Works in Paper

Harper, Irving


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An inti­ma­te mono­graph of the pro­fes­sio­nal and per­so­nal crea­ti­ons of a midcen­tu­ry design legend. Irving Har­per is the most famous desi­gner you have never heard of. Working as an asso­cia­te at the office of Geor­ge Nel­son in the 1950s and ’60s, Har­per was respon­si­ble for such icons of midcen­tu­ry design as the Mar­sh­mal­low sofa, the Ball clock, and nume­rous Her­man Mil­ler tex­ti­le designs. Harper’s unre­co­gni­zed con­tri­bu­ti­on to this semi­nal era of design, and his incredi­ble paper sculp­tures (made in his spa­re time to “relie­ve stress”), are pre­sen­ted for the first time in this book.

An essay by design cri­tic Julie Las­ky intro­du­ces Harper’s com­mer­ci­al design work, reco­gniz­ab­le designs from gra­phics to domestic goods to fur­ni­tu­re that are still cove­ted and appre­cia­ted today, desi­gned for the offices of Ray­mond Loewy, Geor­ge Nel­son, and then his own stu­dio Har­per + Geor­ge. The second part of the book docu­ments Harper’s exten­si­ve paper sculp­tures, which have never been exhi­bi­ted. More than three hund­red works fill Harper’s house and barn in Rye, New York, whe­re this array of fan­tasti­cal peop­le and ani­mal sculp­tures was crea­ted from modest and inex­pen­si­ve mate­ri­als as diver­se as spa­ghet­ti and tooth­picks in addi­ti­on to paper.

Images of Harper’s home, fil­led with fur­ni­tu­re and objec­ts of his own design as well as his paper sculp­tures, offer a rare glim­p­se into a Modern design enthusiast’s paradise.Offering insight into an important era of Ame­ri­can design as well as the pro­li­fic out­put of a crea­ti­ve mind, this book pro­mi­ses to be the first to reco­gni­ze Irving Harper’s con­tri­bu­ti­on to the field and will appeal to fans of Modern design.













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