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“Skyscraper” Bookcase

Decorative Arts and Design
“Skyscraper” Bookcase

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Paul T. Frankl (American, born Austria, 1887–1958), designer
Frankl Galleries, Inc., New York, NY, est. ca. 1929, manufacturer

Date

1926

Medium

Birch and lacquer

Accession #

1991.404

Dimensions

Please contact the Museum for more information.

Location

On View - Stent Family Wing, Level 3, Gallery 310

Description

As early as 1925 Paul T. Frankl designed wooden cabinetry inspired by the soaring buildings with flat surfaces, sharp angles, and stepped silhouettes that were being constructed in Manhattan. Thoroughly inspired by the modern and purely American forms of the skyscraper, his work also reflected the ornamental style of his native Vienna, where he trained as an architect and worked until 1914. While his book New Dimensions (1928) extolled the skyscraper as a “distinctive and noble creation . . . a monument of towering engineering and business enterprise,” Frankl rejected the idea that modern furniture should be standardized and mass-produced. Instead, he promoted individual craftsmanship and the same ideals of honesty, simplicity, and beauty in natural materials that were found in the writings of the members of the Arts and Crafts movement and of Frank Lloyd Wright, to whom New Dimensions was dedicated.

Credit

Purchase in honor of Darlene Schultz, President of the Members Guild, 1991-92, with funds from the Decorative Arts Acquisition Endowment