Harvey Probber 1922–2003

Pioneering and innovative furniture designer Harvey Probber sold his first sofa design when he was just sixteen years old. He coined the concept of modular furniture and proceeded to compose harmonious interiors incorporating art and design.

Probber was raised in Brooklyn and as a high school student, he worked part-time in a used furniture store and began to draw his own furnishings. The successful sale of his sofa design deepened his curiosity and he visited the New York Furniture Exchange in Manhattan to make more connections within the industry. After his high school graduation, he took a position as a designer at Trade Upholstery, a small factory on West 17th Street, where he learned about the manufacturing and distribution of furniture. Probber’s ideas flourished and he produced successful, award-winning designs for other firms by 1940.

However, the onset of World War II briefly halted Probber’s career path. He joined the Coast Guard and toured the country with the Coast Guard Band as a baritone singer, entertaining troops. When the war ended, he continued touring and singing while sketching furniture designs in his down time.

Production of furniture was limited due to war-time shortages, but in 1945, Probber decided to go into manufacturing with his company, Harvey Probber, Inc. Around this time, Probber introduced his Sert Group furniture with various standalone modules that worked in combination with others in the line. Probber called his idea “Modular Furniture”; a concept that was quickly adopted by other designers and continues to be widely used today. In 1948, Probber’s Sling chair design was included in the influential Good Design exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and by the 1950s, his pieces were found in high end department stores across the country.

Probber opened showrooms across the country and continued to introduce highly sought after modern designs throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Even after he sold his company in 1986, he continued to work as a design consultant.

Design and creativity did not stop for Probber at his own furniture. His business model incorporated the distribution of designs by Maria Pergay, Angelo Mangiarotti, Preben Fabricius and Jorgen Kastholm among others that fit Probber’s modern vision. Furthermore, Probber intentionally designed his showrooms and developed his own advertising campaigns to include both art and design, creating a dialog between the two that illustrated neither exists in a vacuum.

Probber died in 2003 but he is remembered fondly for his innovative designs that remain as novel today as when they were first conceived.

Upcoming Lots Harvey Probber

HARVEY PROBBER, Bench from the Artisan Collection | wright20.com

100

Harvey Probber

Bench from the Artisan Collection

estimate: $2,000–3,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Prototype stool from the Artisan Collection | wright20.com

102

Harvey Probber

Prototype stool from the Artisan Collection

estimate: $1,500–2,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Sling chair | wright20.com

104

Harvey Probber

Sling chair

estimate: $3,000–5,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Series 80 occasional tables model 81,  pair | wright20.com

105

Harvey Probber

Series 80 occasional tables model 81, pair

estimate: $3,000–5,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Prototype cabinets from the Artisan Collection, set of two | wright20.com

107

Harvey Probber

Prototype cabinets from the Artisan Collection, set of two

estimate: $6,000–8,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Cube club chairs model 248 from the Architectural series, pair | wright20.com

110

Harvey Probber

Cube club chairs model 248 from the Architectural series, pair

estimate: $3,000–5,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Prototype stool from the Artisan Collection | wright20.com

111

Harvey Probber

Prototype stool from the Artisan Collection

estimate: $1,500–2,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Mayan sofa, model 4193 | wright20.com

113

Harvey Probber

Mayan sofa, model 4193

estimate: $5,000–7,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Cubes model 8031 from the Artisan Collection, pair | wright20.com

115

Harvey Probber

Cubes model 8031 from the Artisan Collection, pair

estimate: $1,000–1,500
HARVEY PROBBER, Classique dining chairs model 8071C from the Artisan Collection, set of six | wright20.com

117

Harvey Probber

Classique dining chairs model 8071C from the Artisan Collection, set of six

estimate: $3,000–5,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Series 61 console table | wright20.com

119

Harvey Probber

Series 61 console table

estimate: $1,000–1,500
HARVEY PROBBER, Etagere for the Artisan Collection | wright20.com

120

Harvey Probber

Etagere for the Artisan Collection

estimate: $3,000–5,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Prototype hanging light | wright20.com

123

Harvey Probber

Prototype hanging light

estimate: $2,000–3,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Oval cocktail table | wright20.com

124

Harvey Probber

Oval cocktail table

estimate: $1,500–2,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Series 61 console table | wright20.com

127

Harvey Probber

Series 61 console table

estimate: $1,000–1,500
HARVEY PROBBER, Modular Seating Series 70 bench with custom chaise | wright20.com

129

Harvey Probber

Modular Seating Series 70 bench with custom chaise

estimate: $3,000–5,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Modular sofa rendering | wright20.com

130

Harvey Probber

Modular sofa rendering

estimate: $3,000–5,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Dining table | wright20.com

131

Harvey Probber

Dining table

estimate: $3,000–5,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Dining chairs models 1548 and 1548A, set of six | wright20.com

132

Harvey Probber

Dining chairs models 1548 and 1548A, set of six

estimate: $2,000–3,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Prototype hanging light | wright20.com

133

Harvey Probber

Prototype hanging light

estimate: $1,500–2,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Modular sofa rendering | wright20.com

134

Harvey Probber

Modular sofa rendering

estimate: $2,000–3,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Series 80 coffee table, model 82 with custom top | wright20.com

135

Harvey Probber

Series 80 coffee table, model 82 with custom top

estimate: $2,000–3,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Series 61 occasional tables model 61-18.5, pair | wright20.com

137

Harvey Probber

Series 61 occasional tables model 61-18.5, pair

estimate: $2,000–3,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Dining chairs model 1548, set of four | wright20.com

139

Harvey Probber

Dining chairs model 1548, set of four

estimate: $1,500–2,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Table lamp | wright20.com

140

Harvey Probber

Table lamp

estimate: $1,500–2,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Series 80 coffee table, model 82 | wright20.com

141

Harvey Probber

Series 80 coffee table, model 82

estimate: $1,500–2,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Custom benches, pair | wright20.com

143

Harvey Probber

Custom benches, pair

estimate: $1,500–2,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Nightstands, pair | wright20.com

145

Harvey Probber

Nightstands, pair

estimate: $2,000–3,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Travertine table, model 1393 | wright20.com

146

Harvey Probber

Travertine table, model 1393

estimate: $1,000–1,500
HARVEY PROBBER, Cabinet | wright20.com

151

Harvey Probber

Cabinet

estimate: $1,500–2,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Bench, model 929 | wright20.com

157

Harvey Probber

Bench, model 929

estimate: $1,000–1,500
HARVEY PROBBER, Rosewood side cabinet, model 1151 | wright20.com

160

Harvey Probber

Rosewood side cabinet, model 1151

estimate: $1,000–1,500
HARVEY PROBBER, Collection of seventy-nine petroglyphs | wright20.com

161

Harvey Probber

Collection of seventy-nine petroglyphs

estimate: $500–700
HARVEY PROBBER, Cabinet | wright20.com

162

Harvey Probber

Cabinet

estimate: $3,000–5,000
HARVEY PROBBER, Chaise lounge | wright20.com

164

Harvey Probber

Chaise lounge

estimate: $3,000–5,000

Auction Results Harvey Probber