Tuned to the past

Times Staff Writer

MYSTERY, romance and a little science fiction figure into Los Angeles Modern Auctions' latest catalog. The sale Sunday features a 1935 blue mirror and chrome Nocturne radio by the Machine Age master Walter Dorwin Teague. The radio, below, resembles something out of a Buck Rogers serial. Believed to be one of 10 in existence, it is expected to sell for $80,000 to $100,000. Three plywood chairs designed by architect Rudolph M. Schindler for the late-1940s residence of Ellen Janson will be offered with correspondence between the two, which LAMA discreetly describes as having a "close friendship dating back to the 1920s." Even more intriguing is a remarkably contemporary-looking plywood table with a tag that reads "Paul R. Williams Creative Furniture." Unlike Paul Frankl, Paul Laszlo and other contemporaries, Williams, the preeminent African American architect on the West Coast, did not have a documented history with Los Angeles furniture manufacturers. "He did create furniture for his clients," says Karen E. Hudson, his granddaughter and biographer. "This looks like his work and may very well have been part of a short-lived deal to reproduce his designs." The piece is expected to sell for $1,500 to $2,000 and will be on display during a preview from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today through Saturday at the Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. The auction begins at noon Sunday. www.lamodern.com

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