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"Skyscraper" Step Table

Decorative Arts

On View: American Identities: A New Look, Modern Life, 5th Floor

The magazine Good Furniture commented in 1927 that Paul T. Frankl "has developed one feature that is absolutely unique. This is the now somewhat celebrated skyscraper type of furniture, which is as American and as New Yorkish as Fifth Avenue itself." Indeed, what could be more American and modern than furniture based on the uniquely American contribution to architecture—the skyscraper. Frankl was creating furniture of this type by 1925, thereby making him one of the first modern designers of American decorative arts.

MEDIUM Painted wood
  • Place Manufactured: New York, New York, United States
  • DATES late 1920s
    DIMENSIONS 38 3/4 x 30 1/2 x 9 in. (98.4 x 77.5 x 22.9 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS no marks
    SIGNATURE no signature
    INSCRIPTIONS no inscriptions
    COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in American Identities: A New Look, Modern Life, 5th Floor
    CREDIT LINE Designated Purchase Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Paul T. Frankl (American, born Austria, 1887-1958). "Skyscraper" Step Table, late 1920s. Painted wood, 38 3/4 x 30 1/2 x 9 in. (98.4 x 77.5 x 22.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Designated Purchase Fund, 85.163.5. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, 85.163.5_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION "Skyscraper" step table / bookcase, painted wood. Outside surfaces painted black, inside of shelves painted green. Stepped design irregularly descending from top (fitted with small pedestal). In elevation, a series of rectangles and cubes piled atop one another. Four metal glides attached to underside. CONDITION: Repainted with slight wear and paint droplets and some splotching to many surfaces. 2" scratch to edge of tallest side between middle and top of back.
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