet offer a timely and historic invitation to reflect on the evolving legacy of Project Apollo and its resounding impacts on art, science, and human potential. Wright and LAMA are pleased to present One Giant Leap for Mankind: Vintage Photographs from the Victor Martin-Malburet Collection, Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Project Apollo (1961–1972), an auction to take place in Chicago on October 28th, 2022. This stunning collection comprises more than 300 original historic photographs from Project Apollo, the NASA program responsible for placing the first humans on the surface of the moon. Meticulously researched and collected over the course of 25 years by Victor Martin-Malburet, each image represents extraordinary feats of human exploration, imagination, and collaboration, and many of those being offered have never been published. Harrison Schmitt, the Earth and the US flag, Eugene Cernan [Apollo 17], 7-19 December 1972, EVA 1 $4,000-6,000 Astronauts Turned Artists “The [Apollo] astronauts are often presented as great scientists and heroes, but rarely are they hailed as some of the most significant photographers of all time. From the unknown, they brought back a new visual vocabulary. Through them, art broke free of gravity,” offers Martin-Malburet. Equipped with the most sophisticated cameras developed by Kodak, Hasselblad, and Zeiss, Apollo astronauts did not just record their voyage; the images they created transcended documentation and forged a new visual vocabulary. Brimming with “firsts” and punctuated with every major visual milestone of the Golden Age of space exploration – many of which became instant cultural touchstones – One Giant Leap celebrates Project Apollo’s profound impact on art, science, and the human understanding of our place in the cosmos. The Blue Marble: First human-taken photograph of the full earth (large format), Harrison Schmitt or Ronald Evans [Apollo 17], 7-19 December 1972 $15,000-25,000 As one of Project Apollo's great achievements, astronauts of the last human voyage to the moon captured the fully illuminated disk of Earth and became the only humans to witness this view. Known as The Blue Marble, NASA image AS17–148–22727 was taken by…
- Artists, Auction Industry
Early Mixed-Media Collage on Paper Available With Rago/Wright American artist Alison Saar wanted to bridge the divide between personal and political narratives from a young age. The daughter of famed artist Betye Saar and an art conservator, Alison Saar soon learned to draw upon the rich legacy of folk art for her own work. Today, Saar explores Black womanhood through sculpture, mixed media, and assemblage. Ancient techniques and complex histories often appear in her art, equally honoring the past while commenting on the present. One of Alison Saar’s untitled collages from the 1970s will come to auction with Rago/Wright this fall. The upcoming Post War & Contemporary Art sale will begin on September 17th, 2021 at 11:00 AM EDT. Get to know Alison Saar and her art before placing a bid. Alison Saar with her sculptures. Image from the Asheville Art Museum. Art infused every aspect of Alison Saar’s early life. Her mother, Betye Saar, actively participated in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 70s. She criticized anti-Black racism in the United States through mixed-media assemblages and other pieces. Alison Saar’s father worked at museums as an art conservator while creating original ceramics. Alison Saar and her sisters grew up in an art-positive environment marked by museum visits, trips to public art installations, and easy access to creative materials. Watching her father maintain and restore old artworks from around the world kindled a lifelong appreciation for traditional art. Saar was particularly interested in Outsider Art created by Black Americans, as well as African folklore, Native American art, and German Expressionism. Saar drew upon these diverse sources to interrogate her identity and heritage. Social commentary came naturally to Saar as she began her career. Communicating her thoughts clearly and efficiently was a necessity for Saar from the start: “I wanted to make art that told a story, that would engage people,” she told Hyperallergic in 2018. “I wanted them to be moved by my work, whether it was specifically what my intentions were or not did not matter. I wanted them to be drawn in and affected by my…
- Artists, Auction Industry
Rago/Wright to Present Untitled Paintings by South Korean Expressionist South Korean artist Choi Wook-kyung often joked about her tenuous relationship with traditional gender roles. She sometimes gave her abstract paintings defiant or provocative titles, like La Femme Fâché (The Angry Woman). Choi was deeply conscious of the political and artistic trends of her time. The male-dominated Dansaekhwa movement of monochrome paintings overshadowed Choi’s more expressionist works. When she moved to the United States, she found another group of artists unprepared to welcome her perspective. American Abstract Expressionists inspired Choi but did not embrace her narrative style. As a result, Choi carved her own place in the history of modern art. Galleries and auction houses rediscovered Choi Wook-kyung in recent years. On May 19th, 2021, a joint auction from Rago and Wright will highlight two of Choi’s abstract paintings. Learn more about the artist and her history before placing a bid. Choi Wook-kyung in her studio in 1971. Image courtesy of the artist’s estate/ Kukje Gallery. At ten years old, Choi Wook-kyung started her artistic journey. Traditional ink painter Kim Ki-chang and early Modernist Park Re-hyun trained the young Choi in Seoul. Choi continued her education at Seoul National University’s College of Fine Arts in the 1960s. At the time, abstraction was on the rise throughout Korea. Artists such as Kim Whan-ki laid the groundwork for the Dansaekhwa movement. Choi’s contemporaries manipulated both paint and canvas to create abstract, monochrome works. Choi did not prefer that flavor of Modernism. She moved to the United States to study at the Cranbrook Academy of Art and the Brooklyn Museum School of Art. Inspired by American artists such as Willem de Kooning and Robert Motherwell, Choi experimented with Abstract Expressionist techniques. Her work occasionally brought in collage and social commentary. Choi felt the press of both Korean and American social movements during this time, including anti-war demonstrations and the rise of second-wave feminism. Despite these strong influences, Choi felt that her paintings were all her own. “My experiences, as a woman and a painter, serve as a daily source for the creative inspiration necessary…
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Harvey Probber, Sling chair. Harvey Probber, Inc. USA, 1948. Laminated birch, upholstery 27 w × 43 d × 29½ h in 69 × 109 × 75 cm. Estimate: $3,000–5,000. CHICAGO, IL.-Wright will present the first auction dedicated to works from the collection of the pioneering and innovative designer Harvery Probber. Probber sold his first sofa design at sixteen, coined the concept of "modular furniture" and proceeded to compose harmonious interiors incorporating art and design throughout his career. As an accomplished designer, innovator, and entrepreneur, Harvey Probber led a life guided by creative interests. From a young age, he explored the formal qualities of furnishings and their role in interior environments leading him to a successful career in design, manufacturing, and distribution. Probber developed an original, award-winning style that fits seamlessly into interiors across the country. One of his greatest contributions to the canon of design was the concept of “modular furniture”; an idea he coined that is so commonplace today that it’s hard to imagine it wasn’t always a part of the field’s vernacular. Probber’s design ideology was undoubtedly modern, but also revered historical and cultural events that preceded and happened alongside his work. In tune with the arts, Probber befriended artists such as Adolph Gottlieb and gallerists, such as Sam Kootz and Bernard Davis. He amassed a collection of European and American modern art that was displayed alongside his furniture in showrooms and catalogs, often inspiring his own work. In 1962, Probber purchased Eastcliff, a Gothic Revival home originally designed in 1925 by Hobart Upjohn for J. Richard Ardrey, a prominent banker. Probber embarked upon the renovation and installation of art and design that transformed the stately home into a 16-room waterfront gallery for his collection of paintings and decorative objects. His furniture and that of his favorite designers provided comfort within the home’s interior composition. Probber was well known in the world of design and beyond and it is hardly surprising that his social circle included musicians, stage and screen stars, artists, photographers, authors, and other accomplished people who regularly convened at Eastcliff. A complete work of art and…
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‘Glory’ Sculpture by American-Mexican Artist Available at Wright After completing her undergraduate work at Howard University, a young Elizabeth Catlett pursued a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Iowa. She studied under American Gothic painter Grant Wood, whose advice changed the direction of her life. “Do something that you know a lot about, the most about,” Wood told Catlett and her peers. Catlett considered the things she knew: women, Black people, and working people. She returned to those subjects throughout her decades-long career, slowly gathering recognition and acclaim. She is now known as one of the leading American sculptors and graphic artists of the 20th century. A bronze sculpture by Elizabeth Catlett will come to auction with Wright on March 11th, 2021. Bidding will start at 11:00 AM EST. Learn more about Elizabeth Catlett before the auction begins. Elizabeth Catlett. Image by Fern Logan via Ebony. The granddaughter of formerly enslaved people, Elizabeth Catlett was born in Washington, D.C. She learned about oppression at a young age. Catlett’s grandparents taught her about their experiences, and her mother told her about life in the slums of D.C. Catlett pursued art through high school and college. She studied under Loïs Mailou Jones at Howard and turned toward sculpture while earning her Master’s degree. Political commentary formed the foundation of Catlett’s work. She traveled around the United States during the 1940s, engaging with various art and activist communities. These experiences inspired Catlett to create art for poor and disenfranchised individuals. Many of her sculptures depict Black women with children or in solitude. Other pieces capture famous figures such as Harriet Tubman and Malcolm X. “Catlett kind of came of age as an artist when African-Americans and women were not part of the mainstream,” curator Isolde Brielmaier told NPR in 2012. “They were not part of the center. They were relegated to the margins and excluded.” Elizabeth Catlett, Glory, 1981. Image from Wright. Catlett eventually moved to Mexico City to flee Jim Crow laws and America’s growing McCarthyism. She started working at the Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP) workshop and learned…
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Wright Presents Symbolic Black Power Sculpture in Upcoming Sale Now in the mature period of his career, American artist Hank Willis Thomas continues to stir conversation around race, gender, and commercialism. His photographs and multimedia works are intended to prompt questions rather than answer them. That has always been an intentional goal for the artist, who believes that “the most revolutionary thing a person can do is be open to change.” Threads of revolution run through many of his works, particularly in reference to the Black Panthers, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the social advancements of the 20th century. One of Thomas’ symbolic revolutionary sculptures will come to auction with Wright on September 30th, 2020, at 1:00 PM EDT. Learn more about his career— both past and present— before placing a bid. Hank Willis Thomas with Sharon Daniels’ Amends/ Civil Death. Image from KQED. The son of two photographers, Thomas was always drawn to art. After earning his BFA from New York University and his MFA from the California College of the Arts, Thomas formally entered the American art scene in the early 2000s. His breakthrough came with a photographic series that juxtaposed images of enslavement and punishment with professional sports. Basketball and Chain (2003), for example, shows a leaping pair of sneakers chained to a basketball at the bottom of the frame. Photos of a cotton picker across the yard line from a football player and a bald head branded with the Nike swoosh also boosted his fame. These photos are recognized as the starting point of the artist’s career and now consistently perform at auction. For example, Christie’s sold a print of Basketball and Chain for USD 30,000 last year. Over time, Thomas began to reflect more on the history of protest and resistance within his work. He began depicting bronze arms raised in solidarity and afro picks topped with a clenched fist. Thomas has maintained a commitment to commenting on race in America, especially unpacking mass incarceration and the lasting effects of slavery. Speaking about his works, the Portland Art Museum’s Julia Dolan said, “They challenge…
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Man Ray was known for his innovations in Surrealist photography. Female faces and figures were the primary subjects of his work, along with objects such as glass teardrops, eggs, peaches, and orbs. Although Ray experimented with sculpture, painting, film, and writing, he excelled at black-and-white photography. He invented “rayographs” by moving objects around photosensitive paper and exposing the composition to light. With this particular effect, Ray was able to inspire a Surrealist perspective on photography. A female figure photographed by Ray will lead Wright’s upcoming sale of the Mark Isaacson and Greg Nacozy Collection. The auction will also present furniture from Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret. In 1927, Perriand started collaborating with Le Corbusier and his cousin, Jeanneret, to produce Modernist furniture. Perriand and Jeanneret have since been recognized for their contributions to Modernism. A piece designed by the duo with two sliding doors concealing shelving and drawers will be highlighted in the sale. Leo Amino’s Wild Plant sculpture and a photograph of a migrant and her daughters from Dorothea Lange will also be available. To view the complete catalog and register to bid online, visit Wright.
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Furniture Piece by the Two French Modernists Available in Wright Auction At the age of 24, Charlotte Perriand walked into the studio of legendary furniture designer Le Corbusier and asked for a job. She was told, “We don’t embroider cushions here,” and sent away. Despite this rocky start, Perriand would eventually combine forces with Le Corbusier and his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret, to define avant-garde Modernism in furniture. Perriand and Jeanneret have since been recognized in both furniture history and at auction as leading French innovators. A piece designed by Perriand and Jeanneret will lead Wright’s upcoming sale of the Mark Isaacson and Greg Nacozy Collection. Learn more about these Modernists before the auction begins. Charlotte Perriand posing on a chaise lounge in 1929. Image from Dwell. Born in 1903 to a Parisian tailor and a seamstress, Perriand spent her college years finding inspiration in a rapidly mechanized city. Surrounded by motorcars and bicycles, she began developing an interest in Modern furniture design and architecture. After Le Corbusier visited her renovated apartment on Place Saint-Sulpice in Paris (she turned it into a metal and glass bar), he hired her. Perriand joined Jeanneret in the furniture workshop. He started his career with a country villa design before entering a formal partnership with Le Corbusier. Jeanneret and Perriand began collaborating on several now-famous furniture designs, including a curved chaise lounge known as the LC4 and many experimental furniture pieces made with aluminum and wood. The Paris designers departed from the more rigid forms of Modernism seen in the Bauhaus movement. Rather, their tubular steel chairs and other works were designed to be functional and comfortable, almost an extension of the body itself. In Perriand’s words, “One does not invent, one only discovers.” During World War II, Jeanneret and Perriand joined the French Resistance while Le Corbusier supported the Vichy government. This effectively ended their collaborative efforts for several years, with the exception of making prefabricated aluminum buildings with Jean Prouvé and Georges Blanchon. Perriand eventually moved to Japan and then Vietnam, while Jeanneret reunited with his cousin in the 1950s to begin an…
Sonambient Sculpture Available in Upcoming Spring Sale Harry Bertoia. Image from the Harry Bertoia Foundation. Though most frequently recognized for his Modernist furniture, Harry Bertoia also designed sculpture, jewelry, and screenprints. He was raised in Friuli, Italy, before immigrating to the United States at the age of 15. Once there, he befriended Ray and Charles Eames and other emerging designers. Interest in his Sonambient sculptures has continued long after his death in the late 1970s, with consistent showings in auctions and museums. An example of Bertoia’s sounding sculptures will be offered in Palm Beach Modern Auctions’ upcoming Spring 2020 sale. Learn more about Harry Bertoia’s life and work before this event. Thanks to a welding class that he took while living in California, a young Bertoia gained experience in both metalworking and mass production. Bertoia began developing many of his signature designs during this early period. He created the Diamond chair, a lightweight construction made of polished steel wire and shaped with ergonomics in mind. Now called Bertoia chairs, these pieces continue to be produced by Knoll Associates, his industrial partner. They regularly come to auction as well, typically selling for around USD 1,000 - $2,000 each. Due to the commercial success of his furniture, Bertoia was soon able to explore sculpture in earnest. This passion was a natural outgrowth of his jewelry designs, which he created for friends. When a wire snapped in half while making a sculpture one day, he discovered an unusual sound. Bertoia would later recall this moment: “Immediately the question came to mind… if one wire produces such a sound, what would two rods produce, or what would ten, or a hundred?” Harry Bertoia, Untitled (Sonambient), c. 1970. Image from Sotheby’s. What started as an experiment quickly became his artistic focus. Bertoia’s metal sculptures range in size from a few inches to over 20 feet tall, all designed to create sound using wind or touch. Some imitate gongs or chimes, but Bertoia compared the sound of each new piece to “hearing the cry of a newborn baby.” He produced thousands of these sculptures throughout his…
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Roberto Sebastian Matta was an Abstract Expressionist best known for his oil paintings. Matta’s art evolved from sketch drawings to his oil work, including his Inscape series. The upcoming auction presented by Wright will feature a graphite and crayon piece titled Pilar de l'Atlas by Matta. The mechanical lines and graphic effects in his works reflect the influence of contemporary European artist Marcel Duchamp. Also showcased in the auction is an example of Tim Mackaness’ animal- and bird-inspired furniture. His designs often include whimsical characteristics such as chicken and frog legs or the talons of a bird. Included in this auction is a black walnut bookshelf balancing on a tree frog’s leg. Available in this sale is a sculpted rocking chair by Vladimir Kagan. The 20th-century designer’s clients included both Marilyn Monroe and Andy Warhol. A master cabinetmaker, his furniture softens traditionally Modernist designs. Also offered are contemporary flatweave and pile carpets, light fixtures by Mark Brazier-Jones and Tom Dixon, and sculptures. Interested collectors can explore the full listings and register to bid online on Wright.
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The upcoming Art + Design Part 1 auction will highlight modern and contemporary artists, from Cleve Gray and Jim Dine to Gertrude Abercrombie and Romare Bearden. Carpets, seating, and lighting from the 1950s to the present can also be found. American painter Cleve Gray will feature in this Wright auction. Gray was associated with Abstract Expressionism, Color Field painting, and Lyrical Abstraction. He often created art that appears to float above the picture plane. Highlighted in this sale is his acrylic painting titled Bright Day, painted in shades of pink, orange, white, and yellow. This work is signed and dated ‘Gray 69.’ Gertrude Abercrombie was also an American painter. Abercrombie was known for her Surrealist artworks featuring owls, moonlit landscapes, and cat motifs. In this auction, her 1958 Snail painting is available. This piece depicts a snail on a pink and blue background with a leaf hung in the center. A landscape screen from Jim Dine, a Romare Bearden lithograph, and a mixed media box by Rosamond Berg can also be found. View the entire collection and register to bid by visiting Wright.
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Paul Evans was a leading figure in the mid-century American Brutalist furniture movement. An example of his work is available in the upcoming Design auction, presented by Wright. The Argente cabinet designed by Evans includes two doors concealing storage and one adjustable shelf. Along with furniture, the event offers over 200 lots of carpets, sculptures, dinnerware, jewelry, and more. A Conoid platform bed will be available from George Nakashima. The American designer brought out the distinct qualities of wood through his work. He believed that each piece of wood had a distinct purpose: “Each flitch, each board, each plank can have only one ideal use,” he remarked. “The woodworker, applying a thousand skills, must find that ideal use and then shape the wood to realize its true potential.” Also presented is a hand-woven Strålarna flatweave carpet by Marianne Richter. Her designs for the Märta Måås-Fjetterström workshop are characterized by geometric patterns and vivid color combinations. Browse the full catalog and register for online bidding by visiting Wright.
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Fine art pieces from contemporary artists are highlighted in Wright’s upcoming 20th Century Art auction. Works from László Moholy Nagy, John McLaughlin, and Edward Clark are among the items showcased. A portfolio of six lithographs from Moholy Nagy, including a cover page and colophon page, is among the featured lots. Each print is on heavy, woven paper and depicts abstract, geometric shapes. An oil on masonite piece by John McLaughlin is also included in the sale. McLaughlin, a California-based artist, was a self-taught Abstract painter who blended the styles of Zen painting, Constructivism, and hard-edged Minimalism. Also highlighted is a Harry Callahan gelatin silver print mounted on aluminum. Callahan spoke of his work, “If you choose your subject selectively — intuitively — the camera can write poetry.” For more information and to bid for the mentioned items, visit Wright’s website.