The eighty-four pieces of studio furniture owned by the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum constitute one of the largest assemblages of American studio furniture in the nation. Three former administrators—Lloyd Herman, Michael Monroe, and Kenneth Trapp—amassed a seminal collection that samples studio furniture’s great diversity. From the carefully crafted stools of Tage Frid to the art deco chest painted by Rob Womack, from the one-of-a-kind Ghost Clock sculpture by Wendell Castle to the limited production stool by David Ebner, the collection highlights the astonishing variety of the American studio furniture movement.
In the catalogue, author Oscar P. Fitzgerald documents each piece of furniture in a descriptive, illustrated entry. He also recounts the history of the collection’s formation in an introductory essay which illuminates the rationale and aesthetic choices of each curator and notes various donors and support organizations. Finally, Fitzgerald’s statistical analysis of the collection, formulated from detailed interviews with the surviving artists, casts new light on workshop practices, marketing concerns, and other aspects of the contemporary studio furniture movement. A foreword by noted scholar and curator Paul Greenhalgh gives readers a brilliant overview of the studio furniture field and the intimate role furniture plays in daily life.