Custom Nakashima for Wright’s Avery Coonley Playhouse  

Custom Nakashima for Wright’s Avery Coonley Playhouse

Important American Design, Including Works by Nakashima from Avery Coonley Playhouse, at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers' November Modern Design Auction

The November 14 Modern Design auction at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers will include works by important American designers such as George Nakashima, Sam Maloof, William “Billy” Haines, Samuel Marx, Edward Wormley and Paul Evans. The sale will also feature a session of early 20th century design and a collection of property from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Avery Coonley Playhouse, including custom Nakashima furniture.


The Coonley collection includes furniture by George Nakashima that was custom built for the playhouse when updated in the 1980s by the consignors of the collection. Nakashima is known to have preferred working on commission as opposed to mass-producing his designs. The custom Nakashima furniture was executed in 1989, making it some of the last works by the designer who died in 1990. Having trained under Antonin Raymond in Tokyo, who was at one time a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, Nakashima’s design naturally tied the traditional aesthetic of the Avery Coonley Playhouse to a more modern one.

Custom Nakashima Kornblut cabinets
Custom Nakashima Conoid Cushion lounge chairs
Custom Nakashima end tables

Highlights of the collection include a pair of Kornblut cabinets by Nakashima, which were nestled next to the iconic Avery Coonley Playhouse fireplace, alongside original period works by Frank Lloyd Wright and Gustav Stickley. Each showcases iconic Nakashima elements such as his use of American black walnut. The doors conceal an adjustable shelf, and they are signed and dated on the interior. They will be offered with a $40,000 – 60,000 presale estimate. Other Nakashima highlights from the collection include a pair of Conoid Cushion lounge chairs, 1989, with a presale estimate of $15,000 – 20,000 and a pair of end tables with bookend tops, 1989, estimated at $10,000 – 15,000.


In addition to furniture from the Avery Coonley Playhouse, there are many other notable items by important American designers included in the auction. One example is Sam Maloof’s Armchair No. 16, 1971, which has a presale estimate of $8,000 – 12,000. Furniture by William “Billy” Haines will be available such as a table with four chairs circa 1950 and a pair of blue velvet and brass chairs circa 1940, both estimated at $3,000 – 5,000. The Propeller table designed in 1925 by Samuel Marx will be offered with an estimate of $5,000 – 7,000.

Sam Maloof's Armchair No. 16
William "Billy" Haines Chairs
Samuel Marx Propeller table

Among American design will be a collection of furniture by Edward Wormley for Dunabr, including his coffee table model no. 5309, which has a presale estimate of $7,000 – 9,000. There will also be a selection of items by Paul Evans such as his Stalagmite dining table, model PE-102 estimated at $7,000 – 9,000.


From the session of early 20th century design, a collection of Art Deco objects includes a display case in the style of Jules Leleu ($4,000 – 6,000), a Eugene Schoen credenza from the Morris Cafritz residence ($3,000 – 5,000) and a Gilbert Rohde Formal Dining Group cabinet for Herman Miller ($2,000 – 4,000).


The November 14 auction will include a selection of art glass, such as Dale Chihuly’s Gray Seafoam Macchia Group, 1982, estimated at $8,000 – 12,000, as well as a large grouping of cameo glass. Following the November 14 Modern Design auction will be an online-only sale devoted to glass decorative objects: the November 15 Classic Glass auction.


Catalogues for both sales are available online at The previews for both sales will open Friday, November 10 in the Chicago saleroom of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

Edward Wormley Coffee Table
Paul Evans Stalagmite dining table
Style of Jules Leleu
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