Original example of a fantastic modernist American studio made sofa by acclaimed craftsman Robert Whitley. This unique piece is demountable with the back of the sofa being easily removable. The walnut base is in remarkable condition and the cushions don the original fabric. Please see images to see the carved signature to seat, ‘Whitley’.
USA, c. 1975
Seat height: 17 in.
Provenance: Family of the Artist
Robert Whitley developed an impressive career restoring furniture (as master conservator at Independence Hall in Philadelphia), reproducing period works (for example, President John F. Kennedy’s Oval Office desk for the Kennedy Memorial Library in Boston), and creating his own unique designs. Perhaps his best known original commission is a chess set presented by President Richard Nixon to the Soviet Union, now in the collection of The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. His work is in the collections of many prestigious institutions, including the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institute, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
In 2016, Whitley was awarded a lifetime membership in the Society of American Period Furniture Makers (SAPFM) in recognition of his lifelong commitment to advancing the understanding, education and appreciation of period furniture. He was also the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Society of American Period Furniture Makers Cartouche Award (2002) and the Renwick Gallery’s Craft Multiples Award (1975).
Whitley was a tireless and passionate craftsman and worked well into his early 80s. He passed away in 2020, leaving behind an indelible legacy in the worlds of woodworking, craft, and period American furniture.