In the upcoming design auction at Phillips, there is one small chair, a twentieth-century jewel, which holds a special story (above). Last year, I wrote here about the legendary and super influential Burden Table, which was designed by Isamu Noguchi for a summer house in Maine, belonged to William A.M. Burden, a house which was destroyed by fire in 1999 (below). The chair, offered by Phillips was designed in 1947 for that same dining table, which was set in a modernist villa on the seashore, designed by Wallace K. Harrison. An investor, diplomat, and art collector Burden and his wife, Margaret Livingston Partridge Burden, commissioned Wallace K. Harrison - the stararchitect of the United Nations headquarters, the Rockefeller Center and MoMA, of which Burden was president in the 1950s and '60s. William Burden died in 1984, and Margaret Burden in 1996, after which the house came to be owned by their youngest son who had lived in it a short time before, in 1999, it burned to the ground; it has since been reconstructed by architect Heinrich Hermann (look below). Although meant as a dining chair, as you can see in the period photo, the Burdens preferred to sit on Eames chairs instead, as they found the prototype of the chair Noguchi designed for them uncomfortable. They moved it to a storage shed, and thus it survived the fire and became the only piece of furniture survived from this spectacular commission. This is the third time that the chair is offered for sale (Christie’s in 2007; Sotheby’s 2011).
View Our Shop For Limited Edition Items