Jerry Siano

Ad Man, Artist, Creative Spirit

The present lot is from the life collection and estate of Jerry Siano, Sr. (1935 – 2020).

Jerry Siano was a celebrated advertising executive performing at the highest level during Madison Avenue’s golden age. Chairman, CEO, and President of N.W. Ayer in Manhattan, he began working for the company as a designer in 1957 and stayed until 1994, gradually working his way up the ranks. He was known for designing ads both from an artist’s and an ad man’s perspective and is best remembered for leading several prominent advertising campaigns including “Reach out and touch someone” (AT&T), “Let your fingers do the walking” (Yellow Pages), and “A Diamond is forever” (De Beers). Siano was one of the minds behind the US Army’s “Be all you can be” slogan and he played a key role in conceiving the Absolut Vodka brand (including the name and bottle design) and their “Absolut Perfection” ad campaign. After leaving Ayer, he founded his own successful Philadelphia-based agency.

Siano was not simply an ad man, but an artist. He created his own work beyond the offices of Madison Avenue and was represented at his eponymous gallery in Philadelphia and showed in Manhattan as well. Not bound to any one medium, Siano worked with wood, weavings, ceramics, and painting and was an active member of the Senior Artists Initiative in Philadelphia. Settling near New Hope, Pennsylvania, he befriended both George and Mira Nakashima, which led to his purchase of an exceptional bubinga dining table by Mira. Rago is honored to offer a selection of furnishings from his estate and art he created during his long and successful career.

Art is not a product of the ego but a result of being open to divine inspiration.

Mira Nakashima

Mira Nakashima b. 1942

Since 1990, Mira Nakashima has furthered the legacy of her father, the preeminent American woodworker George Nakashima, whilst standing on her own as an artist. It was in that year, upon her father’s death, that Mira, a gifted craftsperson in her own right, took charge of the studio her father established in the 1940s. Since then, she has produced his classic and traditional lines while extending the family tradition through her own design solutions.

Mira studied Architecture Science at Harvard and, at her father’s urging, went on to earn a graduate degree at Waseda University in Japan. After graduation, she returned to her family home and accepted a part-time job working for Nakashima Studios. Apprenticing under her father taught Mira that, even for creative people, there is a certain amount of discipline and repetitive learning required to master one’s craft. Though George Nakashima was a man of few words who rarely praised her work, Mira was never discouraged. She understood that her father’s philosophy valued the common goal over the personal: a direct contrast to the Western culture’s celebration of the ego.

Embodying this philosophy, Mira, a master of her craft, has not been concerned with making her own brand. She sees her work as a continuation of her father’s, feels his presence in the studio, and continues to honor his legacy with Nakashima Studio designs. Mira’s respect for her history and heritage, coupled with her artistry, has carried Nakashima Studio into the 21st century.

Auction Results Mira Nakashima