- Paul T. Frankl
- "Speed" Chair and Ottoman
- original leather and second-generation fleece upholstery
- chair: 32 1/2 x 39 3/4 x 12 1/4 in. (82.6 x 101 x 31.1 cm)
ottoman: 31 1/8 x 20 3/8 x 12 1/4 in. (79 x 51.8 x 31.1 cm)
produced by Frankl Galleries, Los Angeles, CA
Commissioned directly from the artist by Cedric Gibbons, Bel Air, California, circa 1960
By descent to Hazel Martin Ross, wife of Cedric Gibbons, 1982
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1960
Paul T. Frankl, Space For Living: Creative Interior Decoration and Design, New York, 1938, pp. 25, 39, 43, 81 and 105
Christopher Long, Paul T. Frankl and Modern American Design, New Haven, 2007, pp. 92, 111, 119 and 138
John Stuart Gordon, A Modern World: American Design from the Yale University Art Gallery, 1920-1950, New Haven, 2011, p. 319
Frankl had long been interested in creating an alternative to the standard lounge chairs on the market. Rather than resorting to streamlining or applied lines, he lengthened the seat of the “Speed” chair and set the top of the arms forward so that they inclined sharply downward and rearward toward the foot. The long, low profile of the chair, in concert with his jutting, angular lines, produced an impression of movement. Frankl first offered the chairs with standard “monk’s cloth” upholstery; eventually he would employ a wide array of other coverings, including contrasting leathers, fleece, pony hide, and, on the arms, cork panels. The chair became one of his best selling designs, and he continued to produce them into the early 1950s.
The leather and “polar bear” fleece upholstery is one of the least common coverings. The chair and ottoman retain their original wheels (not casters) and the original leather upholstery, though the fleece was replaced many years ago.