Wright to offer works from the collection of the pioneering and innovative designer Harvery Probber

Art Daily
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Harvey Probber, Sling chair. Harvey Probber, Inc. USA, 1948. Laminated birch, upholstery 27 w × 43 d × 29½ h in 69 × 109 × 75 cm. Estimate: $3,000–5,000.
Harvey Probber, Sling chair. Harvey Probber, Inc. USA, 1948. Laminated birch, upholstery 27 w × 43 d × 29½ h in 69 × 109 × 75 cm. Estimate: $3,000–5,000.

CHICAGO, IL.-Wright will present the first auction dedicated to works from the collection of the pioneering and innovative designer Harvery Probber. Probber sold his first sofa design at sixteen, coined the concept of “modular furniture” and proceeded to compose harmonious interiors incorporating art and design throughout his career.

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.

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.

A portion of the auction proceeds will be donated to the New York School of Interior Design to be awarded as a scholarship named for design historian, author, curator, and longtime faculty member, Judith Gura.

Writer
James Ardis
James Ardis
Senior Writer and Editor

James Ardis is a writer, editor, and content strategist focused on the auction industry. His company, James Ardis Writing, has partnered with auction houses, galleries, and many clients outside the art world.

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