December 10, 2018 14:00 EST

Design

 
  Lot 62
 
Lot 62 - WHARTON ESHERICK (1887-1970)

62

WHARTON ESHERICK (1887-1970)
HESSIAN HILLS SCHOOL CHAIR, PAOLI, PENNSYLVANIA, 1931

Maple, leather.

H: 26 1/2, W: 15, D: 26 1/2 in.

Provenance: Brimfield Antiques Flea Market, Brimfield, Massachusetts
Acquired from the above, May, 2018
Private Collection, New York State

Sold for $3,750
Estimated at $6,000 - $8,000


 

Maple, leather.

Provenance: Brimfield Antiques Flea Market, Brimfield, Massachusetts
Acquired from the above, May, 2018
Private Collection, New York State

LOT ESSAY:

"Education, I feel, is of no value if it destroys the spirit and character of the child." -Wharton Esherick

In 1924, Wharton Esherick created a prototype for a child's chair, now in the permanent Collection of the Wharton Esherick Museum, of which he would make six the following year. These chairs were made in lieu of tuition payment for his then 9-year-old daughter Mary, to accompany her to the newly minted progressive school for children in Croton, New York, known as the Hessian Hills School. In the fall of 1930 the School suffered a fire which took with it the chairs Esherick had delivered in 1925. Funded by insurance money, Esherick made fifteen replacement chairs in 1931.

Around the time Esherick completed his chairs, William Lescaze and George Howe were selected to design a new school building. The outfitting of the classrooms with tubular chrome furniture may have led Esherick's chairs to find new homes or uses. Three of the Hessian Hills School chairs are known to be extant, the present lot and two others in the permanent Collection of the Modernism Museum Mount Dora. Another example of the chair, made at the same time for Helene Koerting Fischer, is now in the Collection of Mansfield (Bob) Bascom.

LITERATURE:

Homes of the Master Wood Artisans, Skinner and Whitsitt, p. 40 (for an illustration of the 1924 prototype for this chair in the permanent Collection of the Wharton Esherick Museum.)
Wharton Esherick and the Birth of the American Modern, Eisenhauer and Farrington, pp. 108-109
Wharton Esherick: The Journey of a Creative Mind, Bascom, pp. 66, 101, 120

NOTE:

We would like to thank Mark Sfirri for his review and assistance in the cataloguing of this lot.

This lot is accompanied by photocopies from Wharton Esherick's ledger book reflecting the order for these chairs.


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Wharton Esherick