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Philadelphia gallery hosts Wharton Esherick exhibition

In April, the Moderne Gallery in Philadelphia opened “Wharton Esherick (1887-1970): The Rose and Nathan Rubinson Collection.” This major exhibition and sale featuring works from studio furniture artist Wharton Esherick will continue through Sept. 6.

Esherick’s “Pizzicato,” made in 1931.

The purpose of the exhibition is to make Esherick’s work available for the public to view and purchase, which until now has been a very limited market to only individuals and families who were his patrons.

Esherick’s Wagon Wheel armchair (1939) and his first music stand, commissioned in 1951.

The pieces at Moderne will include furniture, sculptural objects, sculpture and woodcuts from the Merion, Pa., home of patrons Rose and Nathan Rubinson, with additional works from other private collections. Most pieces come from the original owners and have never before been exhibited or available for purchase.

“Our Esherick exhibition comes at an exciting moment with renewed attention focused on the revered artist/craftsman,” gallery director Rober Aibel said in a statement. “The Wharton Esherick Museum recently purchased a neighboring property, which includes the farmhouse, the first home of Esherick and his wife. A museum expansion is planned.”

The exhibition will feature approximately 40 pieces with most works priced between $7,500 and $100,000.

Esherick is credited for having an influence on Wendell Castle, Arthur Espenet Carpenter, Sam Maloof and many other craftsmen of the 20th century. He received numerous honors, including the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal posthumously in 1971. His work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Carnegie Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Renwick Collection at the Smithsonian, and Library of Congress.

Aibel has maintained a long association with the Esherick and Rubinson families and served as the appraiser for the sculptor-woodworker’s home and studio, now the Wharton Esherick Museum, in Paoli, Pa.

Maine Wood issues call for entries

A call for entries was issued for the Maine Wood 2016 Biennial Exhibition, a juried show produced by the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine.

The exhibition, which takes place at the center’s Messler Gallery from January 22 through April 6, 2016, will showcase the breadth, creativity and excellence of wood craftsmanship in Maine.

The submission deadline is Aug. 28. All Maine artists and craftspeople who work in wood are encouraged to apply, including furniture makers, turners, carvers, sculptors, luthiers and others. Submitted work must have been made in Maine during the last five years. The criterion for acceptance is excellence in design and craftsmanship.

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Jurors for this year’s biennial are Peter Fleming, professor at Sheridan College in Toronto; Matthew Kenney, senior editor at Fine Woodworking magazine; and Emily Zilber, curator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.


Moderne Gallery, 111 N. Third St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 215-923-8536.

Messler Gallery, 25 Mill St., Rockport, ME 04856. Tel: 207-594-5611.

This article originally appeared in the June 2015 issue.

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