James Evanson: The Genius in the Details


James Evanson’s work contains myriad original and distinctive features not often perceived in large-scale images of his pieces. To rectify that, we’re highlighting details of three items currently on display at RARE to better reveal the innovative features, ingenious construction, and artistic creativity that make Evanson’s furniture and lighting designs so unique.

Galileo (1989)—copper, copper leaf, copper paint, stainless steel, wood; 1/1: $30,000

Galileo is as much sculpture as it is light, with a little science thrown in. This large, metal work utilizes a transformer in the rear base (top right image) to conduct low voltage electricity through the steel and copper joins to the floating copper bar at top. Its copper supports (third image, middle) transmit the charge to the bulbs in the end of the bar, which then light up. When the bar is lifted from the steel support, however, the connection is broken and the light goes off. The bar can be shifted to several other points on the curved support to provide different looks, and can be fully rotated within the structure. A truly unique piece, the only one Evanson produced.


New Empire Desk with Luna Lighthouse (1984)—Wood, paint, lacquer, steel, electrical wiring: $27,500

Very few pieces of office furniture can be called both functional and beautiful, but Evanson’s New Empire desk would certainly be one of them. Meticulously pieced together, with hand-drawn and painted decoration, this large desk boasts not only a nuanced color palette, but smart and ergonomic features, including a spacious, curved interior leg area; a moveable wooden cubby and drawer, which also acts as a support; a built-in pencil holder; and its own Lighthouse, Luna. Panels on top remove to reveal hidden storage compartments, and wiring for the Lighthouse is discreetly threaded through one of the legs in the stunning front elevation.


Comet Chair (1980)—Wood, paint, lacquer, steel, silver leaf. Eight total, available in:
Set of 2: $7,500; Set of 4: $13,000; Set of 8: $25,000

Originally created as a set of eight, this gorgeous collection of Evanson’s ingenious three-legged Comet chairs—one of his earliest
designs—incorporates wood in two ways: plain, with only a clear finish to better emphasize the grain; and artistically lacquered, with drawn, painted, and applied silver leaf elements. Both are set off with brightly colored metal supports that—along with the angled wooden legs—beautifully counter and complement the gently curved forms of the backrest, seat, and arms.


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