Important Design

Important Design

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 137. WENDELL CASTLE | UNIQUE "ANGEL HEART" ROCKING CHAIR.


Auction Closed

July 30, 06:21 PM GMT


100,000 - 150,000 USD

Lot Details





bleached mahogany

signed Castle and dated 10

29½ x 69¼ x 37 in. (74.9 x 175.8 x 93.9 cm)

Barry Friedman, New York

Rod Steinkamp, Los Angeles

Phillips London, October 18, 2018, lot 97

Private Collection, New York

Emily Evans Eerdmans, Wendell Castle: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1958-2012, New York, 2014, p. 406 (for the present lot illustrated)

Wendell Castle’s skillful cabinetmaking and mastery of woodworking techniques need no introduction. Throughout his six-decade career, Castle constantly reinvented his practice, incorporating a variety of forms, influences and techniques in a conscious effort to shake up the field of contemporary design. This monumental rocking chair was designed and executed towards the end of his career, at a time where he was exceptionally prolific. By then the artist was no stranger to designing rocking chairs, having produced a significant number of them for decades prior. His favorite furniture form, he said it himself, was indeed the chair, because of its inherent challenges and its inability to become a familiar object. “Since you sit in a chair, it immediately becomes an intimate object, one that you constantly test by sitting and thus have a relationship with,” he once said.  

Therefore, Castle developed a strong technical understanding of how form and function unite, which the present work fully embodies. This form reminiscent of Castle’s earlier work from the 1970s exudes tremendous dynamism, building upon undulating lines to generate function and a vigorously animated silhouette. A testament to Castle’s ability to experiment, this “Angel Heart” rocking chair is distinguished by his unusual use of bleached mahogany, which espouses its sleek, futuristic lines and accentuates its innovative attributes. The present work further reinforces the idea that Castle was more than a visionary furniture designer but a truly accomplished wood sculptor whose work continues to provoke and inspire.