Irving Harper was an extremely prolific mid-century modern designer whose contributions have only come to light recently as a fresh wave of scholarship has rediscovered his work and reattributed many of the iconic designs of George Nelson Associates to Harper rather than the firm's eponymous leader. Irving Harper was responsible for the famous Herman Miller logo, the Marshmallow Sofa, and the Ball Clock, among countless other notable designs, and the absence of acknowledgement of his authorship by George Nelson was a major reason he resigned in 1963 and founded his own firm which went on to create designs for clients such as Braniff Airlines prior to his retirement in 1983. In a 2001 interview with Paul Makovsky in Metropolis Magazine, Harper said, "I'm grateful to George for what he did for me. While he was alive I made no demands whatsoever. But now that he's gone, whenever the marshmallow sofa is referred to as a 'George Nelson design,' it sort of gets to me. I don't go out of my way to set things right, but if anybody asks me who designed it, I'm perfectly happy to tell them."
Irving Harper passed away this August at the age of 99, and this week Wright Auctions in Chicago is offering nearly the entire body of work of the hundreds of extraordinary paper sculptures Harper made over nearly four decades for his personal creative explorations. Read More