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Irving Harper Paper Sculptures Auction Sets Records, Sell For Nearly $1.2M

When legendary industrial designer Irving Harper passed away last summer, he left behind not only a tremendous legacy filled with iconic pieces like the Marshmallow Sofa and Ball Clock for Herman Miller, but also hundreds of gorgeous, intricate paper sculptures. Crafted during his off-hours, the pieces in the impressive collection more recently went into exhibition at Rye Arts Center Gallery in Fall 2014 before hitting the auction block yesterday at modern art and design auction house Wright Chicago. According to Wright, the auction saw "record bidding activity," as 99 percent of the some 300 lots sold after 8 hours, with a few fetching three times the estimated sell price or more.

The owl above, for example, was expected to go for between $7,000 and $9,000, but the final result? $48,750. And the antelope, which was anticipating something in the $3,000 to $5,000 range, went for $16,250. Now that's a productive side gig! Below, a closer look at some of the sculptures offered—full results of the auction, which totaled $1,169,475 in sales, can be found here.


Irving Harper Paper Sculptures [Wright]
The Colorful Career of Irving Harper, Famed Herman Miller Designer [Curbed]
Midcentury Designer's Off-Hours Paper Sculpture Goes to Auction [Curbed]