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Paul Frankl Eight-Drawer Desk


Rare Paul Frankl designed eight-drawer desk for the Johnson Furniture Co. of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Re-furbished and newly lacquered cork top, in a satin lacquer white finish. Body of desk also mahogany brown finish. Handles appear to be bakelite, with brass brackets, also newly polished. Exposed concave cut-out to center back of desk for storing books, much like a sculptural effect of a Sol LeWitt or Donald Judd floating square cut-outs piece of art and we say art, because it is an art form to pull off stunning design, with function as the forefront to any furniture, as the body floating has an ethereal quality. As does the body of the desk prove, in floating the desk on a raised, recessed platform, as if inviting one to admire this stellar performance in design, such is Paul Frankl. Either way it is a rarity to find such exquisite workmanship, design easthetic, with the varying materials utilized in designing this piece de resistance.


  • Dimensions

    H 28.25 in. x W 61.25 in. x D 26 in.

    H 71.76 cm x W 155.58 cm x D 66.04 cm

  • Seller location
    North Miami, FL
  • Seller reference number
  • Reference number

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About Paul Frankl (Designer)

Born in Vienna, Paul Frankl came to the United States in 1914 as part of a wave of Central European design luminaries — among them Kem Weber, Rudolph Schindler, and Richard Neutra — who were drawn by the energy and optimism of the American scene. Prolific and protean, Frankl would go on to design furnishings that are emblematic of nearly every key stylistic chord in American modernism, from the streamlined Art Deco to free-form organic shapes.

     His “Skyscraper” cabinets, introduced in 1924, are Frankl’s earliest and best-known designs (and the work by which he is most often represented in institutions, such as New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art). Tall and narrow, the pieces have staggered shelves meant to mimic the setbacks of Manhattan office towers. A later visually expressive line — the “Speed” chairs and sofas, which have a raked profile suggesting motion — links Frankl to Donald Deskey, Raymond Loewy and other creators of “Streamlined Moderne” design.

     Frankl moved to Los Angeles in 1934 and luxuriated in the climate and lifestyle. His designs became lighter and simpler and found an audience among the Hollywood élite. (Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Fred Astaire were clients.) Fascinated by Asian arts, Frankl produced numerous pieces — tabletops with edges that curve upward; sofas and chairs with rattan frames — inspired by Chinese and Japanese forms and materials. In the 1940s, Frankl became one of the first designers to incorporate free-form, biomorphic shapes in his work, as well as novel upholstery fabrics such as denim and nubby wool.

     Frankl biographer Christopher Long argues that the designer’s easy, elegant aesthetic had an enormous influence on movie set design. As the furniture below attests, Paul Frankl’s work is ready for its close-up.

About the Seller

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1stdibs seller since 2010
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Located in North Miami, FL
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