On May 19th, Wright is pleased to present Keeping Time: The William Dorsey Collection. With an eye for striking designs and an acute appreciation for the philosophy behind them, William Dorsey thoughtfully amassed an incredible collection of clocks, lighting, and furniture designs by the masterful George Nelson. Archival in its depth and variety, this lively sale features rare timepieces, prototypical designs, iconic furnishings and bold graphics. Vigorously curated and cherished for many years, the William Dorsey Collection at auction offers an opportunity to own truly exceptional examples of timeless design.
The William Dorsey Collection
“Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Like a thirsty man surrounded by saltwater, visitors to our midcentury modern home often glimpse more than 100, non-operating clocks on the wall and have this reaction. What use is a clock that isn’t plugged in and doesn’t tell time? The answer is that these are no ordinary clocks, as even a cursory inspection reveals. George Nelson and his team of designers—particularly Irving Harper—cared about function, but they were inspired by art, sculpture, innovation, and the philosophy of time.
A January 1, 1960 article in the New York Times put it succinctly. “Mr. Harper, seeking the soothing effect of shifting sands in hour-glasses, the mechanical wonders of eighteenth century clocks, and a new sculptural quality in time pieces, arrived [at the Motion Notion series]....By employing materials alien to clocksmiths of old, he has achieved a startling group of hypnotizing designs.” The designs are no less hypnotizing or influential sixty plus years later.
116 George Nelson & Associates
Hexagon wall clock, model 2266A from the Motion Notion series
118 George Nelson & Associates
Platter wall clock, model 2274A from the Motion Notion series
117 George Nelson & Associates
Rare Compass wall clock, model 2278B from the Motion Notion series
115 George Nelson & Associates
Diamond Markers wall clock, model 2267A from the Motion Notion series
119 George Nelson & Associates
Kaleidoscope wall clock, model 2277 from the Motion Notion series
This auction will be accompanied by a full-color catalog.
Keeping Time: The William Dorsey Collection
19 May 2022
11 am central
312 563 0020
12 – 19 May 2022
10 am – 4 pm M – F