May 19, 2013

MODERN ART & DESIGN AUCTION

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Lot 286: Richard Artschwager

Lot 286: Richard Artschwager

Desk

1957
American walnut
Studio
Signed and dated "R. Artschwager 1957"
29" x 66.25" x 43"
Exhibited: "Furniture by Craftsman", Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, 1957
Illustrated: Armstrong, Richard. Artschwager, Richard. New York: Whitney Museum of Art, 1988. p 15.
Estimate: $7,000 - $10,000
Price Realized: $31,250
Inventory Id: 5721

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Richard Artschwager (1923-2013) straddled many genres of art throughout his career, from Pop to Minimalism to Neo- Minimalism. This mercurial nature is partly due to his choice of materials: Artschwager has worked with a diverse array, including wood, paint, photographs, Formica, and metal. This versatility propelled him to international success throughout the second half of the 20th century, culminating in retrospectives in 1988 and 2012 at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In his most famous sculptures, including Table and Chair (1962-3) and Table with Pink Tablecloth (1964), Artschwager employed furniture-making techniques to “produce sculptures that mimicked actual objects while simultaneously betraying their identity as artistic illusions.” He learned these skills about a decade before his furniture was intended as fine art. To support his family, Artschwager worked as a furniture maker, and then opened his own workshop in the early 1950s. His simple, well-constructed furniture was not only commercially successful, but also critically acclaimed. Built in 1957, this American walnut desk – along with a swivel chair and shelves– was exhibited in “Furniture by Craftsmen” at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, just one year before his workshop and all of his materials were consumed in a fire. He continued receiving furniture commissions throughout the 50s and early 60s, but 1958 marked the moment when Artschwager left a successful furniture practice and turned definitively to art.

Armstrong, Richard. Artschwager, Richard. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1988. Print.
Johnson, Ken. “Richard Artschwager, Painter and Sculptor, Dies at 89.” NYTimes.com. New York Times, 10 Feb 2013. Web. 30 Mar 2013.Livingstone, Marco. “Richard Artschwager.” MoMA. Museum of Modern Art, 2013. Web. 30 Mar 2013.

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