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Auction Preview: LAMA

Specializing in modern art, design and furniture with an emphasis on works by important 20th-century artists, designers, and architects, Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) was established in 1992 by Peter Loughrey, a devotee of modernism and a contributor to Case Study Houses (Taschen) and Julius Shulman Modernism Rediscovered (Taschen). Holding a select few auctions per year, LAMA will present at noon on May 23 a modern art and design auction with standouts ranging from a rare Frank Lloyd Wright rug to early Nakashima pieces to several items from the collection of architect A. Quincy Jones and his wife, Elaine K. Sewell Jones. 

In the catalogue, Loughrey addresses an investment strategy that many modernists are already well aware of: “You are unlikely to wake up tomorrow to discover half of your painting is gone because of predatory lending in the housing market; or three of your dining chairs have disappeared due to a bad credit default swap,” notes Loughrey, who adds that his own Hans Wegner Papa Bear chair and Eames storage unit “have gone up and down in value while I’ve owned them, but I can’t possibly measure the dividends that each have paid in the quality of my life.” The preview runs every day (10 am to 6 pm or by appointment) through May 22, ahead of the auction at their 17,000-square-foot gallery in Van Nuys. The lots range in value from the surprisingly affordable to the almost entirely out of reach. Online bidding, or just browsing, is encouraged. 
 

The high-backed, steel-and-leather Oxford chair by Arne Jacobsen was originally designed around 1965 for the dining halls at St. Catherine’s College in Oxford, specifically for the long tables where the professors had their meals, and possibly to emphasize the authoritative hierarchy of the professors. Manufactured by Fritz Hansen and bearing their original labels, the group of eight chairs is estimated at $5,000 to $7,000.

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