Ivory treasures, distinctive art mark estate sale

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Herbert Seigle was a discerning collector who liked distinctive designs. For his desk, the Pittsburgh architect and interior designer used a table created by George Nakashima.

"He had it in his apartment before we were married," said his widow, Robin Bernstein of Squirrel Hill. "He liked the organic flavor of it, that it was made by a craftsman. He always liked things that were unique."

Mr. Seigle, who died at age 89 in March, was a world traveler who shopped for ivory, netsukes and monkey boxes when he visited England, India, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Ethiopia.

"He collected ivory from way before I knew him," Ms. Bernstein said. "Then he started collecting netsukes and anything to do wth monkeys."

Objects from the architect's collection, along with paintings and ceramics from the estate of painter Donna Hollen Bolmgren, will be auctioned today, starting at 10 a.m. at Concept Gallery in Regent Square. Bolmgren was a longtime companion of Jerry Caplan, a ceramicist who taught at Chatham University. Several of his works are also in the auction.

Two other lots are fine examples of the work of Rudy Staffel, a well-known ceramicist.

Also for sale is midcentury modern furniture by Alvar Alto, such as chairs and stacking benches. Artwork includes canvases by still life painter A.F. King and landscape artist Bryan Wall.

Two paintings are by Peter Gorse, a self-taught artist and Slovenian immigrant who came to Pittsburgh and worked in an Aliquippa steel mill. He opened a barber shop that had a full basement that served as his art studio.

"He was 150 feet from the banks of the Ohio River. He had a couple of easels going at the same time," said Michael Chirigos, a Squirrel Hill architect who consigned the pictures.

One painting is a self-portrait; the other, dated 1939, shows the Sewickley Bridge with industrial traffic moving past.

Mr. Chirigos said Gorse was related to his late wife's family. "My wife's aunt was married to Peter Gorse. They had no children. My wife wound up being the executor of her estate," he said.

Gorse lived in South Heights, an Ohio River community between Coraopolis and Aliquippa.

"He decided to become a barber," Mr. Chirigos said. "He was so interested in art, he volunteered at a local school to teach one afternoon a week. He was the epitome of a sweet, gentle soul."


Marylynne Pitz: mpitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1648.


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