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.
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.
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.
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 Karasz 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.
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.
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.
Upcoming Lots George Nelson & Associates
115 George Nelson & Associates
Diamond Markers wall clock, model 2267A from the Motion Notion series
116 George Nelson & Associates
Hexagon wall clock, model 2266A from the Motion Notion series
117 George Nelson & Associates
Rare Compass wall clock, model 2278B from the Motion Notion series
118 George Nelson & Associates
Platter wall clock, model 2274A from the Motion Notion series
119 George Nelson & Associates
Kaleidoscope wall clock, model 2277 from the Motion Notion series
120 George Nelson & Associates
Whirlygig table clock, model 2268 from the Motion Notion series
166 George Nelson & Associates
Ribwood wall clock, model 2291 from the Clocks Ahead of Time series
167 George Nelson & Associates
Rare Flexwood wall clock, model 2286 from the Clocks Ahead of Time series
168 George Nelson & Associates
Birdcage wall clock, model 2292A from the Clocks Ahead of Time series
169 George Nelson & Associates
Wheel wall clock, model 2288B from the Clocks Ahead of Time series
170 George Nelson & Associates
Block wall clock model 2285A, from the Clocks Ahead of Time series
171 George Nelson & Associates
Ring Around wall clock, model 2287A from the Clocks Ahead of Time series
180 George Nelson & Associates
Miniature cabinet, model 5211 from the collection of George Nelson
222 George Nelson & Associates
Prototype Sergeant Schultz table lamp from the collection of George Nelson
Auction Results George Nelson & Associates
George Nelson & Associates
Rare Five Leaf chairs from the 1964 New York World's Fair, pair