Fireplace and Doorway
From the library of the Curtis and Nellie Lee Bok House, Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania
Wharton H. Esherick, American, 1887 - 1970
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Wharton Esherick’s carved interiors are among his most important early sculptural work. Inspired by the angular shapes and intersecting lines of the Cubist movement, the artist incorporated the natural patterns and grains of assorted woods into his pieces to emphasize their strong geometric and organic forms.
Born in Philadelphia in 1887, Esherick studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1908–10, and discovered wood as a medium for artistic expression when he began to make carved frames for his canvases. By the mid-1920s he was fully committed to sculpture and extended his definition of the medium to the carving of furniture and architectural interiors. His work is often seen as a forerunner to the contemporary studio furniture movement.
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