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

Russel Wright 1904–1976

Born in Lebanon, Ohio in 1904, Russel Wright transformed the American home with his designed objects. Wright briefly studied at Princeton Law from 1922-1924; however, after becoming enamored with the Broadway plays of New York, he soon left law school to work in the design office of Norman Bel Geddes. It was though the theater scene that Wright met his wife, Mary Einstein Wright whose business acumen would shape Russel’s creations. In 1937, Wright designed the iconic American Modern dinnerware. The ceramic line came in a variety of soft pastels and earth tones with biomorphic shapes influenced by the surrealist Jean Arp. Thanks to the savvy marketing of Mary Wright, American Modern was a commercial success that was so popular that it frequently sold out in stores. George Nelson attributed the designs of Wright as responsible for the American “shift towards the modern in the 1930s.” Wright’s mantra was “good design is for everyone” and in 1949 he created a new dishwasher-safe line. In 1950, the Wrights published their Guide to Easier Living, which laid out how to entertain guests in a suburban home. He began to experiment with the new medium of plastic, and his Flair line of melamine dishes was released in 1959. In 1965, he retired from designing and moved from New York to his summer home in Manitoga. Wright passed away in 1976. The Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design in New York honored Russel Wright with a retrospective of his objects in 2001. His work is held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, New York, among many others.

Auction Results Russel Wright

RUSSEL WRIGHT, Early and Rare cocktail set | wright20.com

Russel Wright

Early and Rare cocktail set

estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $125,000
RUSSEL WRIGHT, Libbiloo Horse bookends | wright20.com

Russel Wright

Libbiloo Horse bookends

estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $28,750
RUSSEL WRIGHT, Rodeo Circus bookends, pair | wright20.com

Russel Wright

Rodeo Circus bookends, pair

estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $26,250
RUSSEL WRIGHT, collection of fifteen vessels | wright20.com

Russel Wright

collection of fifteen vessels

estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $17,500
RUSSEL WRIGHT, flatware | wright20.com

Russel Wright

flatware

estimate: $3,000–4,000
result: $15,600
RUSSEL WRIGHT, horse | wright20.com

Russel Wright

horse

estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $12,000
RUSSEL WRIGHT, torchiere | wright20.com

Russel Wright

torchiere

estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $11,250
RUSSEL WRIGHT, Calliope scroll bookend | wright20.com

Russel Wright

Calliope scroll bookend

estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $10,800
RUSSEL WRIGHT, Oceana bowls, collection of eight | wright20.com

Russel Wright

Oceana bowls, collection of eight

estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $10,795
RUSSEL WRIGHT, Rodeo Circus bookends, pair | wright20.com

Russel Wright

Rodeo Circus bookends, pair

estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $10,000
RUSSEL WRIGHT, cocktail set, model 326 | wright20.com

Russel Wright

cocktail set, model 326

estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $10,000
RUSSEL WRIGHT, collection of thirteen vessels | wright20.com

Russel Wright

collection of thirteen vessels

estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $10,000
RUSSEL WRIGHT, Rodeo bookend | wright20.com

Russel Wright

Rodeo bookend

estimate: $9,000–12,000
result: $9,000
RUSSEL WRIGHT, Bobo bookends, pair | wright20.com

Russel Wright

Bobo bookends, pair

estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $8,125
RUSSEL WRIGHT, vases, pair | wright20.com

Russel Wright

vases, pair

estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $7,500
RUSSEL WRIGHT, vase | wright20.com

Russel Wright

vase

estimate: $1,000–1,500
result: $7,500
RUSSEL WRIGHT, floor lamp | wright20.com

Russel Wright

floor lamp

estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $6,875
RUSSEL WRIGHT, Oceana box | wright20.com

Russel Wright

Oceana box

estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $6,600
RUSSEL WRIGHT, vases, set of five | wright20.com

Russel Wright

vases, set of five

estimate: $3,000–4,000
result: $6,600
RUSSEL WRIGHT, flatware | wright20.com

Russel Wright

flatware

estimate: $6,000–8,000
result: $6,250
RUSSEL WRIGHT, rare cocktail set, model 326 | wright20.com

Russel Wright

rare cocktail set, model 326

estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $6,250
RUSSEL WRIGHT, flatware | wright20.com

Russel Wright

flatware

estimate: $4,500–5,500
result: $5,900
RUSSEL WRIGHT, flatware for the Metropolitan Museum of Art | wright20.com

Russel Wright

flatware for the Metropolitan Museum of Art

estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $5,000
RUSSEL WRIGHT, Corsage vases, set of eleven | wright20.com

Russel Wright

Corsage vases, set of eleven

estimate: $3,000–4,000
result: $4,800