Lovely, Wonderful, Rare Things
Exploring the Collection of Mark McDonald
14 September 2017
Art Dealer, Mark McDonald, and Director of Museum Relations at R & Company, James Zemaitis, give us an intimate glimpse at the making of "The Hudson Years: The Collection of Mark McDonald" - featuring a spectacular array of fine and rare Modern and Mid-Century Designs, from George Nakashima and Vladimir Kagan to George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames, set to cross the Rago Auction block on September 24, 2017.
My name is James Zemaitis. I am Director of Museum Relations at R & Company.
We came up with the title ‘Mark McDonald, The Hudson Years,’ because it really is the last chapter in a distinguished career of dealing and connoisseurship. It's this kind of curatorial eye that Mark brings to the everyday furnishings that are in his house and his gallery that make this sale so special.
My name is Mark McDonald, I'm having this sale.
I became a dealer, I guess, because I really enjoyed shopping. It's a lot more fun as a career because you can buy stuff.
I think we realized after a while, we've done a couple of really good exhibitions on the Eames, on Frank Lloyd Wright, on American ceramics … we didn't even realize what modernism was going to become. We liked the things, they were things that were available, things we could actually afford. This is a good gig and we enjoyed doing it and we liked the material. We didn't realize it was going to become so huge.
We always thought of modernism as what came after World War II, but it certainly, over the years, expanded as the things that were in that era got harder and harder to find. People started looking at things that were made in the 70's and 80's and the 90's after what we had really started ... what we thought was sort of the modern era of rediscovery.
And I do think that the whole area of modern design became more about the designing for people's houses where they live with a lot of these things. These are people who like the look, but they're not necessarily interested in the specific, exact, earliest, best example. They just like the look, they like the idea that it works with other things that they have - using modern as a way that they live in a sparse, minimalist, sort of way that they like to live and not so much as collectors.
For me, I'm not as interested in that. I was very interested in dealing with people who were very focused. They were the people I learned from. They were the people that really helped us hone our looking at things and helped us hone our shopping. Because we were looking specifically for things that fit within these categories, which were developed by people who were very, very smart at what they were looking at. And much more focused than we were.
You don't have to be a dealer to buy things and enjoy them and then move on. That's been the best thing about me being able to have a shop and to be able to sell things because I live with lovely things, wonderful things, rare things, and then I can move them on. And you can do the same.