Steve Cabella, owner of Modern i, remains a recognized founder of the Bay Area modernist movement. His groundbreaking shop is known as one of the earliest dedicated to modern design, as it opened its Marin doors in 1976. Cabella has avidly collected for over three decades and is dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of modern artifacts by artists, architects and designers. Items from his collection have been internationally exhibited, including at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, the Eames Office Gallery and the San Francisco Airport Museum. Exhibited pieces presented at auction include Venice chairs, numerous Eames picks displayed at the Airport show and both a Noguchi lamp and original Eames photos exhibited last year at the Charles M. Schulz Museum. An Eames expert in his own right, Cabella runs eamescollector.com, a not-for-profit website documenting obscure Eames design moments. In addition, he recently produced a film titled Ray and Charles Eames: The Hollywood Connection that delves into their contribution to Hollywood movie making. Cabellas coveted collection has included prototypes and early variants by Ray and Charles Eames, graphic design, industrial design, artwork and jewelry.
Cabellas affinity for modern design began as a child when he discovered post-war design. The designs hit him as honest and became the basis for his appreciation of modern designs value and authenticity. His continued mantra to both new and experienced collectors alike is that originality takes precedence, a theme that has spurned his own unique collecting mentality. Cabella also strives to amass lost moments as he calls them. These objects that have an ability to tell a story or illustrate by their mere presence have become his passion. Case in point from his collection were several 1930s Eames paintings. Completed before the duo were known designers, the pieces tell the story of the iconic design team as young artists. Their amazing talent was clearly apparent in the paintings, completed ten years prior to any recognition for their modern designs.
will debut choice selections from the Cabella Collection in its 20th Century Design Auction slated for May 8, 2014. Approximately 80% of the sale lots will stem from the Cabella Collection, providing a wide range of coveted mid-century modern pieces to the bidding public. The sale includes numerous extremely rare and one-of-a-kind pieces from modern icon Margaret de Patta. Highlights include a four piece sterling silver, copper and stainless steel flatware set embossed with original de Patta insignias ($10,000-12,000). Only five of these sets are known to exist, with remaining suites held in museums and esteemed private collections. A sterling silver Margaret de Patta ring of fluid abstract design will also be presented, standing as an excellent example of her limited studio production work ($2,400-3,200). Perhaps one of the rarest de Patta offerings in the auction stems from a group of her original design paper ephemera ($1,200-1,400). The three handmade, one-of-a-kind, abstract Christmas cards are accompanied by original brochure photos from 1950, 1951, 1961, 1962 and 1964. This extremely rare collection was exhibited in both Oakland and New York Craft Museum Margaret de Patta exhibits.
Additional auction highlights are found in a 1963 Avanti by Studebaker automobile designed by Raymond Loewy ($20,000-25,000). The car is one of only two thousand and eight produced by hand in 1963, bearing a serial number of 777. The automobile remains in exceptionally clean, authentic condition with all of its original parts. Also of note in the auction is a scarce Eames storage unit ($3,200-3,600). The coveted model ES2U100 is fashioned in a rarely seen perforated metal panel. This first year production piece remans in exceptional showroom condition, with its original colors of red, white, blue and grey.
Previews for this not to be missed collector event will be held on May 2nd to the 4th, as well as on the day of sale, May 8, 2014. The sale will consist of a wonderful selection of modern and contemporary furniture, artwork, lighting and decorative objects.