Art and design projects. With stories about the people, places and experiences that have shaped my

Monday, April 28, 2014

Furniture: 40 Years of Designing and Building

'Equestrian Bench' Carved mahogany with pigmented glaze finish.

My first juried group show was titled, "Things." It was in 1972 at the Brockton Art Center in Massachusetts. Jack Lenor Larsen was the sole juror. Two of my pieces were accepted. These were two tables that are shown below (see arrows). The one on the plinth in maple and rosewood is called 'On Point.' On the floor is a cherry table with a lamp as part of a carved 'landscape' underneath. As you can see the exhibition had a distinct 'crafts' tone. Well, Jack Larsen was on the board of The American Craft Museum, what is now called the Museum of Art and Design, in New York for many years. 

My first juried group exhibition."Things," Brockton Art Center, MA 1972.

This is my 'Colored Chair' in Robert Motherwell's Greenwich, CT living room. He had an apartment above the painting, collage and printmaking studios. That's the couch on which we watched Jimmy Carter win the election in '76. This chair is now in the Lewis collection, Richmond, VA. Photo taken in 1985.
My mahogany and pear-wood 'Chest of Drawer' end-table with a Joseph Cornell 'box' on top. That's one of Bob Motherwell's abstract paintings hung on the rear wall in ocher and black. Two African masks are on the upper-right.
A detail of the chest / table shown above.

'Black Mesa Clock'    Height: 2M
This clock contains a classic American hand-made bell-strike movement. The bell was made in a small British factory that has been making the same bells for hundreds of years. The dial was made of bisque-fired porcelain especially for this piece.

Rear of clock showing Jack Lenor Larsen stretched fabric.
When the bell chimes the hour, it will continue to ring for a full minute after it is struck. Most tall case clocks muffle the tone. The rear fabric panel allows the sound to be more easily transmitted into the room. Jack Larsen personally helped me select this fabric design from his extensive line.

Detail of clock with key for doors.
To wind the movement or inspect the lower weights, the key is turned to open the upper or lower front doors.

'Greek Mountain Table'
A small end table that has four small 'bird cage' columns supporting the top. The base was stuccoed by hand with a tinted mix.

'Lysistrata Table'
A small writing table named after the principal character in a comedy written by Aristophanes. Carved and painted maple legs are connected by means of an iron apron. The top is in figured 'birds's eye' maple.

'Flag Back Chair'
A painted wood and metal chair prototype. It is intended to have a formed leather seat and back. A hidden spring mechanism in the back allows it to recline.

'Landscape Chest'
This chest has twenty drawers and over one hundred dovetail joints.

'I Miss You' table, twin towers street side.
A few days after 9/11 a gold Mylar balloon landed in the David Austen rose bush outside of my Amenia, NY studio. I picked it out of the thorns and examined it. It bore the hand written legend, "I Miss You." Some time soon afterward a Roman Catholic nun, Sister Mary Lanning, said to me, "Oh yes, we released hundreds of those balloons in Harlem." I decided to make a commemorative table in honor of Sister Lanning's efforts to promote healing and reconciliation.

'I Miss You' table, river side.

'3 Sided Glass Top Table with 4 Legs'
Carved and painted maple, forged iron, glass.

'Carved Mahogany Bench'    Shown in Robert Motherwell's collage studio 1970s.
This bench has a cabinet with colored glass and a small drawer built into it.

'Thalassia Coat Rack'
Painted oak with a metal pan on the base to collect water from dripping coats and boots.

'My Wooden Herculaneum'
Another small table based on the double bird cage theme.

'My Wooden Herculaneum'

'Night Sky Table'
A dining table that seats eight. Hundreds of stars are painted on the top in the manner of the Milky Way.

'Night Sky Table'

'Exhibition with Paintings Studies'
The 'Equestrian Bench' and '3 Sided Glass Top Table..' were exhibited in NYC at the Franklin Parrasch Gallery in 1990. I often use very large paintings on paper to finalize these designs as shown above. L-R: 'Her Moods' (after a poem by W.H. Auden), the 'Bruno Chair' (my son's middle name).

'S. Maria Novella Humidor'
A humidor with a cast bronze base and painted mahogany box. S. Maria Novella is my favorite building in Florence. The Gothic arches with alternating green and white are taken from the facade of the church.

'S. Maria Novella Humidor'
Shown with the top open.

'3 Shadows Table'
Carved and painted maple, forged iron, glass.

'Ribbon Table'
Forged iron and glass.

'Folding Music Stand'
Designed in 1971. This stand is often used as an easel to display framed art. The Folding Music Stand design is in the permanent collections at MoMA and at The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.

Forged iron picnic table with free-edge spruce board top.


  1. This is beautiful, exciting work with a big range from the delicacy of the coat rack and the Night Sky Table to the bulk of the Landscape Chest, from the elegance of the humidor to the extravagance of the I Miss You table.

    1. Thanks for you generous comment and for giving the post such a close reading.