Dialogues: Richard Wright

October 3, 2016

This interview with Richard Wright is part of MAS Context Dialogues, a series of conversations with Chicago-based designers hosted by Stephen Killion.


Richard Wright began his career as a seller in the humblest of places, by finding items here and there at garage sales and then selling them at flea markets. His ambition, and past experiences through working at Treadway/Toomey Galleries, lead him to eventually opening Wright Auction House in the year 2000.

Since then, Richard has made a name for himself in the modern and contemporary design market and is known by in large as a storyteller and true advocate for good design. These two attributes are most evident in the way in which each item, or lot, they sell is meticulously documented and displayed. Whether on the Wright website, or within one of the highly editorialize auction catalogues, the art direction of every piece is considered and elevated the story of the piece.

Richard considers himself more of an editor than a traditional curator, and also feels strongly that the auction house has a unique role in the design world. The way in which he focused on the presentation of each collection speaks to the fact that he and his colleges are great admirers of the items they sell. A great example of this consideration was in a previous auction in which they sold Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House #21 and all the items within the house. Wright was able to convince Julius Shulman, one of the most recognizable photographers of modernist architecture in California, to reshoot the house for the auction.

This attention to detail, and love for the story behind the craft, is what makes each auction put on by Wright exciting and inspiring.

Interview published in October, 2016.

Besides this conversation with Stephen, you can also read a conversation between Richard and Zoë Ryan from our Trace issue.

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The Four Seasons auction, 2016. © Wright.

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Four Seasons ashtrays, set of four, The Four Seasons, 2016. © Wright.

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Philip Johnson Associates, Curved banquette and table 36 from the Grill Room, The Four Seasons, 2016. © Wright.

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Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Brno chairs from The Four Seasons, set of ten, The Four Seasons, 2016. © Wright.

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ATARI, INC., Centipede arcade game, Mass Modern: Day 1, 2015. © Wright.

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Jean-Michel Basquiat, skateboard decks, set of three, Mass Modern: Day 1, 2015. © Wright.

Intro Song

“Strella, Sing a Singsong to the Moon” by Studio Noir is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.