The steady movement [throughout the design process] is in the direction of a solution that is ultimately seen, not as beautiful, but as appropriate. The creation of beauty cannot be an aim; beauty is one of the aspects of appropriateness, and it stills lies pretty much in the eye of the beholder, which makes it a byproduct rather than a goal.

George Nelson

Curatorial Alchemy

Our paths first crossed, unknown until many years later, at an intimate yet bustling wedding reception in a south Chicago apartment. This was probably 30 years ago, perhaps even the same year a new gallery, Torno Wright, opened at the end of my street to a fanfare of Eames, heralding new changes to come. Criss-crossing breezes of chance encounters, meandering spirits, hazy focus of time and space, of enthusiasm and knowledge sought, now united again in the same city.

That same serendipity, prompting impulse and discovery, guided welcome reward in the crucible of that great industrial city, still littered with the artefacts of the American mid-century. It was within this uneven yet fertile terrain, hidden slightly below surface, that Patrick’s intuitive talent—honed first as photographer then embellished as artist—would treasure the valuable neglected as passionate collector, and then as the inspirational dealer that I was to meet again, years later in New York City.

If asked to select one word to describe Patrick, I would resist and pick two. The first would be curiosity—a fundamental essential, to stimulate inquiry and rigour in all things, both great and small, of any era or region, type or surface. Even the most fleeting survey of this selection for sale is a celebration of innovation and of inspiration—an unerring eye for the unusually exceptional, or perhaps the exceptionally unusual. The chances are, that these are indeed discoveries that you have not yet realized that you needed to make.

Mentor, would be my second word. If artefacts and objects articulate visual, cultural and historic language, then the fluency of skillful mentorship—to guide, nurture, describe and explain—releases the eloquence of murmuring histories. In this capacity Patrick is that most earnest and sincere of excellent narrators. If ever I had friends, clients or colleagues visiting New York looking for unusual inspiration, there was always the certainty that Patrick’s gallery would offer them a glimpse of the hitherto unseen or the unusually seductive, always with the reassurance of the most fascinating story waiting to be told.

Mentorship and curiosity, when balanced in equal measure, reveal the precious alchemy of a curator. And it is the duty of the mature curator to discern and detect, to cultivate change, and from there to pioneer, and to share. Innovation is never static, and the Present is already the Future. Fresh dialogs evolve, energies to be nurtured, opportunities to be guided. Renewed and re-orientated, Patrick now faces fully forward—as benefactor, interlocutor and mentor to a new, inquisitive generation of talented creators, and the quest for discovery rejuvenates.

— Simon Andrews
andrewsartadvisory.com

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