Who Are the Artists? May 22 Auction Highlights
The upcoming auction on May 22 is a delightful treat for anyone who is a mid-century modern art & decor lover! Browse the collection of admired Ohio potter, sculptor, and teacher, George Roby. Works include his own creations as well as favorites from his personal collection. Also featured is a single owner collection of over two hundred pieces of art glass from a Northeast Ohio collector.
From Roby’s collection, you’ll find a few pieces from Cleveland ceramist Claude Conover. Conover was known for his bold pieces which were unusual for their time. He used his own “clay bodies” created from stoneware, typically decorating them with cryptic scratches, stripes and hatchings. He was awarded The Cleveland Arts Prize for the visual arts in 1983. “Although decorative in intent, the indecipherable incised lines on his ceramics suggest some prehistoric unreadable script. The resultant works evoke a timeless monumentality reminiscent of ancient vessels whose utilitarian purpose is now lost to us. Within this limited repertoire, he produced beautiful, eternal works of art. Although Conover’s large impressive pots are his best work, he also made other forms, such as bowls, lamps, and ceramic animal sculpture.”
Conover worked in commercial design for more than 30 years, until finally dedicating himself to ceramics, using self-taught techniques. “He exhibited in 14 May Show exhibitions and for many years in national ceramics shows. Over his lifetime his work was shown in almost 50 exhibitions in museums across the country and his pieces are found in numerous public, private and corporate collections. Today these ceramics command high prices in the market place.” Read more on Cleveland Arts Prize.
One thing to note about Claude Conover is that he is an artist whose works rarely come up at auction in a such a large grouping. His work is highly sought after by collectors.
Works by Conover to be sold include a stoneware vessel titled MAAC, 24 ½ inches tall by 11 ¼ inches wide (est. $6,000-$8,000); a stoneware vessel titled Baach, 20 ¼ inches tall by 14 ¼ inches wide (est. $4,000-$6,000); and a stoneware vessel titled Aclix, 21 inches tall by 15 inches wide. All three pieces have been artist signed and titled on the bottom and are accompanied by the original clear plastic insert.
Also, the upcoming auction features works from teacher, sculptor, and potter, George Roby. “His works include large, expressive slab and coil built sculptures, suitable for indoor or outdoor exhibit, focused on functional stoneware that used both hand built and wheel-thrown techniques. His special oxides and glazing techniques augment the characteristics of electric firing. This process results in striking surfaces and colors that coincide with his well-conceived forms. George Roby has become well known through juried exhibitions such as the Cleveland May Show, Butler Sculpture and Ceramics exhibit, Ohio Designer Craftsmen, along with many other regional and national exhibits. His works can also be found in the collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art, The Butler Institute of American Art, the Columbus Museum of Art, and numerous private collections.” You can read more about George Roby in Artist Archives.
There are 64 lots of works by Roby in the auction (starting at lot 11) – these include plaster busts, stoneware and raku abstract sculptures, and large stoneware sculptural vessels. Highlights include an abstract stoneware sculpture and base, unsigned (est. $150-$250); a raku ceramic in two parts titled Bird Bath, signed on the base and 32 ¼ inches in height (est. $100-$200); and numerous lots of bowls, jardinieres and cups. Most of the ceramics in the auction come from Roby’s personal collection.
They’re followed by a collection of Ephraim pottery featuring 35 lots by Laura Klein, then the art glass portion of the catalog starts with a Val St. Lambert art glass vase (lot 154), followed by 91 lots of glass by Murano, Orient and Flume, Lundberg Studios, Charles Lotton, Vandermark & Merritt and others. The sale closes with Chinese cloisonné and Japanese Tokoname.
Female artists also take the spotlight in this auction. Helen Beling, a sculptor and New York City native who studied at the National Academy of Design and at the Art Students League of New York. She was a nonobjective sculptor, and worked in a variety of media during her career, including bronze, ceramic, and wood. Her work was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Read more about Helen here. Laura Klein is one of the Ephraim potters whose works are featured in the auction. Ephraim Pottery is the modern incarnation of the traditional artisan guild. Their roots are in the American Arts & Crafts revival, working together as artists to create timeless artwork that is classically inspired by our natural surroundings yet thoroughly modern. Each design is limited to a certain number of pieces, marked with a seal of authenticity.
In all, 267 lots of over 1,000 pieces will cross the auction block. Take a look at the catalogue and bid on your favorites here >