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Wright Now: Mass Modern Auction Preview

Wright Auction’s Mass Modern sale is July 10th and for those of you unable to visit the preview, Chicago Art Collector wanted to take a moment and gather the top five lots (in no particular order) and share with you some of the most intriguing items from a fine art angle. Be sure to check back for Wright Auction specialist Michael Jefferson’s picks for their summer sale.

With so many items that pass through Wright’s sales floor, most represent a hybrid of fine art, modern design and functionality. The three primary colored glassware sets by Otto Brauer are a fine example of this confluence. Each set has slightly different silhouettes from the next but all the group possess elegant and functional design (Estimate: $1,000-2,000).

One of the lots that I was most excited to see was the group of postcards by Joseph Beuys. Two other Beuys lots are a playful take on the postcard form – including a silkscreen on a postcard-sized block of pine (Estimate: $200-300).

Lot 141 – Tin Man(Orson Wells) – is a photostrip collage by artist Jared Bark. If you look closer, the piece appears to be photobooth filmstrips that the artist has vertically pieced together. With an estimate of $100-200, this work has the potential to cost the same as a mass produced poster (after framing and matting) and at least with the Bark collage, you have something that is one of a kind.

In looking through the 500+ lots I was most surprised to see the series of skatedecks with designs by British Artist Damien Hirst (Estimate: $600-800).

Wright specialists refer to this series as “Dots”, but what some may not realize is that Hirst (or the skate manufacturer) has taken the design from his LSD works and prints and has adjusted the rythm of the dots across the skateboards. While we may only be talking about skateboards, the different patterns on the boards allow the viewer the opportunity to compare and contrast what makes the most effective composition among Hirst’s dot patterns.

Auction TIP: If you look in the above image, you will notice a very small piggybank icon on the right hand side at the bottom of the caption. This symbol, for the auction savvy, denotes that the items has no reserve set – meaning that you can put in a bid as low as you want to go. The reserve is typically set and half of the low end of the estimate, but with no reserve, you can gamble and bid even lower and, provided that no one else bids, you can win the lot at amazingly low prices. Wright Auction only uses this feature in the smaller sales, such as this end of season Mass Modern Sale.

Perhaps the most mysterious item featured in this sale would be the set of seven banknotes by Herbert Bayer (Estimate: $500-700)

Whether this counts as fine art or mere reproduction, there just has to be a story behind these.

Update: In my conversation with Wright Auction specialist Michael Jefferson, he offered a bit more context regarding this lot. While the set of notes are, or rather, were once actual currency, the significance of this lot has to do with its commission. Bayer was called upon by the government of Weimar, Germany to design these particular banknotes. They are of considerable import and are considered collectable for their role in the history of typography.

Check back with Chicago Art Collector for the results from this sale and coverage of upcoming auction news.

Wright Auction is located at 1440 W. Hubbard. The Mass Modern Auction begins at 10AM on July 10th.

All photos courtesy of Wright Auction.