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Selling exhibition of works by Wharton Esherick opens at Moderne Gallery
Wharton Esherick, Walnut music stand.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- Works by Wharton Esherick, the ‘father’ of American Studio Furniture, are very limited - created primarily for individuals and families who were his patrons. As a result, items seldom come to market.

Philadelphia’s Moderne Gallery, renowned as the leading Studio Furniture gallery in the U.S., is offering furniture, sculptural objects, sculpture and woodcuts from the Merion, PA home of patrons Rose and Nathan Rubinson, with additional works from other private collections. Most pieces come from the original owners and have never before been exhibited or available for purchase.

A singular opportunity to appreciate and purchase one-of-a-kind, custom-made works by Wharton Esherick, acclaimed as the “Dean of American Craftsmen,” is being presented by Moderne Gallery in an exceptional Exhibition/Sale: “Wharton Esherick (1887-1970): The Rose and Nathan Rubinson Collection,” April 17 to September 6, 2015.

“Our Esherick exhibition comes at an exciting moment, with renewed attention focused on the revered artist/craftsman,”says Moderne Gallery founder/director Robert Aibel. The Wharton Esherick Museum recently purchased a neighboring property, which includes the farmhouse, the first home of Esherick and his wife. A museum expansion is planned. In addition, a documentary about the life and work of Wharton Esherick is currently being produced by California State University Fullerton professor and filmmaker Carolyn Coal. The Moderne Gallery exhibition and opening will be integral to this film.

Highlights of “Wharton Esherick (1887-1970): The Rose and Nathan Rubinson Collection” include Esherick’s original iconic Music Stand, made in 1951 for Rose Rubinson and exhibited at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair (the first fair to introduce American craft to the world) , and one of two examples of his bronze sculpture “The Actress” (1939). Other pieces from the Rubinson Collection available for purchase include chairs, a dining table, cabinets, coffee tables, wall lights, woodcuts and much more. Significant works from various other private collections are being offered as well, such as hammer handle chairs, wagon wheel chairs, stools, the important Marjorie Content daybed and a major 1931 sculpture.

Approximately 40 pieces, plus woodcuts, are in the Moderne Gallery exhibition. Most works are priced between $7,500 and $100,000, with woodcuts starting at $1,200.
Wharton Esherick is universally credited as having a pioneering influence on Wendell Castle, Arthur Espenet Carpenter, Sam Maloof and many other designer-craftsmen of the 20th century. He received numerous prestigious honors, among these the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal (posthumously) in 1971.

Much of Esherick’s work is in museum collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Renwick Collection at the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress. Furniture and a well-worn staircase are integral parts of Hedgerow Theatre, in Rose Valley, PA, a center of the American Arts and Crafts Movement.
Robert Aibel has maintained a long association with the Esherick and Rubinson families, and served as the appraiser for the sculptor-woodworker’s home and studio, now the Wharton Esherick Museum, in Paoli, PA. In 1996 Moderne Gallery presented the first comprehensive gallery show and sale of Esherick’s work, featuring pieces from the Rubinson collection, since the Esherick retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York in 1958-9.

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