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

Paul Rudolph 1918–1997

Paul Rudolph was a leading modernist architect, known for his use of interlocking forms, concrete blocks and complex floor plans. He was born in Elkington, Kentucky in 1918, studied architecture at what is now Auburn University and, in 1947, after serving three years in the Navy, he received his master’s degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. After school, he moved to Sarasota, Florida, opening his own firm in 1951. Rudolph became known for his sensitivities in designing around the Florida climate and terrain and was progressive in his thinking about ventilation and natural light. His Sarasota buildings received national attention, bringing him larger commissions and an appointment as the chair of the Yale University School of Architecture in 1958. That same year, he won the commission to design Yale’s Art and Architecture Building, which was celebrated for its modernist use of materials and articulated spaces. Rudolph left Yale in 1965, moving to New York City to return to his own private practice. His first major project was renovating his residence at 23 Beekman Place in midtown. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Rudolph was designing university campuses, government buildings, apartment complexes and affordable housing. When his Brutalist style fell out of favor in the United States, replaced by a revival of historicism and ornamentation, Rudolph began designing high-rise buildings in southeast Asia that were praised by the architectural community. Rudolph passed away in 1997, generously releasing his work’s intellectual property rights to the public and his archive to the Library of Congress, subsequently helping to establish the Center for Architecture, Design and Engineering. There have been great efforts in recent years to preserve Rudolph’s singular vision of modernism and his mastery of materials, form, light and space.

Auction Results Paul Rudolph