James Prestini - Design New York Tuesday, December 13, 2016 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Acquired by one of the artist's students at the College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley, circa 1972

  • Literature

    Arthur Bloomfield, "Simple But Evocative," San Francisco Examiner, December 17, 1970, p. 30 for another example of the same form
    Helen Marie Evans, Man the Designer, New York, 1973, p. 15 for another example of the same form

  • Catalogue Essay

    The son of Italian immigrants from Westerly, Rhode Island, James Prestini caught a lucky break in the 1920s when he caddied for Thomas Watson, founder of I.B.M. Watson’s largesse allowed the teenager to attend Yale University, where he graduated in 1930 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Prestini spent the Depression as a math teacher at Lake Forest Academy, north of Chicago. Piqued by the school’s woodworking shop, Prestini taught himself—and shortly thereafter students—to turn wood as thinly as blown glass. From 1956 until 1975, Prestini was a professor of Architecture at the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley, where his sculptural work incorporated structural steel elements, connecting technology and design to his aesthetic sensibility. Edgar Kaufman Jr., exhibiting Prestini’s work at The Museum of Modern Art in 1949, wrote: “He has made grand things that are not overwhelming, beautiful things that are not personal unveilings, and simple things that do not urge usefulness to excuse their simplicity.”

Property from a California Collection


Construction, no. 282 C

circa 1972
Nickel-plated steel.
10 1/8 x 11 x 5 1/2 in. (25.7 x 27.9 x 14 cm)
Underside numbered 282C.

$15,000 - 20,000 

Contact Specialist
Cordelia Lembo
Specialist, Head of Sale
+1 212 940 1265


New York Auction 13 December 2016