Modern Design /28 March 2004

299

Russel Wright

torchiere
Russel Wright Accessory Company
USA, 1932-33
spun aluminum, chrome steel
15 w × 64¾ h in (38 × 164 cm)

Part of Wright's first lighting designs, this rare model is one of the few examples known to exist. Literature: This model is illustrated in the catalog for Wright's first designs for Heywood-Wakefield, 1934 The Architectural Forum, November, 1936, illustrated pg. 487 Russel Wright Designs, Kerr, pg. 54

estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $1,888

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Russel Wright 1904–1976

Born in Lebanon, Ohio in 1904, Russel Wright transformed the American home with his designed objects. Wright briefly studied at Princeton Law from 1922-1924; however, after becoming enamored with the Broadway plays of New York, he soon left law school to work in the design office of Norman Bel Geddes. It was though the theater scene that Wright met his wife, Mary Einstein Wright whose business acumen would shape Russel’s creations. In 1937, Wright designed the iconic American Modern dinnerware. The ceramic line came in a variety of soft pastels and earth tones with biomorphic shapes influenced by the surrealist Jean Arp. Thanks to the savvy marketing of Mary Wright, American Modern was a commercial success that was so popular that it frequently sold out in stores.  George Nelson attributed the designs of Wright as responsible for the American “shift towards the modern in the 1930s.” Wright’s mantra was “good design is for everyone” and in 1949 he created a new dishwasher-safe line. In 1950, the Wrights published their Guide to Easier Living, which laid out how to entertain guests in a suburban home. He began to experiment with the new medium of plastic, and his Flair line of melamine dishes was released in 1959. In 1965, he retired from designing and moved from New York to his summer home in Manitoga. Wright passed away in 1976. The Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design in New York honored Russel Wright with a retrospective of his objects in 2001. His work is held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, New York, among many others. 

Auction Results Russel Wright

Russel Wright

Libbiloo Horse bookends
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $28,750

Russel Wright

Rodeo Circus bookends, pair
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $26,250

Russel Wright

collection of fifteen vessels
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $17,500

Russel Wright

flatware
estimate: $3,000–4,000
result: $15,600

Russel Wright

horse
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $12,000

Russel Wright

Calliope scroll bookend
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $10,800

Russel Wright

Oceana bowls, collection of eight
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $10,795

Russel Wright

Rodeo Circus bookends, pair
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $10,000

Russel Wright

cocktail set, model 326
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $10,000

Russel Wright

collection of thirteen vessels
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $10,000

Russel Wright

Rodeo bookend
estimate: $9,000–12,000
result: $9,000

Russel Wright

vase
estimate: $1,000–1,500
result: $7,500

Russel Wright

floor lamp
estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $6,875

Russel Wright

Oceana box
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $6,600

Russel Wright

vases, set of five
estimate: $3,000–4,000
result: $6,600

Russel Wright

flatware
estimate: $6,000–8,000
result: $6,250

Russel Wright

rare cocktail set, model 326
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $6,250

Russel Wright

flatware
estimate: $4,500–5,500
result: $5,900

Russel Wright

flatware for the Metropolitan Museum of Art
estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $5,000

Russel Wright

Corsage vases, set of eleven
estimate: $3,000–4,000
result: $4,800

Russel Wright

sofa
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $4,720

Russel Wright

set of three Oceana serving trays
estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $4,688

Russel Wright

Oceania centerpiece bowl
estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $4,425

Russel Wright

Pinch flatware
estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $4,063

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