Wharton Escherick – Spiral Library Ladder

Artist Name:  Wharton Escherick
Title:  Spiral Library Ladder
Details:  The first was made in 1966 out of walnut.  Several more were made in walnut and cherry, left- and right-handed.

Why It’s Notable:

Jonathan Fairbanks, an authority of American furniture design described it as “one of the great masterpieces of American furniture, perhaps the most wonderful work ever produced in American furniture.  It is pure sculpture, yet at the same time it is beautiful furniture”.

I love this piece because its form appears so simple, yet complex at the same time.  The success of the design relies on curves, joinery, sculpture, and careful proportions.  It appears sturdy while lightweight at the same time.

New Quote Added to “Quotables”

I am reading Wharton Escherick: The Journey of a Creative Mind, written by Mansfield Bascom.  It’s a fascinating book, exploring Wharton’s background and how he evolved as an artist.

This quote, from page 232, speaks to the difficulty of making sculptural furniture.

Almost yearly, some furniture manufacturer would seek a design that could be mass-produced, but, unlike the popular machine-oriented planar and rectilinear contemporary designs, Wharton’s variable, compound curves required too much skilled hand-shaping and sanding to make replication economically feasible.

– Mansfield Bascom

Find this quote, along with many other interesting quotes on the page titled Quotables.