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Desk (USA), ca. 1933

This is a Desk. It was designed by Paul T. Frankl and manufactured by Frankl Galleries. It is dated ca. 1933 and we acquired it in 2006. Its medium is lacquered wood, painted canvas, chromed metal. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

This fine example of early 1930s streamlined furniture would be the first piece of furniture designed by Paul T. Frankl to enter the museum’s collection. The desk demonstrates a different aesthetic from the sometime silver- and gold-leaf decoration of Frankl’s early work.
At the time of proposed acquisition, the museum’s collections in general—and the furniture collection in particular—do not have much American modernist design from the early 1930s. Highlights include the Jazz punch bowl by Viktor Schreckengost (1931), Ruba Rombic glassware (ca. 1928), and a side chair by Wiener Werkstätte member Joseph Urban (ca. 1930). Frankl’s furniture also relates well to the museum’s collection of skyscraper designs and drawings by the American architect Hugh Ferriss.

This object was featured in our Object of the Day series in a post titled The Horizontal Line in American Design.

It is credited Gift of Joel and Anne Ehrenkranz.

  • Desk, 19th century
  • mahogany, burl walnut, burl elm, rosewood veneers, maple, pine, ash, gilt metal.
  • Gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt.
  • 1931-95-13

Our curators have highlighted 8 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • 3920 Vanity, 1939
  • east indian laurel, sequoia burl, oak, acrylic, brass, patinated steel,....
  • Gift of George R. Kravis II.
  • 2016-5-19-a/d
  • Object ID #907214281
  • desk and bookcase: mahogany, cedrela, zebrawood, yellow poplar, and pine with....
  • 65.2016.5a/c

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 76.2 x 121.9 x 53.3 cm (30 x 48 x 21 in.)

Cite this object as

Desk (USA), ca. 1933; Designed by Paul T. Frankl (American, b. Austria, 1886–1958); lacquered wood, painted canvas, chromed metal; H x W x D: 76.2 x 121.9 x 53.3 cm (30 x 48 x 21 in.); Gift of Joel and Anne Ehrenkranz; 2006-24-1

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Desk (USA), ca. 1933 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=18 October 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>