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Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design

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Music Rack

1964
53 1/2 x 26 x 20 in. (135.9 x 66 x 50.8 cm)

Wendell Castle
American (Emporia, KS, 1932 - 2018, Scottsville, NY)

Object Type: Furniture
Medium and Support: Oak and Brazilian rosewood
Credit Line: Given in honor of Marion J. Hawks by her family, by exchange
Accession Number: 2010.7
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Location: Not currently on view

The elegant tapered lines of Music Rack reflect the influence of renowned Pennsylvania artist-craftsman Wharton Esherick, whose work Castle credits with teaching him “that the making of furniture could be a form of sculpture.” Using bentwood lamination as a technique, Castle was able to create the “gentle, but regular organic curve” of the sculpture, whose central trunk mimics “a supple, bent sapling.”

Music Rack was the first of Castle’s works to receive international attention. Not only was it included in an important design exhibition in Milan, but a review of the show in Time magazine featured a color image of it. All twelve versions of the original edition sold quickly, several to museum collections including the American Craft Museum. This work is now considered one of Castle’s most iconic.

For over forty years the music rack was owned by Temple B’rith Kodesh in Brighton. The congregation offered it for sale to the MAG to ensure that it would be properly taken care of for generations to come.

[Summer 2015]

Bibliography
See artist's description of the making of this edition of music stands in Jeannine Falino's Crafting Modernism, Museum of Art and Design, New York, 2011: pp. 132-133, fig. 6.10 and cat. 185; and chapter five of the artist's book The Wendell Castle Book of Wood Lamination, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold co., 1980, p. 74-87.

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