111
111
Wendell Castle
CHAIR
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 50,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
111
Wendell Castle
CHAIR
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 50,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Design

|
New York

Wendell Castle
CHAIR
from a limited edition of three
with carved signature and dated W.C. 65
oak
26 1/2  x 24 3/4  x 22 3/8  in. (67.3 x 62.8 x 56.8 cm)
1965
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Provenance

Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner, 2014

Literature

Alastair Gordon, Wendell Castle: Wandering forms, Works from 1959 to 1979, New York, 2012, p. 74 (for a period photograph of Wendell Castle working on the model)
Emily Evans Eerdmans, Wendell Castle: A Catalogue Raisonné 1958-2012, New York, 2014, pp. 132-133, no. 299

Catalogue Note


In an early sketchbook, Wendell Castle wrote that “my aim is to elevate furniture into the category of sculpture.” The present chair reflects his sculptural visions. Prone to drawing and daydreaming as a child growing up in Kansas, it wasn’t until Castle had to craft a toolbox in college that he realized he could actually make objects that were manifestations of his imagination. Castle found carving from solid wood limiting to his unbridled creativity, so with a truly Midwestern do-it-yourself attitude, Castle implemented a wood process he first encountered as a boy in an article entitled “It’s Easy to Make Your Own Duck Decoys.” Castle stated that he had “never built a duck decoy” before that, but that the article gave him the cross sections and patterns that led him to try out the technique. Castle first made his sketches, and then stacked wood, glued it together, and repeated the process conditionally until his desired mass appeared. In making this chair, Castle carved away at a laminated stack, hewing wood with a mallet and chisel much like a sculptor would chip away at solid stone. As he carved, Castle would often rework his designs in a technique known as “rapid viz,” that meant he overlaid his new alterations over his former drawings, allowing him to make changes as his visions emerged.

Castle’s designs call to mind everything from the sinuous lines of Constantin Brancusi to the biomorphic shapes of Jean Arp. He adapted this sculptural lamination process for his pieces when he gleefully realized that “wood…could be shaped and formed and carved in ways limited now only by my imagination!” What Castle visualized was furniture no longer confined by the restrictions of solid wood. Suddenly, tables sprouted petals, desk grew branches, and voluptuous tables bubbled over onto floors. The gradual layering process of lamination allowed Castle to slowly “grow” his pieces, and they unfurled almost out of the earth itself as an entirely new genus of design. The differing shades of oak wood seamlessly blend together in this chair as the trunk-like base blooms up into the organic and ovoid chairback. Stylistically, the anchored base of this chair and others was, to Castle, akin to a plant that with a single stalk that would “still have lots of flowers.” Castle achieved the natural sheen of his works by tirelessly using fine sandpaper dipped in water, followed by a gentle buffing with wood oil. This chair features Castle’s signature enticing surface and the handsomely buffed wood only complements the arboreal curves. Castle once said: “I invent, distort, deform, exaggerate, compound and confuse as I see it,” and this virtuoso chair shook up the boundaries of art and design.

Important Design

|
New York