Frank Lloyd Wright - Design New York Thursday, June 6, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Imperial Hotel, Tokyo
    Private collection, Tokyo
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Cary James, Frank Lloyd Wright's Imperial Hotel, New York, 1968, pp. 35, 42-43
    David A. Hanks, The Decorative Designs of Frank Lloyd Wright, New York, 1979, p. 133
    Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, Frank Lloyd Wright: The Complete Works, 1917-1942, vol. 2, Cologne, 2010, pp. 33, 35

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present Peacock chair was designed for the Peacock Banquet Room in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. Part of an effort by Japan’s elite to offer luxury accommodation to Western visitors, Wright was commissioned to design the hotel in 1915, with the opulent structure finally opening in 1922. The earliest version of the Peacock chair had a caned or fabric seat, but heavy use by the throngs of visitors wore away at the delicate materials and many chairs were eventually reupholstered with leatherette. The distinctive hexagonal shape of the chair back, seat, and legs responded to the architectural program on the exterior and interior of the building. As a tribute to Japanese design, which Wright regarded as a model of simplicity and dignified beauty, he had departed from the Prairie School style with a poured concrete and stone façade featuring a molded cornice. A prescient choice, as the hotel is now notable for its survival of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake that leveled many other buildings in Tokyo. Though eventually demolished in 1968, the building remains an icon of early twentieth-century Tokyo's cosmopolitan life as well as Wright’s interest in East Asian forms, with the lobby faithfully preserved in the Meiji Mura Museum, Inuyama.


"Peacock" side chair

circa 1916
Oak, vinyl upholstery.
38 1/4 x 15 3/4 x 17 3/4 in. (97.2 x 40 x 45.1 cm)
Reverse with metal label numbered 226.

$8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for $13,750

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New York Auction 6 June 2019