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.

Eero Saarinen

Born in 1910, Eero Saarinen was surrounded by design his entire life; his father, Eliel Saarinen was an architect and director of the Cranbrook Academy of art and his mother, Loja Saarinen, was an acclaimed textile artist. In 1929, Saarinen traveled to Paris to study sculpture at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière before enrolling in the Yale architecture program. He returned to Cranbrook in 1934 where he met fellow designer and friend, Charles Eames. In 1947, Saarinen won a competition to design a monument for Thomas Jefferson in St. Louis. His Gateway Arch would mark one of the many triumphs of his short but incredibly productive career.

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