Sotheby’s to Offer Property from the Collection of Robert Isabell Sotheby’s to Offer Property from the Collection of Robert Isabell Legendary Event Planner’s Collection of 20th Century Design Will be sold in New York on December 17, 2009
masterworks, a Sideboard from the Sculpted Front series, circa 1970s (est. $60/80,000). Other highlights include a monumental Bar in welded and enameled steel, gold foil and slate, circa 1960s (est. $40/60,000), and a Hanging Cabinet from the Vertigris Loop Copper series (est. $25/40,000). The December auction will also include works by Phil Powell who, for a time, worked closely with Evans, even sharing a New Hope studio and executing a number of collaborative works. Other regional American craftsman such as Warren Esherick, Wendell Castle and Smokey Tunis are also represented.
Among the highlights of his collection are comprehensive offerings of the work of Paul Evans and Harry Bertoia, as Like Evans, Harry Bertoia studied at the renowned Cranbrook Academy of Art and used different metals as his medium of choice. Following a successful career designing furniture for Knoll and others, Bertoia was able to turn his efforts to sculpture. Mr. Isabell’s collection features an encyclopedic survey by Bertoia including examples from all of his most important series – from outdoor sculpture to free-form bronze works to sound pieces. Sound Sculpture, circa 1970 (est. $50/70,000), is an example of a series Bertoia executed in different sizes and shapes to achieve a range of sounds when moved. A patinated bronze Bush Sculpture from circa 1965 and measuring 15 inches in diameter (est. $40/60,000), will also be included. In all, fifteen lots by the artist, with estimates ranging from a few thousand dollars up to $50,000 will offered. Mr. Isabell’s collection also includes the definitive collection of floral sculptures by Bertoia’s protégé, Klaus Ihlenfeld. Mr. Isabell’s first collecting passion in the 1990s was French midcentury modernism and he assembled a small collection of superb strong examples by the biggest names in the category – Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand and Serge Mouille. One of Prouvé and Perriand’s most well-known collaborative works is among the highlights of the December sale – a Bookcase from the Maison du Mexique, Cité Universitaire, Paris, circa 1952 (est. $60/80,000). Jean Prouvé’s own Bibliotheque bookcase, circa 1950 (est. $30/50,000) will also be offered, in addition to a number of other forms. Mr. Isabell’s collection of works by Serge Mouille boasts prime examples by the designer. Where Bertoia’s work can be seen as an echo of Mr. Isabell’s love of plants and flowers, Mouille’s pieces were akin to his penchant for industrial design. Among the top pieces by Mouille to be offered are his Grand Signal Floor Lamp, circa 1962 (est. $70/90,000) and his Five Arm Wall Sconce, circa 1950 (est. $40/60,000). “Robert Isabell’s collection includes the most vibrant garden of organic design by the New Hope School ever assembled,” commented James Zemaitis, Senior Vice President and Head of Sotheby’s 20th Century Design Department. “Long before most collectors had even heard of Evans and Powell, Isabell was putting together an environment of works by these craftsmen, with more famous artists such as Bertoia and Nakashima, which resulted in one of the most remarkable interiors in New York. He was also a