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Victorian to Vitra

Victorian to Vitra

A Glimpse at the Design Variety on Offer in our April Unreserved Auctions

6 April 2016

How do you define your home décor style? Do you prefer the sleek lines of mid-century Modernism or the hand-crafted charm of the Arts and Crafts movement? Are you drawn to the minimalist functionality of Scandinavian design or the gilded opulence of the Edwardian era?

No matter where your decorating sensibilities lie, you’ll find something to suit in our upcoming Unreserved Auctions, held on April 15 & 16. With over 1000 lots ranging from Victorian to Vitra, there’s art and design on offer to satisfy even the most demanding tastes.

With the help of Mike Ingham, Director of Rago’s Unreserved Auctions, and the good folks at the online design magazine "Design Milk", we’ve handpicked a few lots that speak to the variety of options on offer.

What’s an “unreserved auction” you ask? It’s where you can buy vintage finds at really affordable prices. The auctioneer throws out a low asking price to open the bidding. If someone bids that price, the auctioneer asks if someone else will bid more. If so, the price goes up. If not, the fist bidder gets it. But – and here’s where it gets fun – if no one bids at the first asking price, the auctioneer asks for less and less and less until someone bids.

Learn more from "Design Milk" about why you shouldn't let the auction process intimidate you.


Verner Panton; Herman Miller
Estimate: $200-400

Lot 1981 features a pair of ca. 1970 “S” chairs designed by Verner Panton for Vitra and later produced by Herman Miller. Panton designed furniture in organic forms that seem to ‘grow’ out of the ground they sit on. Panton’s “S” chairs were the first single-mold injection molded chairs ever produced. These zippy chairs could only have been created in the 1960s, a time of great design experimentation and commitment to Pop Art for the people


Eero Saarinen; Knoll
Estimate: $1,000-1,5000

Lot 1909 is a womb settee designed by Eero Saarinen for Knoll Associates. The son of architect Eliel Saarinen and textile artist Loja Saarinen, Eero’s architecture and furniture both favored simple, sweeping curves. He and lifelong collaborator Charles Eames were awarded the first prize in the Museum of Modern Art’s 1940 Organic Design in Home Furnishings competition. Winning this prestigious award established Eero as a premier maker of what came to be known as organic modern furnishing. Lot 1909, designed at the request of close friend Florence Knoll, exemplifies his classic style.


Victor Vasarely
Estimate: $300-500

Lot 1858 is a signed and numbered color serigraph by artist Victor Vasarely. Vasarely originally trained as a physician in Hungary before moving to Paris to pursue a career as a painter. This print is a fantastic example of the optical art for which he is best known, offered at an equally fantastic price.


Florence Knoll;Knoll Associates
Estimate: $800-1,000

Lot 1899 is a four-door marble-topped credenza designed by Florence Knoll for Knoll Associates. Florence Knoll, born Florence Schust, attended Cranbrook Academy of Art where she studied under Eliel Saarinen. After graduating, Florence met and eventually married Hans Knoll, founder of Hans Knoll Furniture Company (later renamed to Knoll Associates). Florence designed furniture for Knoll Associates and her interpretation of minimalist, rationalist design theories is plain to see in many of the company’s storage pieces. Lot 1899 exemplifies her use of mixed woods and metals to create handsome and functional designs.

Why buy from a big box retailer when you can get an original for less? Don’t miss your chance to bid on these and hundreds of other works of design in our Unreserved Auctions on April 15 & 16.

View Catalog: Unreserved Silver, Estate goods, Early 20th C and Fine Art.
View Catalog: 20/21st Century modern and Post War and Contemporary Art.