Speaking with Richard Wright of Wright20 about his new NYC location hosting the Harry Bertoia Exhibition, he further discuses the life and works of Bertoia from his famous diamond chairs to installations and highly regarded sounding sculptures.
Repeat guest Richard Wright from auction house Wright20 talks about Italian design including Gio Ponti, Ettore Sottsass and more.
Martin Willis: Hi, everyone. I’m with Richard Wright on Skype in Chicago. How you doing, Richard?
Richard Wright: I’m doing fine. Good morning to you.
Martin: Good morning and thanks for joining us. This is the second time you’ve been on.
Martin: You were all the way back in the beginnings of this podcast and I appreciate your willingness to come back, and today we’re going to stay on a, or mostly on a topic, of mid–century modern, just for our listeners, out there, who have an interest in that, and so I’m going to, just, fire some questions at you. Your company’s been around for a while and you’ve handled – I saw on your website you’ve handled over 20,000 objects, so far.
Richard: That is true.
Martin: And, encompassing, mostly, the 20th and 21st century, basically. Right?
Martin: Yeah. So, as far as mid–century modern – that’s a term you hear all the time, today, and, what does it actually mean and what are the years it encompasses when it comes to furniture and decorative arts?
Richard: So, mid–century modern is generally – there’s not a strict definition of it, but, generally, it falls into the category of post–war design. So it begins in 1945 and it, sort of, runs stylistically to, about, 1960. After 1960 you start to have other influences in design that, sort of, move design in a more radical place. So, real, kind of, heroic mid–century modern is 1945 to 1960.
Martin: So, again, you said that it’s not really strictly defined, because I’ve seen people sell 1970s items and call it mid-century modern. It’s, kind of, stretching it, a little bit, in the 70s.
Richard: Totally. I mean, I think that the concerns of design, the design world, coming out of the war were completely different than the, much more consumer-driven, culture of the 1970s design. There is a absolute stylistic shift that starts to occur, probably strictly, we’d start to see that shift show up in the late 50s – 1958, 1959. I’m using 1960 as a nice, round number, but mid-century modern really is – it is a cohesive style, visually. That style starts to fragment later on in the century.
Show Notes: A fun and informative interview with one of the leading specialists, Richard Wright, Wright20 on Mid-Century Modern, they touch on contemporary design, auctions and further discuss the company’s informative, evolving website: wright20.com