Albert Paley

2014 Visionary Award Recipient

Albert Paley is the first metal sculptor to receive the coveted Institute Honors awarded by the American Institute of Architects. The allure of Paley’s art comes through its intrinsic sense of integration of art and architecture. 

Mr. Paley began his career as a jewelry artist when, in 1974, he won a commission to fabricate Portal Gates for the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery. It changed his life. He has since competed in more than 50 site-specific monumental works. Recent works include three sculptures for National Harbor outside DC, a long archway for the St. Louis Zoo, and a gate for the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. He was the featured artist for the summer 2013 exhibition on Park Avenue for which he produced 13 monumental steel sculptures.

Albert Paley’s work can be found in the permanent collections of many major museums. He holds an endowed chair at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

albertpaley.com

Rago is privileged to participate in this exceptional event, celebrating these visionary artists and supporting one of our nation’s most important cultural institutions.

Suzanne Perrault

The Smithsonian Visionary Benefit Auction

Works Sold to Benefit The Smithsonian Institution

Rago is pleased to present The Smithsonian Visionary Benefit Auction within our Modern Design sale. This special section features items created by past and present Smithsonian Visionary Artists, all sold to benefit the Smithsonian Institution.

The Visionary Award, established in 2014, is presented annually to artists who are deemed by curators in the field to have risen to the pinnacle in the world of sculptural arts and design, who have works in major museums, and who have demonstrated distinction, creativity, artistry, and of course, vision in his or her respective medium.

Patti Warashina, the 2020 recipient of the Visionary Award, joins the small but prestigious list of past recipients: Joyce J. Scott, Faith Ringgold, Dale Chihuly, Toots Zynsky, Wendell Castle and Albert Paley. 

All lots in the Visionary Benefit Auction are of the primary market, unless otherwise indicated. They are being sold with all proceeds going to the Smithsonian Institution and will be shipped directly from the artist or the gallery. Rago is waiving the buyer's premium on each of these works. 

Through the creative process I have developed a personal visual vocabulary fundamentally based in symbolism and metaphor which is implicit in my work.

Albert Paley

Albert Paley b. 1944

Albert Paley is an American jewelry designer and sculptor whose work defies strict categorization as either art or craft, instead embracing the finer aspects of both disciplines.

Paley was born in Philadelphia in 1944 to lower middle class parents. Despite showing a natural inclination towards the arts, Paley held misgivings about pursuing a career as an artist. He believed the only way to earn a steady income in the arts was to find work in advertising—a proposition he found distasteful.

It was Paley’s girlfriend, a student at the Tyler School of Art, who convinced him otherwise. A single Saturday spent touring the campus and Paley was sold; he enrolled at the Tyler School of Arts with hardly enough money for a single semester’s tuition. Paley began taking classes in jewelry making and sculpture during his sophomore year and soon found himself enthralled with both crafts. Paley graduated from the Tyler School of Arts in 1969 with a Master in Fine Arts.

Paley began his professional career as a jeweler creating works of wearable art that merged the sinuous and organic lines of European Art Nouveau with the visual weight of metalwork. Later in 1969, Paley accepted a position teaching goldsmithing at the Rochester Institute of Technology, but continued to pursue his sculptural aspirations on the side. In 1972, Paley was commissioned to produce the Portal Gates at the Smithsonian Institute’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. Completed in 1973, and installed in 1976, the monumental steel, bronze and copper doors earned Paley national recognition as a metalsmith of truly unique vision.

Albert Paley’s sculptures don’t simply occupy space; they command it. Paley possesses a rare ability to transform iron from a lifeless and unyielding metal into a moving, almost liquid, element. Despite the seemingly spontaneous and organic nature of his work, Paley is a consummate draftsman, envisioning the majority of his creations on paper before stepping to the forge.

Crossing the boundaries between art and craft, Paley has established himself as one of the greatest metal artists in the country. Throughout his career, he has completed several important private and public site-specific commissions including the Clay Center Sculpture at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in West Virginia and the Animals Always installation at the St. Louis Zoo. Further, his works have been widely published and can be found in multiple major museum collections around the world.

Auction Results Albert Paley

ALBERT PALEY, Golden Dawn table | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

Golden Dawn table
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $40,000

ALBERT PALEY, Paley Bed | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

Paley Bed
estimate: $25,000–35,000
result: $35,000

ALBERT PALEY, brooch | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

brooch
estimate: $25,000–35,000
result: $27,500

ALBERT PALEY, Six railings | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

Six railings
estimate: $12,000–18,000
result: $20,000

ALBERT PALEY, Arabesque Parabolic Floor Lamp | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

Arabesque Parabolic Floor Lamp
estimate: $8,500–12,500
result: $18,750

ALBERT PALEY, Monumental coffee table | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

Monumental coffee table
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $15,000

GEORGE STANLEY AND ALBERT PALEY, Sculpture and fountain elements | ragoarts.com

George Stanley and Albert Paley

Sculpture and fountain elements
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $15,000

ALBERT PALEY, Plant Stand | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

Plant Stand
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $13,000

ALBERT PALEY, Nimbus | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

Nimbus
estimate: $8,000–12,000
result: $12,800

ALBERT PALEY, Lectern | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

Lectern
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $11,250

ALBERT PALEY, Massive andiron | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

Massive andiron
estimate: $7,500–10,000
result: $11,250

ALBERT PALEY, Three columns | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

Three columns
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $11,250

ALBERT PALEY, Sculptural Wall Relief from Gannett Corporate Headquarters, USA Today, Washington D.C. | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

Sculptural Wall Relief from Gannett Corporate Headquarters, USA Today, Washington D.C.
estimate: $12,000–18,000
result: $10,625

ALBERT PALEY, interlocking ring | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

interlocking ring
estimate: $9,000–12,000
result: $10,000

ALBERT PALEY, Three columns | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

Three columns
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $10,000

ALBERT PALEY, Collection of Two Works | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

Collection of Two Works
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $10,000

ALBERT PALEY, Millennium floor lamp | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

Millennium floor lamp
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $9,375

ALBERT PALEY, Collection of Two Works | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

Collection of Two Works
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $9,375

ALBERT PALEY, exterior door handles from Rosecliff, Inc., set of three | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

exterior door handles from Rosecliff, Inc., set of three
estimate: $4,000–6,000
result: $8,750

ALBERT PALEY, Twenty-one table legs | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

Twenty-one table legs
estimate: $4,000–6,000
result: $8,750

ALBERT PALEY, Double Shear Candleholders, pair | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

Double Shear Candleholders, pair
estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $8,750

ALBERT PALEY, White Tusk | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

White Tusk
estimate: $8,000–12,000
result: $8,320

ALBERT PALEY, Millennium floor lamp | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

Millennium floor lamp
estimate: $8,000–12,000
result: $8,125

ALBERT PALEY, door handles, pair | ragoarts.com

Albert Paley

door handles, pair
estimate: $3,000–4,000
result: $7,500