Unveiling a Masterpiece: Rare Paul Evans Studio Cabinet at Auction
By Circle Auction | Jan. 2024
A masterpiece of mid-century modern design is headlining Circle Auction’s first Modern + Contemporary auction of 2024. A rare sculpted bronze cabinet by the legendary American designer Paul Evans will take center stage in the Jan.26th – Feb. 10th event. The cabinet was reviewed and authenticated by Dorsey Reading, Evans’ primary studio collaborator. Reading stated that Paul Evans Studio produced only approximately 25 cabinets of this type, making it quite a rare opportunity at auction.
Paul Evans: A Brief Biography
Born in 1931, Paul Evans was an American furniture designer, artist, and one of the leading figures in the American Studio Craft Movement. Known for his daring and innovative approach to metalwork and furniture design, Evans’ work is a celebration of form and material. His pieces, often characterized by bold textures and materials, blur the lines between sculpture and furniture. As Adriana Kertzer put it in the forward to Paul Evans: Designer & Sculpture “Evans’ designs still defy simplistic stylistic descriptions. They pose a challenge that will forever remain unconquered: categorization. Slick and shiny one moment; rough and sculptural the next. Perhaps the only thing Evans’ designs share in common is their panache and presence.”
Evans’ work is now celebrated, collected, and displayed around the world. From exhibitions in Paris and Milan, to major museums like the MOMA in New York, Paul Evans’ iconic designs continue to inspire.
Paul Evans Custom Studio
As Evans’ fame grew, so did the demand for his designs. In 1970 Evans set up a new factory, at its height employing 88 people, to handle the large volume of pieces being manufactured for Directional. The new factory allowed Evans to produce many of his designs at a much higher scale while at the same time time continuing to create custom studio pieces. According to Paul Evans’ children, most of his pieces were signed, and the custom built pieces were signed and dated. Unlike his designs produced at scale, Evans’ studio pieces were hand-forged, labor intensive, and specially designed. They were created in limited numbers, each piece unique and a singular work of art. These limited editions embody the essence of Evans’ artistic vision, unhindered by the constraints of commercial production.
Paul Evans and Dorsey Reading Collaboration
This cabinet’s authenticity is further underscored by the involvement of Dorsey Reading, Evans’ primary studio collaborator. Reading’s review and authentication of the piece add an extra layer of significance. Their collaboration was a pivotal part of Evans’ creative process, producing works that were groundbreaking in their aesthetic and construction.
A Rare Opportunity
The cabinet, created in 1972, is a stunning example of Evans’ mastery. Measuring 77 1/2″ x 24″ x 24″, it features wood, epoxy overlay, and an applied bronze composition. Signed “PE 72” on the underside, it opens to a mirrored bar with three glass shelves above a lower sliding two-door compartment, and the interior is tastefully lighted from the top.
According to Reading, this cabinet is one of approximately 25 of its designs produced by the Paul Evans Studio, making it an exceedingly rare and valuable piece for collectors. To our knowledge, only four examples have been offered at auction in the last 50 years and each one was unique in it’s detailing.
Online bidding begins January 26th with final “live” online bidding starting February 10th at 10am.
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