MODERN ART & DESIGN AUCTION
June 18, 2006
The June 18, 2006 Modern Art & Design auction at the Pacific Design Center featured over 350 lots of vetted high quality Mid-Century Modern fine art and design, including a Charles & Ray Eames "building." This kiosk designed for the IBM Pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair was designed as an inviting entryway into the then-unfamiliar world of computers. The sale also included furniture, fine art, ceramics, lighting, jewelry, and other Mid-Century Modern classics.
Over the course of two decades, the IBM corporation utilized Charles Eames' ability to distill complicated concepts into fun and digestible experiences for the masses. In 1953, he produced a film entitled A Communications Primer, in which he used a variety of techniques — cartoon animation, original musical scores, multi-media slide and film presentations, mechanical displays, and some of the very first interactive exhibits — to enhance the learning process. For The Information Machine, Charles was commissioned by IBM in 1957 to produce a film that would introduce the electronic computer to fairgoers at the Brussels World's Fair. For the 1964 World's Fair in New York, Eames once again informed fairgoers of the unfamiliar world of computers through computer-controlled puppet shows, typewriter demonstrations, and a probability machine which would repeatedly displace 30,000 plastic balls in a random manner each time revealing a classic bell curve. For this auction, LAMA offered one of the kiosks that housed these exhibits (Lot 296, est. $80,000 - 100,000, realized $72,000).
This sale also included the following highlights from 20th century masters: an Andy Warhol Crab painting (Lot 193 est. $60,000 - 80,000, realized $90,000), a Sam Maloof music stand custom designed for the painter Rico Lebrun (Lot 100 est. $20,000 - 30,000), a Man Ray red and gold anodized aluminum complete chess set (Lot 278 est. $6,000 - 9,000, realized $11,400), Jean Prouve group of 10 matching"Standard" chairs with original vibrant red paint (Lot 121 est. $45,000 - 50,000, realized $55,200), a Frank Lloyd Wright side chair designed for the S.C. Johnson Wax Administration Building, Racine, WI, in 1936 (Lot 147 est. $40,000 - 50,000, realized $36,000), and a Gio Ponti executive desk (Lot 182 est. $70,000 - 90,000, realized $84,000).