Design and creativity did not stop for Probber at his own furniture. His business model incorporated the distribution of designs that fit Probber’s modern vision including works by Maria Pergay, Angelo Mangiarotti, Preben Fabricius and Jorgen Kastholm, other designers at Alfred Kill and more. 

Works from the
Collection of Harvey Probber

Harvey Probber in his home. Image courtesy of the Harvey Probber Archive.

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 catalog featuring his Modular Seating Series 70. Images courtesy of the Harvey Probber Archive.

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. 

Woman and Two Birds by Byron Browne featured in the Probber catalog; The Forest by Helen Gerardia featured in a Probber catalog.
Image courtesy of the Harvey Probber Archive.

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.