An Architect at Home

Works from the Collection of Donald Wrobleski

The exterior of Wrobleski's home. Photo by Juergen Nogai from Julius Shulman: Chicago Midcentury Modernism book by Gary Gand courtesy of Chicago Bauhaus & Beyond

Luckily for us all, Donald Wrobleski is happy to share his story. I first met the Chicago-based architect through a phone call while he was seeking advice on selling, and how to go about the overwhelming, stifling act of moving from the Bannockburn home which he designed and where he resided for the past sixty years. His home was like a number of architect-owned mid-century interiors I had visited, in that once a furnishing or work of art had had been carefully placed, it rarely moved.  A living time capsule, but not one that is necessarily destined for obsolescence. Rather, a finely preserved moment in time. 

The sunken living room flanked by floor to ceiling glass. Photo by Juergen Nogai from Julius Shulman: Chicago Midcentury Modernism book by Gary Gand courtesy of Chicago Bauhaus & Beyond
The furniture is utilitarian and comfortable and represents a superb period reflection of good design to live within the walls of good design.

Wrobleski designed his home in 1960 when he was just 20 years old. A former student of A. James Speyer at IIT, he created the residence to be elevated and in harmony with 1.75 acre lot located just outside of Chicago. Approaching the residence, you are greeted by a compliment of glass front to back within the fully see-through enclosure. Wrobleski’s home blossoms, trees appear to extend upward inside the house. The lines and the harmony of the interior naturally reflect the wooded surroundings. A short flight of stairs takes you to the entrance and once inside, you are naturally directed to the sunken living room nestled between the main glazing walls. There you are surrounded by an entirely global menu of design: Kjaerholm, Mies, Mackintosh, McCobb, Wegner and Aulenti for starters. The spread continues throughout the house. The furniture is utilitarian and comfortable and represents a superb period reflection of good design to live within the walls of good design. 

The exterior of Wrobleski's home illustrating an outdoor seating area. The sunken living room flanked by floor to ceiling glass. Photo by Juergen Nogai from Julius Shulman: Chicago Midcentury Modernism book by Gary Gand courtesy of Chicago Bauhaus & Beyond

Wrobleski’s deft ability to capture sunlight and warmth in his home is illustrated thoughtfully by Julius Shulman’s photography in Julius Shulman: Chicago Mid-Century Modernism by Gary Gand (2010). While I wish there was enough Wrobleski output to fill an entire monograph, we are proud to offer these lots for Don in our American Design sale.

Peter Jefferson

Steel’s constructive potential is not the only thing that interests me; the refraction of light on its surface is an important part of my artistic work. I consider steel a material with the same artistic merit as wood and leather.

Poul Kjaerholm

Poul Kjaerholm 1929–1980

Furniture designer Poul Kjærholm was a significant figure in Danish modern design uniquely blending craftsmanship and industrial production. Trained as a cabinetmaker in Hjørring, Denmark in 1949, he later studied furniture design at the Danish School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen, graduating in 1952. In 1955, he was hired by the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts as a lecturer and also designed the, now iconic, school’s desks. In 1976 he was welcomed back as a professor.

Kjærholm’s timeless designs are functional and durable. He often worked in steel, leather and glass, placing importance on the relationship of the piece to its environment. Kjærholm received many awards throughout his career including two Grand Prix at the Milan Triennale, the Lunning Prize in 1958, the Eckersberg's Medal in 1960, and multiple ID awards. In 2006, Kjærholm was the subject of a major retrospective at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. His work is included in the permanent collections of museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York where designs are featured throughout the galleries and restaurant. Poul Kjærholm died in 1980.

Auction Results Poul Kjaerholm

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 11 chairs, set of six | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 11 chairs, set of six
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $93,600

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 11, set of six | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 11, set of six
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $74,400

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 80 daybed | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 80 daybed
estimate: $25,000–30,000
result: $69,600

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 11 chairs, set of six | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 11 chairs, set of six
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $67,200

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 9 chairs, set of six | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 9 chairs, set of six
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $66,000

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 25 lounge chairs, pair | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 25 lounge chairs, pair
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $54,000

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 25 lounge chairs, pair | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 25 lounge chairs, pair
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $54,000

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 54 dining table | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 54 dining table
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $54,000

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 11 chairs, set of twelve | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 11 chairs, set of twelve
estimate: $40,000–60,000
result: $50,000

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 11 chairs, set of eight | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 11 chairs, set of eight
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $48,000

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 9 chairs, set of six | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 9 chairs, set of six
estimate: $25,000–35,000
result: $44,400

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 9 chairs, set of eight | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 9 chairs, set of eight
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $40,000

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 9 chairs, set of six | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 9 chairs, set of six
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $36,250

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 11 chairs, set of eight | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 11 chairs, set of eight
estimate: $40,000–50,000
result: $36,000

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 24 chaise lounge | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 24 chaise lounge
estimate: $12,000–15,000
result: $33,600

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 80 daybed | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 80 daybed
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $32,400

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 54 dining table | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 54 dining table
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $31,200

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 80 daybed | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 80 daybed
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $31,200

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 64 coffee table | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 64 coffee table
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $30,000

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 63a coffee table | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 63a coffee table
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $28,800

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 61 coffee table | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 61 coffee table
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $27,600

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 80 daybed | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 80 daybed
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $27,500

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 62 side table | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 62 side table
estimate: $3,000–4,000
result: $27,140

POUL KJAERHOLM, PK 9 chairs, set of six | wright20.com

Poul Kjaerholm

PK 9 chairs, set of six
estimate: $25,000–35,000
result: $26,400