Blackman Cruz at Wright auctions

Quirky objects and head-turning design go under the hammer

Los Angeles gallerists Adam Blackman and David Cruz are known for the collections of quirky objects and important design pieces they curate for noted interior decorators and west-coast power players. Few will be surprised that their next move is left field – but that it shifts the focus to testing the limits of the traditional auction format is an unusual step. Their new collaboration with contemporary auction experts Wright is set to take place in New York on Tuesday April 21 – and is now available for preview in the LA showroom.

The expansive sale will be held at Wright’s Madison Avenue space, in the storied Parke-Bernet building, and will feature never-before-seen pieces from Blackman Cruz’s eclectic cache of furniture and curious decorative arts – many of which come from their personal archives. Candlesticks by Warren McArthur (estimated at $4,000-$6,000), a rare 18th-century Italian studded safe ($30,000-$50,000), an exquisite walnut chair by Carlo Bugatti ($10,000-$15,000) and an extraordinary – and very beautiful – Maison Charles table lamp ($5,000-$7,000, second picture) are among the standouts that fuse exquisite design with off-kilter cool.

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Other heavyweights from design history – Josef Hoffmann, Arturo Pani, Paul Frankl and Paolo de Poli among them – will be well represented across the auction’s 200 lots. Floor lamps by Raymond McGrath ($15,000-$20,000), a super-chic 1951 Bianchi motorcycle ($7,000-$9,000, first picture) and bronze-, brass- and turquoise-inlaid accessories by Mexican artist Pepe Mendoza ($4,000-$6,000) will round out the unexpected offerings.

The sale will also feature 15 one-of-a-kind and limited-edition pieces by Blackman Cruz Workshop, including a slightly sinister Snake chair ($8,000-$10,000, third picture) and a commanding Crown of Thorns mirror ($8,000-$10,000).

The pièce de résistance, however, might well be the granite Sphinx by the late sculptor David Edstrom ($50,000-$70,000, fourth picture), originally carved for the Panama-Pacific Exposition of San Francisco in 1915.

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Motorbike fiends might like to speed-read on to The Comeback of the Cafe Racer, while design aficionados might like to know some tips for Milan’s Salone del Mobile Internazionale

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