May 19, 2009

Wharton Esherick's Captain's Bed Was Sweeter Before

wharton_esherick_bed.jpg

I know it was a little rough--OK, a lot rough--but seriously, this twin-sized captain's bed with built-in drawers that Wharton Esherick made for Julian Bloch in 1925 was much cooler before it was stripped clean and refinished.

wharton_esherick_orig_bed.jpg

On the other hand, who knows what kind of crazy set up Old Man Bloch had in his artist's hut? I'd be tempted to de-cootify that thing, too before I'd let the kid sleep in it. If only someone knocked it off reinterpreted it for today...

June 2, 2009, Lot 421: Wharton Esherick, Captain's bed, USA, c. 1925, est. $30,000-40,000 [wright20.com]
Dec. 6, 2000, Lot 222: A POPLAR CAPTAIN'S BED, WHARTON ESHERICK, sold for $24,675 against a $6,000-9,000 estimate [christies.com]

6/3 update: It didn't sell.

6 Comments

refinishing any antique destroys its value; have you learned nothing from Antiques Roadshow?

Just ask the boys at Israel Sack in Manhattan.

exactly. destroys its value, but improves its utility, at least in the case of a bed for a little kid. Antique-wise, the previous/current owner committed a felony. If newness was so important, he should've just spent a couple grand and had the thing reproduced, then store the original.

I think it looks horrible now. Why pay that much money for something and then go make it look like you could have purchased it at IKEA? Dumb move.

image that it had been like this in its original form and some moron varnished it just because. from a "we found it like this" perspective it might have been "original" but it looked tragic.

strip away I say.

I can't imagine the logic that went into stripping it and refinishing it. No one is actually going to sleep in it, and all it's original patina and character are lost forever. It might as well have come from Ikea now. It's like the complete restoration of Bill Munroe's Indian motorcycle. It's so perfect, so polished, so exquisite that everything about it's history seems made up. The hands that made it and used it have been erased. Some things just don't need fixing up.

Wright says "Sold with mountable, metal lamp with poplar base."

I wanna see the lamp.

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