A rare work by midcentury designer Isamu Noguchi, a 1948 marble table, is expected to fetch between $1 million and $1.5 million when it heads to the auction block later this year.
A biomorphic tabletop hand-carved in pink Georgia marble, the rare private commission, designed for fashion photographer Milton Greene and his first wife Evelyn in 1948, was well-documented after its creation. Greene, who shot for Look, Life, and Charm magazines, among others, even included the table, featuring a central cut out for a steel bowl and an asymmetrical wood base, in some of his work.
The table was “lost” for decades, after Greene sold it during a move from Weston, Connecticut to New York City. It has remained in the possession of a single family, who prefer to remain nameless, since the ‘50s.
The “re-discovery” is notable due to the rarity, and desirability, of Noguchi’s tables. He created only a handful during his career, and they fetch high prices. In 2014, his Goodyear table brought in $4.5 million at auction, while another marble coffee table made for Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Dretzin sold for $2.9 million. Even Noguchi tables made for Herman Miller can go for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
For comparison, the aluminum and fiberglass Lockheed Lounge by Mark Newsom set an auction record for a living designer when it was sold for $3.7 million in 2015.
Chicago’s Wright Auctions, which specialized in midcentury work and will put the piece up for bid on June 7, will begin displaying the piece to the public at its New York location beginning May 9.