Under the direction of Eliot Noyes (a designer who studied under Walter Gropius), MoMA's industrial design department was founded in 1934 with the expressed goal of establishing and transmitting the tenants of “good design” to the American people. Through competitions, exhibitions and savvy marketing and manufacturing, MoMA spread the ideology of good design, which was judged by an item's “eye appeal, function, construction, and price.” Works featured in these exhibitions ranged from the wonders of Tupperware and “household objects under $5,” to furniture by Charles and Ray Eames, Alvar Aalto and Edward Wormley and affordable lighting, textiles and home accessories.

Installation image of New Lamps, MoMA, New York, 27 March–3 June 1951

The 1951 competition for low cost lighting was co-sponsored by MoMA and The Heifetz Company, which manufactured ten of the fifteen winning lighting designs, including Gilbert Watrous' floor lamp, which can be seen in the above photograph in the center foreground. Designs from these competitions are coveted, as they were often produced in limited quantities and endure as modest emblems of the century's emerging sensibilities toward design and consumerism that shaped our contemporary design landscape.

Arts & Architecture, May 1951


1. Fulfills its function.
2. Respects its materials.
3. Is suited to method of production.
4. Combines these in imaginative expression.

Eliot Noyes

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