Arthur Umanoff 40 Bottle Wine Rack, 1950s USA
About the Item
- Creator:Arthur Umanoff (Designer)
- Dimensions:Height: 66.5 in (168.91 cm)Width: 26.5 in (67.31 cm)Depth: 11 in (27.94 cm)
- Materials and Techniques:
- Place of Origin:
- Date of Manufacture:1950s
- Condition:Wear consistent with age and use.
- Seller Location:Los Angeles, CA
- Reference Number:1stDibs: LU1853332942752
Though much of Arthur Umanoff’s furniture is marked by a no-frills simplicity common in American mid-century modern design, his work is anything but one-note. Over the course of a prolific career, Umanoff designed everything from case pieces to candleholders to dining chairs in iron, leather, walnut, wicker and more. With furnishings for a broad range of manufacturers throughout the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s, Umanoff continued a thread of sculptural elegance and textural sensitivity through his designs.
After graduating from Pratt Institute in the early 1950s, Umanoff experimented mostly with wood furniture before landing a job at Post Modern Ltd, a New York manufacturer of wrought-iron furniture. There he produced furnishings that married wrought iron with wood and plastic, creating functional pieces free of utilitarian bulkiness. Umanoff continued his experimentation with mixed materials through a partnership with Shaver Howard, for whom he designed wine racks in combinations of iron, leather and wicker.
When Shaver Howard bought Boyeur Scott, Umanoff conceived several furniture designs for the brand, including the 1964 Granada collection, whose curlicue iron bases, visible through glass tops, stand out as some of his most ornate and decorative work. Indeed, much of Umanoff’s oeuvre is far more simplistic, like iron-and-pine armchairs for The Elton Co. or low-backed, slatted-seat barstools with slender iron legs for Raymor.
Umanoff was fluent, too, in the more sumptuous modernism of the era: In the mid-1960s, he designed the 2405 and 4449 armchairs for Madison Furniture Industries. Popular in offices, the walnut-framed, leather-upholstered seats, which could have been mistaken for the seductive Scandinavian modern seating of the era, were reportedly the jumping-off point for Captain Kirk’s iconic seat on Star Trek.
Even as he is among the mid-century modern designers you may not know, with work across such a range of styles and manufacturers (most no longer in business), Umanoff, who died in 1985, leaves a legacy that is fascinatingly diverse and at times enticingly elusive, making his work intriguing objects for collectors.
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