As we continue with the May 23, 2010 Modern Art & Design auction preview, I got a chance to ask Peter about his sentiments about some of the items up for auction. Today he told me his “pick of the day” was the assortment of offerings by Hendrick Van Keppel & Taylor Green.
Lot 1, Tall Freestanding Bookshelf, Estimate $5,000 – 7,000, Provenance: Estate of Paul Kasper
Lot 3, Consol Table, Estimate $1,000 – 1,500, Provenance: Estate of Paul Kasper
Lot 4, Group of six dining chairs, Estimate $1,500 – 2,000, Provenance: Estate of Paul Kasper
Lot 5, Dining Table, Estimate $2,500 – 3,500, Provenance: Estate of Paul Kasper
Lot 12, Child’s Chair, Estimate $400 – 600
Lot 13, Refectory Table, Estimate $3,000 – 5,000, Provenance: Estate of Paul Kasper
Is “Van Keppel & Green” a design firm or a store? I have seen many ads in Arts & Architecture Magazines announcing new designs at VKG.
Peter: Actually the answer is both. Hendrick Van Keppel & Taylor Green were a design team that created a landmark collection of innovative furniture immediately after the end of WWII. However, by the 1950s their store on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood had grown to include important designs from around the world and was not only producing their own work, but was also importing and retailing the works of noted designs such as Gio Ponti and Jens Quistgaard.
I also noticed many of the VKG items were from the estate of Paul Kasper. Can you explain this?
After his service with the military, Kasper was employed by the retail store of VKG and this allowed him an introduction to many designers, decorators and architects. Subsequently, he went to school on the GI bill to learn landscape architecture. He spent the later part of his career creating modernist landscapes and was also an accomplished sculptor. Many times the earliest designs by VKG did not survive over the years because they were originally sold as low cost alternatives to traditional furniture. This meant that there were was a greater change that eventually the owners would forget about their importance and discard or misuse them in garages or basements or as hand-me-downs to the next generation that was moving out of the house. I believe that since Kasper was working at VKG and built a career in design, he always treated these examples as being special. And therefore they were never mistreated or discarded. I don’t think I’ll ever see another example in this condition – especially, the tall bookshelf, which looks like the day it was made.
For images the other VKG items to be offered, please visit our online auction catalogue.