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The Seat of Modern Design

May 13, 1999|CONNIE KOENENN

A molded plywood chair designed by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen will be auctioned as part of an "Icons of 20th Century Design" sale Sunday in Beverly Hills.

It's a centerpiece for more than 500 items of furniture, glass, pottery and decorative arts to be sold by Los Angeles Modern Auctions at leased space in the Chait Gallery, 9330 Civic Center Drive.

The "Conversation" armchair, a major influence on 20th century design, was part of the only Eames-Saarinen collaboration. They were resident instructors at the Cranbrook Institute near Detroit when they designed the chair and a dining suite as an entry in the Museum of Modern Art's 1940 Organic Design Competition, said Shannon Loughrey.

"It won first place and is documented as an important influence on their mass-produced molded chairs of the postwar era," said Loughrey, who with husband Peter has been sponsoring the L.A. Modern Auctions since 1992.

The chair is valued at between $45,000 and $50,000.

Other designers represented in Sunday's auction include Paul Laszlo, Raymond Loewy, Russel Wright, George Nakashima and Isamu Noguchi.

Auction items can be previewed daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or online at http://www.lamodern.com. Information: (323) 845-9456.

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