I was always on the fringe of everything I did.

Robert Loughlin

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.

Robert Loughlin 1949–2011

Robert Loughlin was a beloved artist and character in the world of design. Born in Alameda, California in 1949, his interest in design flourished at a young age. By the late 1970s, he had opened two stores in San Francisco, being one of the first "pickers" to specialize and create a resale market for mid-century design. In 1980, he relocated to Miami Beach, Florida where he established a third store and also began painting.

After several years, he moved to New York City and opened the Executive Gallery and became immersed in the downtown art scene. He became known for his boisterous, hard-living as much as his design skills; he sourced art and furniture for clients such as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Robert Mapplethorpe. One of his most impressive finds was a Salvador Dali painting at a thrift shop that he bought for $40. During this time, his iconic imagery of "The Brute," a smoking square-jawed male figure, began appearing all over the city — on found objects including doors, tables, antiques, trash, bottles, skateboards, other works of art, and public spaces alike. "The Brute," an idealized male face, often depicted smoking, recalls the classic, masculine faces of James Dean and Marlon Brando, and is modeled after Loughlin's partner of thirty-one years, Gary Carlson. Loughlin explored the far reaches of this singular imagery, which has since become an icon of gay and outsider culture.

His artworks are collected by institutions such as The Carnegie Museum of Art and among personal collections including the artist Donald Baechler. Tragically, Robert Loughlin was struck by a car near his home in New Jersey in 2011.

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Auction Results Robert Loughlin