Works from the
Collection of Harvey Probber
As an accomplished designer, innovator, and entrepreneur, Harvey Probber led a life guided by creative interests. From a young age, he explored the formal qualities of furnishings and their role in interior environments leading him to a successful career in design, manufacturing, and distribution. Probber developed an original, award-winning style that fits seamlessly into interiors across the country. One of his greatest contributions to the canon of design was the concept of “modular furniture”; an idea he coined that is so commonplace today that it’s hard to imagine it wasn’t always a part of the field’s vernacular.
Probber’s design ideology was undoubtedly modern, but also revered historical and cultural events that preceded and happened alongside his work. In tune with the arts, Probber befriended artists such as Adolph Gottlieb and gallerists, such as Sam Kootz and Bernard Davis. He amassed a collection of European and American modern art that was displayed alongside his furniture in showrooms and catalogs, often inspiring his own work.
In 1962, Probber purchased Eastcliff, a Gothic Revival home originally designed in 1925 by Hobart Upjohn for J. Richard Ardrey, a prominent banker. Probber embarked upon the renovation and installation of art and design that transformed the stately home into a 16-room waterfront gallery for his collection of paintings and decorative objects. His furniture and that of his favorite designers provided comfort within the home’s interior composition.
Probber was well known in the world of design and beyond and it is hardly surprising that his social circle included musicians, stage and screen stars, artists, photographers, authors, and other accomplished people who regularly convened at Eastcliff.
Carter Ratcliff writes in a soon to be published manuscript dedicated to the life of Harvey Probber: “Probber saw that works of art do not live in a vacuum. They need settings, that a rapprochement between art and design could be a starting place in the endeavor to supply life with a sound foundation.”
A complete work of art and interior design, the Eastcliff residence captured Harvey Probber’s sophisticated and modern vision. It was the perfect backdrop for a life full of art and design.
The present collection of works comes out of the Eastcliff residence and directly from the Probber family. The selection of more than 60 lots is comprised of Probber designs, works by those he represented, and artworks he collected. Altogether, the auction provides a snapshot of Probber’s holistic creative sensibilities and his far-reaching influence on the field of design.
Wright would like to thank the Harvey Probber Archive for generously sharing period documentation, information and images, and Carter Ratcliff for allowing us access to his unpublished manuscript.
Angelo Mangiarotti 1921–2012
Italian architect and designer Angelo Mangiarotti was known for applying a personal and humanistic approach to functional design. Born in Milan in 1921, he earned a degree in architecture from Milan Politecnico in 1948. Mangiarotti was fascinated by the methods and techniques employed in city-planning and architecture in addition to a passion for beauty and design. In 1953, while serving as a guest lecturer at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago he made connections to Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Walter Gropius.
Mangiarotti returned to Italy in 1955 establishing a firm with Bruno Morasutti, later opening his own firm in 1960. His inventive nature and craftsmanship was employed in numerous projects from marble bowls and glass collections for Knoll to urban planning and industrial design projects. In 1989, he established the Mangiarotti & Associates Office based in Tokyo, Japan. A highly regarded designer, Mangiarotti was presented with the Domus Formica award in 1956, the American Industrial Partners award for industrial construction works in 1972, the gold medal in architecture by the Accademia della Torre of Carrara in 1998, and a dedicated exhibition held at Calenzano's Design Museum in May 2010. Angelo Mangiarotti died in Milan in 2012.