Eames Auction Called Off

Eames Auction Called OffThe bidding is off for Lot 733, a private collection of Ray and Charles Eames photographs, clippings, negatives and other material collected for more than three decades by their official archivists, John and Marilyn Neuhart. The archives of the late iconic furniture designers, estimated to be worth $200,000, was to be part of a larger Eames auction this week by the Richard Wright auction house of Chicago.

We first reported trouble in Eamesland here. Representatives for the Eames family opposed the sale because they claimed some of the items were never intended to become property of the Neuharts during their professional relationship.

The Neuharts worked with Ray Eames on the book, "Eames Design: The Work of the Office of Charles and Ray Eames" (Harry N. Abrams, 1989), helped with an exhibition and were included in other Eames projects. Another sticky point was the issue of copyright; the Eames family were also concerned with the material being used to reproduce imitations of the Eames' mid-century modern style. The family says the collection also contains image plates necessary for reprinting of the book.

Eames attorneys filed suit against the auction and forced the withdrawal of two of the lots including no. 733. Several other lots of the Neuharts' were allowed. Eames Demetrios, grandson of Ray and Charles Eames, says he's relieved of the outcome.

"Our hope is that were able to fulfill Ray's intentions which was the materials stay with the family and that we'll make them available on our website and through the Eames Office gallery."

Richard Wright, who has sold Eames furniture for several decades, says of the decision: "We have a good relationship with both parties and hope to work with them to resolve the matter and find a new home for this important material."

The collection is thought to be one of the largest of Eames material in private hands. For now, it will remain with Richard Wright until the issue is ultimately resolved. Only the Eames family, Eames Office and Foundation, the Library of Congress and a few select museum collections in the U.S. are more significant than what the Neuharts had amassed.
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