Designer: Vladimir Kagan

Vladimir Kagan was an illustrious furniture designer whose historic career spanned nearly 65 years. His avant-garde craftsmanship and sensuous designs exude luxury and comfort and helped shape the mid-century American design aesthetic. Wright pays tribute to Kagan, offering more than 400 works to date.
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Vladimir Kagan, Unicorn sofas model U 522, pair, 1967 Result: $186,000

Chairs are uniquely the best expression of design. They encompass more of the challenges by which I live and work than any other single component of furniture.

Vladimir Kagan

Vladimir Kagan at a Glance

Kagan immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1938.

After apprenticing in his father's woodworking shop, he opened his own studio in New York.

In 1949, Kagan received the Museum of Modern Art, New York Good Design Award for his wrought-iron chair.

Over the course of his career, his work was highly sought after by celebrity clientele from Marilyn Monroe to Tom Ford, and he lent his design to projects such as Disneyland’s Monsanto House of the Future in 1964.

Kagan was awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards from the American Society of Furniture Designers, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

In 2009, Interior Design inducted Vladimir Kagan into their Hall of Fame paying tribute to the designer.

Auction Results Vladimir Kagan

Vladimir Kagan 1927–2016

Vladimir Kagan was an illustrious American furniture designer whose historic career spanned nearly 65 years. Born in Germany in 1927, he immigrated with his family to the United States in 1938 fleeing from the rise of the Nazi regime. He studied architecture at Columbia and later apprenticed with his father, a master cabinetmaker, in his woodworking shop. In 1949, Kagan opened his own shop in New York, shortly thereafter releasing his first furniture collection, receiving the Museum of Modern Art, New York Good Design Award for his wrought-iron chair. His work is well-known for its avant-garde craftsmanship combined with comfort and functionality. The sensuous, organic forms take on human-like characteristics through exaggerated, curved lines. Kagan’s designs are produced with varying materials including brass, acrylic, aluminum and, most notably, wood.

Over the course of his career, his work was highly sought after by celebrity clientele from Marilyn Monroe to Tom Ford, and he lent his design to projects such as Disneyland’s Monsanto House of the Future in 1964 and the Downtown Los Angeles Standard Hotel lobby redesign in 2002. Kagan lectured extensively on the history of modern furniture design at institutions including Parsons School of Design, Yale and Philadelphia University. A highly honored designer, he was elected president of the American Society of Interior Designers New York Chapter in 1990, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum, and the American Society of Furniture Designers. In 2009, Kagan was inducted into the Interior Designer Hall of Fame.

Vladimir Kagan died in 2016, leaving behind an artistic legacy and lifetime of creative achievement.

Inspiration sometimes comes from a client’s expressed desires or from things I see around me; other times I wake up in the morning with an idea burning in my mind.

Vladimir Kagan

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