The Design Archive of Richard Schultz illustrates an extraordinary and diverse body of sculpture and furniture spanning five decades. From the artist’s own collection, the works range from early sculptures completed while working with Harry Bertoia to never before seen models and prototypes of widely recognized designs produced by Knoll. A selection of models, prototypes and realized furnishings inform later works created for his own company, Richard Schultz Design. 

A window into the creative process, this remarkable auction provides a unique perspective on design from prototype to the final fabricated design by one of America’s most talented designers. The Design Archive of Richard Schultz includes more than sixty lots available at auction on February 16th.

Richard Schultz Prototype Leisure Collection armchair $5,000–7,000

I began by studying architecture, photography, product design and graphic design. I felt born again. I was completely involved in it from the very beginning.

Richard Schultz

Evolution of a Design

Richard Schultz vase $3,000–5,000


Born 22 September 1926 in Lafayette, Indiana

1946 – 1950
Attends the Institute of Design, Chicago, “The New Bauhaus” founded by Moholy-Nagy, where the emphasis was on teaching creativity.

Receives Honorable Mention in the Museum of Modern Art Lamp Competition.

Began working at Knoll in New York at the Planning Unit, an interior design office where Florence Knoll worked on interiors for clients.

1951 – 1952
Goes to Pennsylvania where he is introduced to Harry Bertoia. Schultz’s first assignment is to assist Bertoia with development and production of the wire furniture collection for Knoll. Bertoia had a small space in one corner of the factory where he was given carte blanche; Schultz, there from the beginning, learns metal working techniques from Bertoia.

Work by Schultz included in Museum of Modern Art’s Recent Sculpture exhibition.

Schultz Petal Tables are launched at Knoll; the Petal Tables received the design award from Industrial Design magazine.

Works included in Twenty Sculptors, an exhibition presented at Staempfli Gallery, New York.

Knoll launched Richard Schultz’s Leisure Collection also known as the 1966 Collection, a collection that was celebrated as the first modernist outdoor furniture.

Receives the International Design Award A.I.D.

Works included in an exhibition of outdoor chairs at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Toronto; Schultz designs make their motion picture debut in The Thomas Crown Affair with Steven McQueen and Faye Dunaway.

Leave Knoll to complete designs for various leading furniture companies.

A Schultz lounge chair is featured on the cover of Art Garfunkel’s album, Watermark.

Designs Paradigm Series for Stow/Davis.

Designs Barto Office seating for DoMore.

Works included in the Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibition, Design Since 1945; Completes several designs for Conde House.

Forms Richard Schultz Design with his son, Peter Schultz.

Launches Topiary / Confetti Collection, the only 100% sheet metal seating collection on the market.

Introduces the Café Collection, a line known for its strength and comfort; Schultz designs featured in Wallpaper magazine.

Pieces from the Topiary Collection are included in scenes from the movie, Unbreakable with Bruce Willis and Samuel Jackson.

Designs the 2002 Collection, a series that explores the use of thick and thin tubular elements; Architectural Digest includes Schultz designs on their cover.

Designs the Pavilion as an alternative to the umbrella, a concept originally conceived when working for Knoll; My Architect, a film about Louis Kahn, shows Johnson seated in from of Schultz Petal tables.

Schultz designs appear on the cover of W magazine for a feature on Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Designs the Swell Seating Collection for the outdoor room.

Introduces the Wing Collection with interesting forms produced using a laser cutter.

Designs the Fresh Air Collection using the same technologies as employed for making the Wing Collection but set upon a tubular base.

Introduces the Mateo Collection, an updated version of the 2002 Collection

Richard Schultz Untitled $4,000–6,000

My idea for the segmented top was to be able to look down through the petals and not see any support, as if they were floating.

Richard Schultz

The Design Archive of Richard Schultz

For more information about 
the sale, please contact:
312 563 0020

Auction / Chicago
16 February 2017
Noon ct

Preview / Chicago
By appointment