raymond loewy

Modernism On The Auction Block

Here's your chance to purchase pieces associated with two 20th-century creative geniuses – Raymond Loewy and Albert Frey.

Lawrence Karol Current Digital, Modernism

raymond loewy
The model of Air Force One Loewy made for the Kennedy Administration. Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000.

In what can only be called a modernism and design aficionados' doubleheader, Bonhams Los Angeles will be auctioning a selection of pieces previously owned or created by industrial designer Raymond Loewy. Included in the sale with be items from the Vista Las Palmas home designed for him by desert modernist Albert Frey.

In Palm Springs, Loewy is remembered not just for creating 20th-century icons – such as the Lucky Strike cigarette package, the shape of the Coca-Cola bottle, the Greyhound bus and logo, and the Studebaker Avanti – but for commissioning a truly iconic home.

As with many midcentury, pavilion-style homes, there are walls of glass and striking views of the desert and mountains. The house was built on a sloped lot amid fields of boulders and those boulders literally spill into the living room – the swimming pool was designed around them and you can swim under the doors and into the room.

In 2000, the design-build practice Marmol and Radziner restored the two-bedroom home and added a master bedroom suite. In an article for Palm Springs Life , Leo Marmol noted that, “Frey was alive when we were working on this project so we were able to meet him and learn about his traditions in the desert. It was our introduction to the living history of Palm Springs modernism.”

Among the lots for sale at Bonhams are original paintings and sketches Loewy created, an RL monogrammed dinnerware collection he used at the Frey house, the model of Air Force One that he made for the Kennedy Administration, and his personal briefcase, passport, and dated yearbooks.


Custom RL monogrammed dinnerware by Carole Stupell Ltd – in a shade of blue that is reminiscent of the one Loewy used in his design for Air Force One. Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500.

There are also a number of other lots that may appeal to desert collectors. A few highlights include a pair of circa 1970 Swiveling Crescent Chairs by Vladimir Kagan; a 1979 Ettore Sottsass vase for Fontana Arte; and a 1960s Lotus Table Lamp by Carlo Nason.

The sale will be on public view at Bonhams Los Angeles starting Oct. 23, with the auction to be held at 10 a.m. Oct. 27. Customers can also place bids over the telephone. Following the live auction, a select number of pieces will be available online, starting Oct. 28 via bonhams.com.

For more information, contact Erik Perez, Hello PR Group, [email protected], 323-452-3310.


Loewy's personal Rexbilt briefcase. Estimate: $1,500 - $2,000.

Untitled (Abstract Landscape), 1957 by Raymond Loewy. Oil and mixed media on masonite. Signed and dated lower right "Raymond Loewy 57," 24 x 30 inches. Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000.


Antipainting (Dune Racing), 1971 by Raymond Loewy. Oil and mixed media on canvas board. Signed along lower edge "raymond loewy," titled and dated, inscribed "Dune Racing" on verso, 20 x 24 inches. Estimate: $1,500 - $2,000.


Midcentury buffs will be intrigued by this lot of ephemera that includes: Two period blueprints of the Loewy House from the office of Clark & Frey Architects (with Clark & Frey mark); two period Julius Shulman black-and-white photographs of the Loewy House (Julius Shulman credit stamps on verso); one color photograph of the Loewy House; and a period manuscript of design notes on the Loewy House from Raymond Loewy Associates. Estimate: $2,500 - $3,500.