Spotlight Top Lots

Spotlight: Special Works

Richard Hunt and Morris Graves, from the Estate of Mason Adams

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Published on
May 19, 2023

From the collection of iconic voiceover artist and actor Mason Adams, two very special artworks bring special attention to Capsule's upcoming Bigger, Brighter: Modern, Postwar, and Contemporary sale. Adams is possibly most easily recognized as the gravelly voice behind the Smucker's commercials ("With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good!"). 

A fixture in television and radio advertisement voiceovers, Adams's less-known legacy comes in the form of incredible, museum-quality artworks collected in his lifetime. Capsule is excited to be featuring Winged Hybrid by Richard Hunt, and Spiked Chalice by Morris Graves in the upcoming sale. 

Lot 19, Winged Hybrid, Richard Hunt

Lot 19 | Richard Hunt, Winged Hybrid (1973)


This welded steel sculpture captures the essence of an avian creature at various stages of flight. Its true beauty can be experienced in person, as its dynamic form moves in synchrony with the viewer. The steel material exudes a unique blend of organic and industrial qualities, commanding attention without overpowering its surroundings.

One of the most celebrated living artists in American history, Richard Hunt's accolades including awards and honorary degrees, seem near endless. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Hunt claims the title of one of the greatest artists of the Midwest, and was the first African-American sculpture artist to be given a retrospective by the MoMA. 


Hunt has expressed that his use of winged forms is "based on mythological themes, like Icarus and Winged Victory. It’s about, on the one hand, trying to achieve victory or freedom internally. It’s also about investigating ideas of personal and collective freedom" [Sculpture Magazine].

Another major highlight of the sale from the same collection is a work with impressive museum exhibition history. Spiked Chalice by Morris Graves made rounds on the West Coast, showing at the Legion of Honor, San Francisco for the 1948 Morris Graves: Retrospective Exhibition. Two decades later in 1970, the work was on view again in San Francisco at the San Francisco Museum of Art (now known as SFMOMA, as "Modern" was added to their name in 1975) for the Santa Barbara Collects exhibition. 

lot 24, Morris Graves, Spiked Chalice

Lot 24 | Morris Graves, Spiked Chalice (1942)


The original owner of Spiked Chalice was Wright S. Ludington, who lent the Legion multiple works including Spiked Chalice for the 1948 show. Ludington was one of the founding members of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and a legendary art collector at the time. 

The chalice was a recurring motif for Graves, who is known as a part of artist group, the "Northwest Mystics". Along with artists Mark Tobey, Kenneth Callahan, and Guy Anderson, Graves was greatly inspired by the mysticism of the Northwest region as well as Eastern philosophy. 

Following the 1948 Legion show, additional retrospectives were held in 1956 at the Whitney Museum of Art, and again in 1983 at the Phillips Collection. Graves died in 2001. 

Both works are on view at Capsule, the gallery is located off the High Line in Chelsea, Manhattan. 

Exhibition hours: May 22-24 | 11:00am - 3:00pm and by appointment  

Pre-bidding for Bigger, Brighter: Modern, Postwar, Contemporary is available now. Live bidding begins May 25 at 11:00 AM EST.

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