The Mark Isaacson
and Greg Nacozy Collection

The Collection of Mark Isaacson and Greg Nacozy includes over two-hundred works from one of the most significant figures in mid-century collecting. Mark established the influential Fifty/50 gallery in New York in 1981 (later partnering with Mark McDonald and Ralph Cutler in 1983), which shaped the tastes and collecting habits of many and brought furniture, decorative arts and jewelry from the 1930s, 40s and 50s to the forefront of the market at a time when they were largely overlooked.
 

Greg Nacozy and Mark Isaacson in Venice, c. 1985 

Fifty/50’s and Mark’s legacy is most closely associated with bringing Italian art glass to the United States (Mark even advised the MET on their Italian glass collection) and raising the profile of mid-century furniture and American studio jewelry and ceramics; iconic examples of each are represented in this auction, including an early Rudder Stool by Isamu Noguchi, Charlotte Perriand’s and Pierre Jeanneret’s Bahut No. 2, a Gerrit Rietveld Zig-Zag chair, pottery by Edwin and Mary Scheier and Fausto Melotti, and Venini glassworks.

The most exciting aspects of this auction are the more intimate ones—the works from Mark's and Greg's personal collection that speak to Mark's eclectic taste, his boundless curiosity and sensitivity toward objects and art, and how generous he was in sharing his interests with others and letting them share with him. Standouts include several works by Robert Mapplethorpe—who was close friends with Mark, photographed several Fifty/50 catalogs and got many of the ceramics in his photographs from the gallery—the ecstatic wood construction Wild Plant by Leo Amino, a painting by Ralston Crawford of a spectacularly minimalist skyscraper façade, and photographic works by Man Ray, Edward Weston, Lynn Davis and Dorothea Lange.
 

Mark with Ed and Mary Scheier; Robert Mapplethorpe and Mark

This auction also features many works that tie together the thread of Mark’s collecting practices, going beyond the downtown New York sensibilities of the 1980s and showing the scope of eras and cultures that interested him; the sgraffito incisions on a 1940s Scheier vase echo the geometric features of a Senufo Kpeliye'e mask, the entrancing and complex shadows of a grain elevator in a photograph by Ralston Crawford contrast with the severe plainness of a New York City step-back building captured by Walker Evans, and the radical gestures of gay image making are seen in the works of George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus and Robert Loughlin. One of the artists in this sale, George Dureau, a photographer from New Orleans (where Greg is also from) who greatly influenced Mapplethorpe early in his career, perhaps best captures the spirit of this collection, saying about his own work:
 

“I live a warm, involved, humanist sort of life. There are lots of people passing through it. I have exciting experiences and learn things about people. They always go into my art. I cannot have an experience and it not go into my art.”
  
Mark and a friend at Brimfield; Mark's and Greg's apartment; Mark and Greg at The Armory Show

Fifty/50 gallery reshaped the collecting market during its twelve-year existence, closing in 1993 after Mark passed away from AIDS; his partner Greg has cared for the collection since.  The Collection of Mark Isaacson and Greg Nacozy offers an opportunity to see a short but impactful life lived through an enthusiasm for art and design, one that inspired many to see and appreciate objects and live with them as fully as Mark did.

Gio Ponti 1891–1979

Gio Ponti excelled at painting as a child and expressed a fervent interest in the arts. Feeling that a career in architecture was preferable to that of a painter, Ponti’s parents encouraged him to pursue the former and in 1914 he enrolled at the Faculty of Architecture at the Politecnico di Milano. His studies were interrupted by war, and in 1915 he was forced to postpone his education. He served as a captain in the Pontonier Corps until 1919, earning multiple military honors. After graduating in 1921, Ponti married Giulia Vimercati, the daughter of local aristocracy and started an architecture firm. During this time, Ponti aligned himself with the neoclassical movement, Novecento and championed a revival of the arts and culture. In 1928, Ponti founded Domus, a periodical tailored to artists and designers, as well as the broader public. A shift occurred in the 1930s when Ponti took up a teaching post at his alma mater, the Politecnico di Milano. In search of new methods to express Italian modernity, Ponti distanced himself from the sentiments of Novecento and sought to reconcile art and industry. Together with the engineers, Eugenio Soncini and Antonio Fornaroli, Ponti enjoyed great success in the industrial sector, securing various commissions throughout Italy. In the 1950s, he gained international fame with the design of the Pirelli Tower in Milan and he was asked to be a part of the urban renewal of Baghdad, collaborating with top architects from around the world. His 1957 book, Amate l’architettura, is considered to be a microcosm of his work —an incredible legacy spanning art, architecture, industrial design, publishing and academia.

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Upcoming Lots Gio Ponti

Auction Results Gio Ponti

GIO PONTI, Room from the 9th Triennale of Milan 1951 | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

Room from the 9th Triennale of Milan 1951
estimate: $300,000–400,000
result: $324,000

GIO PONTI, custom coffee table from Villa Arreaza, Caracas | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

custom coffee table from Villa Arreaza, Caracas
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $170,500

GIO PONTI, rare sofa for Palazzo Liviano, University of Padova | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

rare sofa for Palazzo Liviano, University of Padova
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $161,000

GIO PONTI, coffee table from Villa Arreaza, Caracas, Venezuela | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

coffee table from Villa Arreaza, Caracas, Venezuela
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $156,000

GIO PONTI, pair of Diamond armchairs from the Lisa Ponti residence, Milan | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

pair of Diamond armchairs from the Lisa Ponti residence, Milan
estimate: $30,000–35,000
result: $144,000

GIO PONTI, custom coffee table from Via Dezza 49 | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

custom coffee table from Via Dezza 49
estimate: $25,000–30,000
result: $134,400

GIO PONTI, executive desk | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

executive desk
estimate: $70,000–90,000
result: $132,000

GIO PONTI, pair of Diamond lounge chairs from Via Dezza 49 | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

pair of Diamond lounge chairs from Via Dezza 49
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $132,000

GIO PONTI, coffee table | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

coffee table
estimate: $100,000–125,000
result: $132,000

GIO PONTI, Rare lounge chairs, pair | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

Rare lounge chairs, pair
estimate: $70,000–90,000
result: $131,000

GIO PONTI, Rare and Important coffee table | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

Rare and Important coffee table
estimate: $70,000–90,000
result: $125,000

GIO PONTI, Diamond sofa from the Lisa Ponti residence, Milan | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

Diamond sofa from the Lisa Ponti residence, Milan
estimate: $40,000–50,000
result: $120,000

GIO PONTI, Diamond sofa from Via Dezza 49 | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

Diamond sofa from Via Dezza 49
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $114,000

GIO PONTI, executive desk | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

executive desk
estimate: $35,000–45,000
result: $106,200

GIO PONTI, pair of Diamond lounge chairs from Villa Arreaza, Caracas | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

pair of Diamond lounge chairs from Villa Arreaza, Caracas
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $100,900

GIO PONTI, rare Diamond dining table | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

rare Diamond dining table
estimate: $70,000–90,000
result: $100,000

GIO PONTI, vessel from the Classical Conversation series | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

vessel from the Classical Conversation series
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $96,000

GIO PONTI, pair of lounge chairs from Villa Arreaza, Caracas | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

pair of lounge chairs from Villa Arreaza, Caracas
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $92,500

GIO PONTI, custom armchairs, pair | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

custom armchairs, pair
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $90,000

GIO PONTI, set of eight dining chairs from Villa Arreaza, Caracas | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

set of eight dining chairs from Villa Arreaza, Caracas
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $86,500

GIO PONTI, rare coffee table | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

rare coffee table
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $80,500

GIO PONTI, important dining table from Villa Arreaza, Caracas | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

important dining table from Villa Arreaza, Caracas
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $80,500

GIO PONTI, Diamond sofa from the Lisa Ponti residence, Milan | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

Diamond sofa from the Lisa Ponti residence, Milan
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $80,400

GIO PONTI, desk | wright20.com

Gio Ponti

desk
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $78,000