Esherick, Wharton

Esherick, Wharton

(1887–1970) wood worker, artist, sculptor; born in Philadelphia. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and in his early work as a painter and sculptor he explored the different styles of the early 20th century. Influenced by the theories of Rudolph Steiner and several European artists/designers, he came to develop a style that emphasized twisted organic forms that seemed to grow naturally, and he turned increasingly to working with wood. In the 1930s he handcrafted his studio and house in Paoli, Pa., that in its individualistic details remains a landmark (and museum), and, as factory-produced furniture was attracting other major designers, he continued to make his one-of-a-kind pieces. Many artist-craftsmen in the late-20th-century woodworking movement would be influenced by his unique free-form, sculptural, often asymmetrical designs.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.