Way back in 2001, before a molded ply Eames kids chair was even a twinkle in my eye, Patrick Parrish was amassing a remarkable collection of kid chairs. He's shown the collection only a couple of times, once back in the day at his design gallery Mondo Cane, and more recently at Partners & Spade. One of his rarest chairs was included in MoMA's Century of the Child exhibition last year.
And now the whole thing's going to auction, in like two days.
Wright20 in Chicago is selling the Mondo Cane collection, 23 chairs, grouped into four lots, this Thursday, June 6. Each lot has a mix of major, minor, and great unknown. Let's take a look, hmm?
LOT 317: THE ROCKING LOT UPDATE: sold for $3,750.
L to R: an aluminum rocker like your grandparents never had on their back porch; an unidentified ply rocking horse; a sweet Mategot-lookin' metal rocker like your grandparents never had on the terrace of their house in Villefranche; two variations of Gloria Caranica's Rocking Beauty for Creative Playthings; a plywood rocker by Albrecht Lange and Hans Mitzloff? Which, who? What? We have discussed this before here, these previously unidentified Russian rockers. Now we know! And this awesomely unstable-looking stool from Alex A.R. Pedersen, about which more later, because it is awesome.
LOT 318: THE DANISH/AUSTRIAN PLAY UPDATE: sold for $3,250.
L to R: a folding chair "in the manner of Hans Wegner," which is close enough for me; a kleine Thonet; a Nanna Ditzel high chair/stool, the kind that doesn't have a belt of restraining bar; a fairly awesome woven jute chair by Mogens Koch; and an actual Arne Jacobsen, not one of the bajillion knockoffs.
LOT 319: UH, FOUR DESIGNY CHAIRS AND A HOBBY HORSE UPDATE: sold for $3,250.
L to R: I had trouble coming up with a theme name for this batch, obviously, maybe because I'm confused why this Albrecht Lange & Hans Mitzloff chair was separated from its rocking partner. Guess you'll just have to buy both lots! This "leather" chair is actually described on Mondo Cane's website as masonite. Also, it's credited to Gideon Kramer. Unusual. Awesome and also random, but mostly just awesome Creative Playthings tubular steel hobby horse. This is what the future once looked like. Greg Fleischman's laser-cut plywood chair. And a sweet little L-Leg chair by Alvar Aalto that'll make you curse the Ikea darkness.
LOT 320: MODERN MOLDED GOODNESS UPDATE: sold for $nothing! It didn't sell. Go make your cruel offer!
L to R: A baby Bertoia chair. The gooey goodness of Gaetano Pesce's poured resin Crosby Chair (1998), one of just four kid-sized chairs (there were also around 40 grownup-sized chairs in the series). The red-seat variation of Pesce's little chair was included in the MoMA exhibition last year. An Areta face chair of molded plastic. A trippy molded plastic Eames-style shell chair. Another Bertoia chair. And another, non-psychedelic shell chair with a label that makes no sense to me, "Midwest Hyrdofix Co." or something.
Anyway, to sum up, as great a group of kids chairs as you'll ever be able to buy all at once, ever. Which brings us to the price estimates. $5-7,000 per lot. Let's call that aspirational. I might also call it close to full retail. Especially when you average in classic-but-not-hard-to-find-or-particularly-expensive pieces like the Bertoia chairs. Or the great -design-but-a-thousand-dollars? anonymous porch furniture.
But I would not let that deter you. Get in there and bid low. And often.
Wright 20 Important Design, June 6, 2013 [wright20.com]