Last week I got to spend a few hours in Philadelphia after picking up some new inventory which a past client sold me as he gets ready to move out of the country. I decided to keep the dining table so will be offering up my Heywood Wakefield triple wishbone table and dog bone chairs shortly. If you are seeking, I can sell this set in need of a little refinishing (6 chairs our of 7). I am thrilled with the round Herman Miller Architect's table and it really fits my room alot better. For as much as I loved the Heywood set, it really is a large piece even with no leaves inserted! That said, reach out if it interests you!
The finale of the trip was a Harvey Probber catalog on reserve at the Philadelphia Athenaem. This museum is an architect's museum. So you can expect blue prints, buildings and other items of interest. Harvey Probber furniture is actually more transitional than MCM. More like Dunbar and Edward Wormley designs. These designers played on traditional designs so you will see modern elements-curves and angles in tandem with tradition materials like cane and lots of brass bling. Check first dibs and you will see a Probber piece will set you back quite a bit. So now you know why I spend so much time on authentification. If it truly is a Probber, it is a rarer piece. None of my comps have labels and neither does mine. Rule #1 of MCM.....never trust it because you SAW it on the internet. PROOF PROOF PROOF. If you are spending your money on something of provenance and the dealer does not provide you with adequate proof of this, or at least a well thought out reason to why they believe it is legit....keep walking. Unless you really love the piece and do not care if it's legit, of course.
The librarian was waiting with my materials when I arrived for the scheduled appointment. The folio contained just a small catalog. I was able to take pics (as is common with museums and collections.....they want to protect their collections and do not want bad photos published. Makes sense. Copy right protection is real. SO I cannot share any pics with you of the catalog but she is safe there in Philadelphia waiting for you to sign her out for the hour. It may have had about 50 pages, in black and white with some nice photography. The really cool X or scissors chairs that have a brass rod similar to my table were in there as were some other things I recognized from around the web. The note on the chairs said '...The new "Probber" chair is distinguished by its elegance of line, achieved through the application of new electronic laminating techniques used in its manufacture.' Probber was young....like 15 when he started pitching furniture designs to companies. He really was a go getter. His line of modular couches were one of the first in the realm. He had his own furniture company for many years, selling through designers and did a lot of custom work. Classy is the best way I can describe his designs. Innovative as well. So my table or similar magazine rack was not in the booklet. I was told about 2 places in Delaware where I can expand my search. I plan on investigating the holdings at Wintethur and Hayley.
BACK TO THE CUTTOLI LEGER RUG.....
I also received a few documents from my friend at Kykuit. These were published by scholars and I could not find a free copy to view but she managed to get me a copy and I am ever so thankful. The one I really thought would be a great read, in fact, was! Published by Virginia Gardner Troy, 'Easel Tapestries: The American Reception of the Marie Cuttoli Tapestries 1930s-1950s' hit the mark. Ms Troy really delves into the history of Cuttoli and her creations and then the element of reproduction of an artists work. She works through the timeline from the original tapestry series of the 1930s through the exhibition and reception of the works into the 1960s editions. I found what I was looking for when she touched on this specifically with the following regarding Nelson Rockefeller: “10 years later (1962) he purchased Matisse’s ‘Papeete’ and 2 Leger carpets from Cuttoli via her partnership with Galarie Lucie Weill in Paris. Both tapestries were deaccessioned by the 1970s.” The literal meaning of deaccessioned is when a listed item is removed from a collection most likely to sell to raise funds. We know those rugs were not sold as they still reside at Kykuit and are once again on display to the public. Amazing how much information gets lost in a relatively short period of time! Troy cites documents from the Rockefeller archives which means the information exists but to reasonably piece this story together takes numerous sources of varying origins. It is quite fascinating to discover this and now I have proof of what I figured out some time ago. This chapter can now be closed and I can say without a doubt what I have. As to which socialite and art collector owned mine.....I guess I may never figure that out. 🤷♂️
i have been adding some really neat items to my inventory. Here is a quick overview.
More coming! I just sold the first danish style lounge and have another that I will be restrapping and making cushions for. Keep your eyes peeled to my Instagram or Facebook so you don’t miss anything!
Have a great week! XO MALISSA