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Mikey Likes It!

Mikey Likes It!

Rago COO Mike Ingham’s Favorite Lots from our January, 2016, Unreserved Auction

15 January 2016

In case you missed our Art of Collecting Party on January 9th, here’s a brief synopsis of the presentation given by Rago COO, Michael Ingham, detailing some of his favorite lots from our Unreserved Auctions, January 15th through the 17th.

Lot 249 is a silver plated WMF (Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik) sugar and creamer set paired with a similarly styled, though probably later, silver plated tray. This lot will be featured in Friday’s Auction that starts at 10:00 am.

View or bid on the silver plated WMF in the catalog

The WMF studio designs were heavily influenced by the emerging Art Nouveau style. In fact, WMF was a pioneer in silver plate production of Art Nouveau items. The WMF mark pictured here is one of the earliest WMF marks and was used from 1880 until around 1918. The “EP” mark next to WMF stands for “electro plated”; the means used to coat the base metal, likely Alpacca in this case, with silver. "I/O" means normal silver coating which is equivalent to 1 gram of silver per a specified area of base metal surface. "OX" refers to oxidized finish, which indicates that the sugar and creamer set originally had a darker antiqued patina, which has either been polished away or re-plated over.

Lots 753 and 754 are feature abstract prints by Josef Albers or his wife Anni and will be available during the Unreserved Auction on Saturday, January 16 at 10:00 am.

View or bid on the abstract prints in the catalog

Josef and Anni Albers were born in Germany around the turn of the 20th century. Josef Albers trained as an art teacher in Berlin from 1913 to 1915 and began working as a printmaker in 1916. In 1920 he enrolled in preliminary courses at Walter Gropius’ Weimar Bauhaus, a cutting edge art school devoted to the mingling of Craft and Fine Art. In 1922, he joined the Bauhaus faculty as a maker of stained glass.

Around this time, Anni began attending the Bauhaus. Unable to get into her future husband’s stained glass workshop, she deferred reluctantly into weaving.

In 1925, Josef and Anni married. They stayed with the Bauhaus until 1932 when it was forced to close under pressure from the Nazis. Upon immigrating to America the Albers joined the faculty of the newly founded Black Mountain College.

In 1950 Josef Albers left Black Mountain and moved with Anni to New Haven, Connecticut in order to head up the design department at Yale. While at Yale, Josef also worked to develop the university’s graphic design department. Josef retired from Yale in 1958 to pursue his art. In 1963, Anni was invited to experiment with print media and grew immediately fond of the technique. Thereafter, Anni devoted most of her time and energy to lithography and screen printing.

The Albers are known for their disciplined approach to abstract expressionism and lots 753 & 754 are good, affordable examples of prints from two artists who had a huge impact on 20th century design.

Lots 1796 and 1797 will be available during the final day of the Unreserved Auction, Sunday, January 17 at 10:00 am

View or bid on the Charles and Ray Eames lots in the catalog

Lot 1796 is a molded plywood leg splint designed by Charles and Ray Eames. Charles and Ray Eames met while studying at the influential Cranbrook Academy of Art in the late 1930s and married in 1941.

While at Cranbrook, Charles collaborated with Eero Saarinen on a series of wood furniture designs that would go on to win the Museum of Modern Art's 1940 "Organic Design in Home Furnishings" competition. These award winning designs, which included chairs made of experimental molded plywood, were conceived of as functional, affordable options for consumers seeking modern yet livable domestic surroundings.

After their wedding, the Eames moved to Los Angeles where Charles worked for the movies while Ray created cover designs for the California Arts and Architecture journal. They continued to experiment with molded plywood, searching for a strong, flexible material capable of taking on a variety of forms. While this work was ultimately unsuccessful, it lead to a contract with the Navy to develop lightweight molded plywood leg splints for wounded servicemen. Access to the military’s technology and materials allowed the Eames’ to perfect their process for working with molded plywood. Lot 1796 was designed and successfully manufactured in 1942 and set the stage for the Eames’ continued application of the techniques used to develop it. The Eames’ went on to design a broad catalogue of iconic molded plywood furniture including what is largely considered their most famous design, the Eames lounge chair and ottoman.

Don’t miss your opportunity to bid on these, and hundreds of other fantastic items, in our Unreserved Auctions, January 15th through the 17th. Bidding will take place live at our Lambertville, NJ auction house. Absentee bids are accepted via phone at 609-397-9377. Bid live online at