Designer: Paul Evans

We have championed the work of Paul Evans since some of our earliest auctions.

$11+ million in sales
More than 900 lots sold
81% sell-through rate
1 dedicated auction
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Exceptional Argente cabinet, model PE42A Design Masterworks, 2016 Result: $293,000

Texture and Surface

Paul Evans created several innovative production techniques resulting in a distinctive set of aesthetics. Instead of producing a singular signature look, he constantly experimented and refined his designs. He avoided narrowly branding himself in order to introduce a variety of individual, contrasting and varied pieces, while maintaining the highest degree of quality, regardless of size or the material used in the construction, whether it was a one-of-a-kind commissioned piece or produced for his Directional Furniture Line.

Paul Evans, Dorsey Reading and "Cool" applying patina to a sculpture front cabinet, c. 1966. Courtesy of Paul Evans.

Sculpture Front Furniture

With his Sculpture Front series, Evans fulfilled his vision of combining sculpture with design.  Noted for creativity, depth, and dimensionality, the works from this series are also quite rare; approximately only seventy-five cabinets were ever made. 


In the 1960s Evans invented an entirely new method of metalsmithing, which he called Argente. Produced in very limited quantities, the Argente line features works composed of welded aluminum with applied black ink and scratched designs, and is one of Paul Evans’ most expressive series. 


Cityscape is the last great series designed by Paul Evans. While Evans’ early work relies on decoration, Cityscape flattens the decorative elements and focuses on the play of light over pure form. A relentless designer, the series displays a proliferation of works and endless variations within the simplified structure of the panels. It achieves something rare in the world of craft by being in dialog with the avant-garde of interior design. Still chic today, these works add contrast and light to any interior. 

There is nothing that cannot be done in metal and I do not work in metal in a normal way, or for that matter, like any other craftsman I know or have heard about.

Paul Evans

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Paul Evans 1931–1987

Born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1931, Paul Evans exhibited talent for design at an early age. He studied woodworking in high school and briefly attended the Philadelphia Textile Institute. Evans was awarded the Aileen O. Webb Scholarship in 1950 and studied at the prestigious Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Craftsmen. He would continue his studies at Cranbrook in 1952 with a focus on metalwork. In 1953 he took a position as the metal craftsman at the living museum, Old Sturbridge Village. Feeling that his creativity was being stifled, Evans left the museum in 1955 to find a more stimulating environment. He opened a showroom with fellow designer Phillip Lloyd Powell and the two began a decade-long collaboration.

Evans’ experiments with welded and enameled sculpture in the early 1960s caught the eye of the Directional furniture company. Directional was looking for handmade furniture with distinctive character and Evans’ new American craft designs were a perfect fit. In 1971, Evans developed the brass and chrome Cityscape line for Directional marking a departure from his earlier sculptural works. In the 1980s, working with his son Keith, an electrical engineer, he continued to experiment with new materials and design increasing minimal forms with kinetic elements. Together, they formed Zoom, Inc. in 1983 and began a relationship with the Design Institute of America. In 1987, just one day after his retirement, Evans suffered his third heart attack and died.

Evans is now internationally recognized as one of the great studio furniture makers of the 20th century. In his finest work, such as Argente and Sculpted Front, he deploys his training in welding, metallurgy, and jewelry design to sculpt brutal and beautiful furniture in metal—work that prefigured the art furniture movement today.

Auction Results Paul Evans