Tulsa's Philbrook receives 100 works of modern, contemporary design
Walter Van Nessen, “Table Lamp,” designed c. 1935, chromium-plated and enameled steel, brass, glass.
The Philbrook Museum of Art is pleased to announce a gift of nearly 100 works of 20th and 21st century design from the George R. Kravis II Collection. The promised gift will immediately provide Philbrook with a core collection of exceptional design material and establish a vital new collecting area for the museum, according to a news release issued this week.
From American Art Deco and Streamline to mid-century modern and contemporary, the collection includes objects reflecting the evolution and breadth of modern industrial design.
Randall Suffolk, Philbrook’s director said in the release: “This important gift will add a completely new dimension to the visitor’s experience and provide an exceptional new platform for exhibitions, programming, and research. We’re thrilled that this collection will ultimately reside at Philbrook and remain in Tulsa for generations to come.”
To that end, Philbrook is planning a special gallery to open in 2009 that will incorporate works from this collection and be displayed within the permanent collection galleries. The installation will be on view for two years.
Kravis said in the release: “This collection has been a personal joy for me to acquire and build, as well as a privilege to live with. I’m delighted that through this gift it will be shared for the benefit, enjoyment, and education of all those that visit the museum.”
He added, “Philbrook has been an important part of my life and I’m pleased that this collection will find a permanent home there.”
The gift includes objects designed by many iconic figures in the history of international industrial design from 1900 to the present. From the 1930s and ‘40s the collection includes work by such designers as Norman Bel Geddes, Henry Dreyfuss, Paul Frankl, Peter Müller-Munk, Gilbert Rhode, Walter Dorwin Teague, John Vassos and Walter Van Nessan.
Among the collection’s highlights from these American modernists is a short wave radio transmitter called “Radio Nurse” designed in 1937 by the American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. Noguchi designed the receiver shaped like a head in a nurse’s cap. Its status as a superb sculpture is indicated by the fact that it was exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1939.
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