Auction Powerhouses Merge and Offer October Auction
by Kate Nixon
Two well-known auction houses have joined together and will offer their first collaborative decorative arts auction on October 19th.
Arts & Crafts leader Toomey & Co made the announcement earlier this month of their merging with auction firm Rago/Wright, creating an unparalleled alliance of Arts and Crafts expertise. As with Rago/Wright’s 2021 partnership with LA Modern Auctions (LAMA), Toomey & Co. will maintain its name while all four houses work together to share technology, expertise, and marketing efforts. Based in the suburb of Oak Park, IL, the Toomey & Co. office and galleries will relocate to Wright’s Chicago headquarters at 1440 W. Hubbard St. in the fall of 2022.
This move marks a new chapter for Toomey & Co. and President John Toomey sees plenty of growth ahead. “Joining forces with Rago/Wright expands our ability to serve our clients, extends our competitive advantage, and positions us for future growth,” says Toomey. Founded in 1987, Toomey & Co. is a leading and trusted presence in the art and design markets. Under the leadership of Lucy Toomey and John Walcher, Toomey & Co. offers several early 20th century auctions along with modern design, fine art, jewelry, silver, and timepieces. A renowned specialist in objects of the Arts & Crafts Movement, John Toomey will join David Rago, who is a preeminent authority in 20th century decorative ceramics and design.
Toomey & Co. specialist Riley Humler will contribute to the reputation that Partner David Rago has built for Rago/Wright as a leading auction house for early 20th century American ceramics and art pottery. With more than 30 years of auction experience, Humler is President of the American Art Pottery Association, has appeared regularly on Antiques Roadshow, and, in 1991, curated and sold the Glover Collection, considered the most important sale of Rookwood pottery to date. “Joining forces with John Toomey and Riley Humler is a decades-long dream,” says David Rago. “With this merger, we are launching an American Arts & Crafts team unlike any other in the industry.” Rago/Wright Partner Suzanne Perrault echoes the sentiment, “It is incredibly exciting to grow our expertise and expand our repertoire. We are delighted to finally come together with Toomey & Co. and to collaborate in 20th century design.”
It turns out the new Arts and Crafts partnership is wasting no time in bringing the first auction to collectors everywhere. Their first auction on October 19th, Fine Art + Furniture & Decorative Arts, will feature a selection of art and design with the current Arts & Crafts spotlight falling on a special Tiffany Studios Greek Key table lamp ($15,000 – $20,000), a rare and early Gustav Stickley divan ($5,000 – $10,000), a Roycroft bookcase ($7,000 – $9,000), and a Dirk Van Erp warty vase ($1,500 – $2,000) among a few others listed on Toomey & Co’s website.
A selection of items from Toomey & Co’s preview of Fine Art + Furniture & Decorative Arts include (from left to right) a Roycroft bookcase, a Tiffany Studios Greek Key table lamp, and an early Gustav Stickley Divan. Collectors can view the remaining preview items on the link below.
The aforementioned Riley Humler will use his curatorial magic to create his Keramics and Rookwood: American & European Art Pottery auction on November 2nd. This quarterly auction will include over 400 vases, bowls, pitchers, lamps, figural works, landscapes, and decorative items. Covering the late 19th to the mid 20th century, auction highlights include a Dragon vase by Rookwood founder Maria Longworth Nichols Storer, a Hester Pillsbury for Weller monumental Hudson scenic vase with two galleons, a rare Sturgis Laurence for Rookwood plaque depicting the New England coast, and fine examples by Kataro Shirayamadani, Carl Schmidt, Frederick Hurten Rhead, Waylande Gregory, and others.