The industrial designer is an artist because he shapes things in an effort to give order and beauty to a mass of material, and because in doing so he infuses emotional content into an inanimate object...[a designer] will be judged ultimately on...the vision with which he establishes his standards and the courage with which he sticks by them.

George Nelson

Mark McDonald

The Founder of Mid-century Design

Mark McDonald has always been at the epicenter of the world that is mid-century design, to a large extent, it is a world he created. For over forty years, Mark has pioneered whole fields of collecting, providing the scholarship and creating the market for mid-century furniture, studio jewelry, ceramics and Italian glass.

Fifty/50 store front; Ralph Cutler, Mark Isaacson and Mark McDonald

In 1983, Mark opened Fifty/50 with partners Mark Isaacson and Ralph Cutler. This groundbreaking gallery defined collectors’ taste. At the time, modern works were still largely overlooked; Mark and his partners collected and presented the rarest and most interesting pieces, often working with the makers themselves, to create compelling exhibitions accompanied by catalogs documenting the work. 

Fifty/50 opened its doors with an exhibition of Eames design; Mark McDonald and Ray Eames

In the 1990s, Mark opened Gansevoort Gallery, where he continued to curate collections and exhibitions of lasting impact. Over the years, he established relationships with artists and their estates becoming the go to authority on the designs of Art Smith, Ilonka Karaz and Leza McVey, among others. His enthusiasm for the material extended beyond the gallery floor to the back room where lucky visitors got to flip through Mark’s impressive design reference library and discuss the importance of works with him. 

Art Smith with his Spiral necklace design; Mark hosted an exhibition on Art Smith at Gansevoort Gallery. He support of the artist extended to the Brooklyn Museum to which Mark donated several Smith pieces for their collection.

A connoisseur and wealth of knowledge, Mark became a resource for prominent collections across the globe—private and public alike. He inspired a generation of collectors and dealers introducing designers and their production to an audience that continues to grow. In 2002, Mark closed Gansevoort and established 330 gallery in Hudson, New York. Now, semi-retired, Marks splits his time between New York and Florida. He still collects, curates, supports, and shepherds the scholarship of mid-century design. 

Wright is honored to offer the following sixty plus works from Mark McDonald’s personal collection.

George Nelson & Associates

Born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1908, George Nelson studied architecture at Yale University, teaching for a short time before the Great Depression. In 1932, he won the Rome Prize and spent the next two years studying design in Italy. Returning to the states, Nelson sold his essays to Pencil Points and became an associate editor at Architecture Forum and Fortune magazine. After reading Nelson’s innovative book Tomorrow's House, then president of Herman Miller furniture company D.J. De Pree hired Nelson as design director. Nelson launched his first collection in 1947 and transformed the struggling company into a groundbreaking leader in the field. Nelson remained at Herman Miller until the mid-1960s, and was responsible for bringing Charles and Ray Eames, Alexander Girard and Isamu Noguchi on board.

In 1947, Nelson opened his own design studio, George Nelson Associates, Inc. which at one time employed over seventy people. The company’s work within corporate settings revolutionized the concept of branding and elevated industrial design to new heights. Throughout his career, Nelson continued to write critically about design across multiple planes, teaching and consulting until his death in 1986.

Auction Results George Nelson & Associates

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Rare and important Marshmallow Sofa | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Rare and important Marshmallow Sofa
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $112,500

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Comprehensive Storage System | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Comprehensive Storage System
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $36,750

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Thin Edge end tables, pair | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Thin Edge end tables, pair
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $34,800

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, custom jewelry chest | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

custom jewelry chest
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $33,600

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Marshmallow Sofa | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Marshmallow Sofa
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $30,420

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Marshmallow sofa, model #5670 | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Marshmallow sofa, model #5670
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $27,600

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, custom wall clock, model #2237 | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

custom wall clock, model #2237
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $24,000

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, miniature chest, model #5511 | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

miniature chest, model #5511
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $24,000

GEORGE NELSON, Marshmallow sofa | wright20.com

George Nelson

Marshmallow sofa
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $20,700

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Marshmallow sofa | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Marshmallow sofa
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $20,000

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Carousel weather vane | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Carousel weather vane
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $20,000

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Marshmallow sofa, model 5670 | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Marshmallow sofa, model 5670
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $20,000

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Whirlygig clock, model 2268 | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Whirlygig clock, model 2268
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $18,600

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, miniature cabinet | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

miniature cabinet
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $18,200

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, table clock, model 2208 | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

table clock, model 2208
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $18,000

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, jewelry cabinet, model #5211 | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

jewelry cabinet, model #5211
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $17,700

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Watermelon table clock, model 2219-B | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Watermelon table clock, model 2219-B
estimate: $6,000–8,000
result: $17,700

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Marshmallow sofa | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Marshmallow sofa
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $17,500

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Clocknik table clock, model 2270 | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Clocknik table clock, model 2270
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $17,500

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Rare Five Leaf chairs from the 1964 New York World's Fair, pair | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Rare Five Leaf chairs from the 1964 New York World's Fair, pair
estimate: $8,000–10,000
result: $17,500

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Comprehensive Storage System (CSS) | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Comprehensive Storage System (CSS)
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $16,250

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Watermelon table clock, model 2219B | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Watermelon table clock, model 2219B
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $16,250

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, chaise lounge, model #5490 | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

chaise lounge, model #5490
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $15,600

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Comprehensive Storage System (CSS) | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Comprehensive Storage System (CSS)
estimate: $9,000–12,000
result: $15,600