I am intrigued with the shapes people choose as their symbols to create a language. There is within all forms a basic structure, an indication of the entire object with a minimum of lines that become a symbol. That is common to all languages, all people, all times.
Champion 100 celebrates the collecting philosophy of George Champion. With more than 25 years in the field, Champion has cultivated a reputation for assembling works across a broad range of styles and movements. He explains: “I collect what I like—as long as it’s good design.”
From the very beginning, George was focused on finding the best examples of any given design. His father, who worked in manufacturing and industrial design, instilled in George a robust appreciation for precision, quality and innovation at an early age.
His first foray into the world of collecting was with Shaker furniture. Drawn to the clean, unadorned lines and practicality of Shaker style, it was only natural that George soon transitioned to collecting midcentury modern works, endeavoring to find the most original or iconic representations of a form be it Mies van der Rohe’s white leather Barcelona chairs for Knoll or 50th Anniversary, rosewood LCWs by Charles and Ray Eames.
His passion for design extends well beyond the historical to the contemporary, rare and unusual. Since the 1980s, George has traveled each year to Milan to attend the Salone de Mobile and satellite fairs to view present day design innovations. He fervently follows the production of Cappellini because he believes Giulio Cappellini has been the most receptive to providing opportunities to new, up-and-coming designers. It is from the Cappellini Showroom in New York, "where the company sends its best stuff", that George has acquired many original and exceptional designs including Oki Sato’s (nendo) Tent desk.
Finally, George is also interested in the designers themselves and he has met many of the designers whose works he collects. From asking Ettore Sottsass, Keith Haring, or Philippe Starck to sign works within his collection, to purchasing works from Gaetano Pesce directly, George is wholly invested in the world of design. Design is his passion, his interest and his livelihood.
Champion 100 is the first in a series of auctions in which Wright collaborates with a collector to present a curated selection of 100 works from their personal collection highlighting their design philosophy. George Champion is a collector and dealer located in Woodbury, Connecticut.
Keith Haring 1958–1990
Keith Haring was born in 1958 in Reading, Pennsylvania. From a young age he enjoyed drawing, especially Disney characters and other cartoons. He initially wanted to become a commercial artist but after a year at the Ivy School of Professional Art in Pittsburgh, Haring dropped, moved to New York City and enrolled in the School of Visual Arts (SVA). Haring immediately felt connected to the thriving alternative arts scene happening downtown in the late 1970s and became friends with Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf.
Inspired by the ideals of “art as life” and moving the art experience out of galleries and into the streets, Haring’s first major works were his subway drawings. Haring produced over one hundred of these public works between 1980 and 1985, integrating his now-iconic exuberant, cartoonish outlined figures into everyday public space in a way that directly engaged its viewers. Haring recalled that the most important aspects of these works was the immediate engagement people had with them, asking him “what does it mean?” and giving him feedback that he’d then incorporate into future drawings. In this way, these works became reflections of the people who viewed them, responsive to and in dialogue with their environment. These works quickly garnered the attention of tastemakers in New York and his first solo exhibition was held at Westbeth Painters Space in 1981 and a celebrated show debuted at the high-profile Tony Shafrazi Gallery in New York the following year.