Subtly Sumptuous Modernism

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marx chest sothebys

“There is one lot in Sotheby’s ‘Important 20th Century Design’ sale in New York on June 15 that I find particularly alluring: a 1945 chest of drawers by the Chicago-based architect and furniture designer Samuel Marx, who lived from 1885 to 1964. Marx bridged the gap between hard edged modernists and high style interior decorators in the 1930s and 1940s. While architect/designers like Eames, Prouvé, and Aalto strove to design relatively low cost furniture for the masses, Marx drew heavily on classic proportions and employed rich finishes like parchment and crackled lacquer to please his affluent clients. (This piece was made for cruise ship heiress Lurline Matson.) And yet Marx’s best furniture designs are striking in their totally modern and simple beauty. These pieces managed, in their stripped down and redefined classicism, to reflect a unique American modernism. The play of the hard edge horizontals running over the soft undulating drawer fronts and the subtle geometric joinery of the parchment panels are exquisite details that are rare in American design.”
Mark McDonald
Dealer, Hudson, New York