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Modern Design

Featuring the Debra Lee Collection

5.20.18 / 11:30 am

Furnishings and other decorative art, lighting and fine art. Much of the most important Modern design to auction since the 1980s has been sold internationally by Rago. Notable sales include Nakashima, Ponti, Evans, Esherick, Powell, Judy McKie, Gibbings, Juhl, Parzinger, Bertoia, Pergay, Laverne, Jeanneret, Paley, Jacobsen, Jensen, Calder, Platner, Noguchi, Adnet, Springer, Bugatti, Perriand, Diederich, Royere.

Featuring the Debra Lee Collection:

Debra L. Lee was born in Fort Jackson, South Carolina and grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina. She holds multiple degrees including a BA from Brown University, a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School, and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School where she was a member of the Board of Student Advisers.
Ms. Lee has enjoyed an impressive career, working first as a law clerk, and later as an attorney, before accepting a job as the Vice President and General Counsel for BET Networks. In 1996, Lee was made COO of the network, replacing founder Robert Johnson, and became President and CEO in 2005.
Debra Lee has been named one of the “100 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment” by The Hollywood Reporter and included in Billboard Magazine’s “Power 100.” She is a Broadcast & Cable Hall of Fame inductee, a member emeritus of the FCC’s Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communication in the Digital Age and sits on the Board of Trustees for several organizations, including the American Film Institute. Lee was appointed by former President Barack Obama to the White House Management Advisory board during his tenure.

“I started collecting art in the late 1980s to decorate my homes in DC and Miami. I first attended craft shows in Washington and Baltimore, pretty much buying what moved me, until my designer Mallory Lawson recommended I pick a focus. I then narrowed in on blown and cast glass. (I am most attracted to brightly colored works.) I got my first glass piece, a mixed-media Box by Therman Statom, from the Imago Gallery in Palm Springs, CA. Mallory and I started buying from artists and galleries across the country, as well as from the SOFA shows in New York and Chicago (Sculpture Objects Functional Art), developing friendships along the way. As I travel a great deal for work, finding beautiful art in new cities became a wonderful pastime for me.
I tried to stop buying art when I filled the walls of one home, but I usually found a reason to find another home, so I could keep collecting... I do not like to store art; I like to live with it. I built myself a beautiful house in Washington to display my fine objects. Only because I have recently moved to Los Angeles to be near my children am I willing to part with this collection.
I was drawn to Therman Statom’s work from the very beginning. I think he is very talented, a wizard with found objects and plate glass. I also wished to support him, one of the few African American glass artists. I particularly like his mixed-media Boxes and his glass Stairs, and must have gotten almost a dozen of his pieces over the years, some of which he personally installed in my home. His work makes me happy. We developed a friendship. I always look forward to seeing him at art shows I was delighted to see his work included in the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.” - Debra Lee

Exhibition hours:
May 12–17, 12 noon–5:00 pm
May 18, 12 noon–7:00 pm
Doors open May 19/20 at 9:00 am

Modern Design