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Energizing The Everyday: Gifts From The George R. Kravis II Collection

May 8, 2016
Patriot Radio 1940 Designed by Norman Bel Geddes (American, 1893–1958) Manufactured by Emerson Radio and Phonograph Corp. (New York, New York, USA) Cast phenolic plastic (Catalin), molded urea plastic, molded cellulose acetate, embossed acetate, metal H x W x D: 20.3 x 27.9 x 14 cm (8 in. x 11 in. x 5 1/2 in.) Gift of George R. Kravis II, 2014 10 1 Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Patriot Radio
1940
Designed by Norman Bel Geddes (American, 1893–1958)
Manufactured by Emerson Radio and Phonograph Corp. (New York, New York, USA)
Cast phenolic plastic (Catalin), molded urea plastic, molded cellulose acetate, embossed acetate, metal
H x W x D: 20.3 x 27.9 x 14 cm (8 in. x 11 in. x 5 1/2 in.)
Gift of George R. Kravis II, 2014 10 1
Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

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Energizing The Everyday

Gifts From The George R. Kravis II Collection

Text by Bill Indursky | Images Courtesy of Cooper Hewitt / Smithsonian | Photography by Matt Flynn
May 8, 2016

life long collector of industrial design, George R. Kravis II has always worked to educate and share his passion with others.  His collection of designed objects is one of the most important in the United States and has landed him on Art+Auction‘s Power List.  But, it is sharing that the former radio broadcasting owner and pioneer has been most dedicated to opening the Kravis Design Center in his native Tulsa, OK, publishing a new book with Skira Rizzoli focusing on industrial design in the 20th and early 21st century, as well as his recent generous gift to the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, in New York.

Kravis’s gift of designed objects to the Cooper Hewitt is highlighted in a new exhibition “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis Collection,” which opens April 28, 2016 and runs until March 2017.  The exhibition has an international scope covering design that has affected culture across the globe and includes Norman Bel Geddes’s 1935 skyscraper-like Manhattan cocktail set, Cesare Cassati’s and C. Emmanuele Ponzio’s 1968 Pillola lamps and Olafur Eliasson’s Little Sun solar-powered LED lantern.

Today, Kravis is known for his community leadership and arts patronage. As a trustee for his parents’ foundation for arts and education, Kravis has supported a number of innovative educational initiatives, such as providing scholarships for Tulsa public school teachers to attend the Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain, and the Kravis Discovery Center at the Gilcrease Museum. Additionally, Kravis has been a committed supporter of the Tulsa Symphony and Tulsa Ballet. He is currently on the board of the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture and on the Collections Committee of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, and he is a former board member of the Price Tower Art Center in Bartlesville. He was the co-founder of the Circle Cinema in Tulsa. With his passion for the preservation of significant examples of 20th-century architecture and love for his home state, Kravis has supported many projects including the publication of Tulsa Art Deco.

See our tour of the exhibit as well as highlights from the collection below.

http://cooperhewitt.org

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Installation view of “Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.” Photo by Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.

Braniff Airways Model 66310 Armchair Ca. 1968 Designed by Alexander Hayden Girard (American, 1907–1993) for Braniff International Airways Manufactured by Herman Miller Furniture Company (Zeeland, Michigan, USA). Woven textile upholstery of cotton (46%), wool (33%), and nylon (21%), with vinyl, urethane foam, latex foam; molded plywood (body), cast aluminum (legs); H x W x D: 66 x 102.9 x 73.7 cm (26 in. x 40 1/2 in. x 29 in.) Gift of George R. Kravis II in honor of Caroline Baumann, 2013 37 1 Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Braniff Airways Model 66310 Armchair
Ca. 1968
Designed by Alexander Hayden Girard (American, 1907–1993) for Braniff International Airways
Manufactured by Herman Miller Furniture Company (Zeeland, Michigan, USA).
Woven textile upholstery of cotton (46%), wool (33%), and nylon (21%), with vinyl, urethane foam, latex foam; molded plywood (body), cast aluminum (legs);
H x W x D: 66 x 102.9 x 73.7 cm (26 in. x 40 1/2 in. x 29 in.)
Gift of George R. Kravis II in honor of Caroline Baumann, 2013 37 1
Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Armchair 1976 Designed by Shiro Kuramata (Japanese, 1934–1991) Manufactured by Mihoya Glass Co., Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) Assembled laminated plate glass H x W x D: 86.4 × 90.2 × 61 cm (34 in. × 35 1/2 in. × 24 in.) Promised gift of George R. Kravis II Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Armchair
1976
Designed by Shiro Kuramata (Japanese, 1934–1991)
Manufactured by Mihoya Glass Co., Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan)
Assembled laminated plate glass
H x W x D: 86.4 × 90.2 × 61 cm (34 in. × 35 1/2 in. × 24 in.)
Promised gift of George R. Kravis II
Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Poster, America’s Answer! Production 1942 Designed by Jean Carlu (French, active United States, 1900 - 1997) Printed by the U.S. Government Printing Office Published by the Office of Emergency Management (USA) Offset lithograph on paper 76.2 × 101.6 cm (30 × 40 in.) Promised gift of George R. Kravis II Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Poster, America’s Answer! Production
1942
Designed by Jean Carlu (French, active United States, 1900 – 1997)
Printed by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Published by the Office of Emergency Management (USA)
Offset lithograph on paper
76.2 × 101.6 cm (30 × 40 in.)
Promised gift of George R. Kravis II
Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Poster, Post Office Underground Mail Train: London 1935 Designed by Lili Réthi (American, born Austria, 1894 - 1969) London, England Offset Lithograph on paper 102 × 126.5 cm (40 3/16 × 49 13/16 in.) Promised gift of George R. Kravis II Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Poster, Post Office Underground Mail Train: London
1935
Designed by Lili Réthi (American, born Austria, 1894 – 1969)
London, England
Offset Lithograph on paper
102 × 126.5 cm (40 3/16 × 49 13/16 in.)
Promised gift of George R. Kravis II
Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Drawing, Interior Ca. 1950 Designed by Mathieu Matégot (Hungarian and French, 1910-2001) France Gouache, ink, collage on paper 47 × 72.4 cm (18 1/2 × 28 1/2 in.) Promised gift of George R. Kravis II Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Drawing, Interior
Ca. 1950
Designed by Mathieu Matégot (Hungarian and French, 1910-2001)
France
Gouache, ink, collage on paper
47 × 72.4 cm (18 1/2 × 28 1/2 in.)
Promised gift of George R. Kravis II
Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Waterwitch Model MB 571.11 Outboard Motor Ca. 1937 Designed by John Richard Morgan (American, born Canada, 1903-1986) Manufactured by Kissel Motor Company (Hartford, Wisconsin, USA) Distributed by Sears, Roebuck and Co. (Chicago, Illinois, USA) Cast aluminum, steel, brass, molded rubber H x W x D: 93.5 × 40.5 × 55.5 cm (36 13/16 × 15 15/16 × 21 7/8 in.) Promised gift of George R. Kravis II Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Waterwitch Model MB 571.11 Outboard Motor
Ca. 1937
Designed by John Richard Morgan (American, born Canada, 1903-1986)
Manufactured by Kissel Motor Company (Hartford, Wisconsin, USA)
Distributed by Sears, Roebuck and Co. (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Cast aluminum, steel, brass, molded rubber
H x W x D: 93.5 × 40.5 × 55.5 cm (36 13/16 × 15 15/16 × 21 7/8 in.)
Promised gift of George R. Kravis II
Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Z Clock 1934 Designed by Gilbert Rohde (American, 1894 – 1944) Manufactured by Herman Miller Clock Company (Zeeland, Michigan, USA) Bent chrome plated tubular brass, enameled brass, plate glass H x W x D: 30.5 × 32 × 9 cm (12 in. × 12 5/8 in. × 3 9/16 in.) Promised gift of George R. Kravis II Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Z Clock
1934
Designed by Gilbert Rohde (American, 1894 – 1944)
Manufactured by Herman Miller Clock Company (Zeeland, Michigan, USA)
Bent chrome plated tubular brass, enameled brass, plate glass
H x W x D: 30.5 × 32 × 9 cm (12 in. × 12 5/8 in. × 3 9/16 in.)
Promised gift of George R. Kravis II
Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Efira Bowl 1986 Designed by Ettore Sottsass (Italian, 1917–2007) Manufactured by Toso Vetri d’Arte for Memphis (Murano, Venice, Italy) Blown glass, sheet glass, brass wire H x diam.: 48.3 × 33.7 cm (19 in. × 13 1/4 in.) Promised gift of George R. Kravis II Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Efira Bowl
1986
Designed by Ettore Sottsass (Italian, 1917–2007)
Manufactured by Toso Vetri d’Arte for Memphis (Murano, Venice, Italy)
Blown glass, sheet glass, brass wire
H x diam.: 48.3 × 33.7 cm (19 in. × 13 1/4 in.)
Promised gift of George R. Kravis II
Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Normandie Pitcher 1935 Designed by Peter Müller Munk (American, born Germany, 1904 - 1967) Manufactured by Revere Copper and Brass Company (Rome, New York, USA) Bent and joined chromium plated sheet brass H x W x D: 30.4 x 24.4 x 7.7 cm (11 15/16 x 9 5/8 x 3 1/16 in.) Gift of George R. Kravis II, 2014 25 2 Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Normandie Pitcher
1935
Designed by Peter Müller Munk (American, born Germany, 1904 – 1967)
Manufactured by Revere Copper and Brass Company (Rome, New York, USA)
Bent and joined chromium plated sheet brass
H x W x D: 30.4 x 24.4 x 7.7 cm (11 15/16 x 9 5/8 x 3 1/16 in.)
Gift of George R. Kravis II, 2014 25 2
Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Patriot Radio 1940 Designed by Norman Bel Geddes (American, 1893–1958) Manufactured by Emerson Radio and Phonograph Corp. (New York, New York, USA) Cast phenolic plastic (Catalin), molded urea plastic, molded cellulose acetate, embossed acetate, metal H x W x D: 20.3 x 27.9 x 14 cm (8 in. x 11 in. x 5 1/2 in.) Gift of George R. Kravis II, 2014 10 1 Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Patriot Radio
1940
Designed by Norman Bel Geddes (American, 1893–1958)
Manufactured by Emerson Radio and Phonograph Corp. (New York, New York, USA)
Cast phenolic plastic (Catalin), molded urea plastic, molded cellulose acetate, embossed acetate, metal
H x W x D: 20.3 x 27.9 x 14 cm (8 in. x 11 in. x 5 1/2 in.)
Gift of George R. Kravis II, 2014 10 1
Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Triangles Textile 1952 Designed by Alexander Hayden Girard (American, 1907–1993) Manufactured by Herman Miller Textiles (Zeeland, Michigan, USA) Screen-printed linen Warp x Weft (A): 146.1 × 120 cm (57 1/2 × 47 1/4 in.); Warp x Weft (B): 146.1 × 116.2 cm (57 1/2 × 45 3/4 in.) Gift of George R. Kravis II, 2016 5 28 Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Triangles Textile
1952
Designed by Alexander Hayden Girard (American, 1907–1993)
Manufactured by Herman Miller Textiles (Zeeland, Michigan, USA)
Screen-printed linen
Warp x Weft (A): 146.1 × 120 cm (57 1/2 × 47 1/4 in.); Warp x Weft (B): 146.1 × 116.2 cm (57 1/2 × 45 3/4 in.)
Gift of George R. Kravis II, 2016 5 28
Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Little Sun Solar-Powered Lantern 2012 Designed by Olafur Eliasson (Danish, born 1967) and Frederik Ottesen Manufactured by Little Sun (Berlin, Germany) Molded plastic, solar panel, LED H x diam.: 4.4 × 12.1 cm (1 3/4 × 4 3/4 in.) Gift of George R. Kravis II, 2016 5 23 Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Little Sun Solar-Powered Lantern
2012
Designed by Olafur Eliasson (Danish, born 1967) and Frederik Ottesen
Manufactured by Little Sun (Berlin, Germany)
Molded plastic, solar panel, LED
H x diam.: 4.4 × 12.1 cm (1 3/4 × 4 3/4 in.)
Gift of George R. Kravis II, 2016 5 23
Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Vanity Model 3920 1939 Designed by Gilbert Rohde (American, 1894 – 1944) Manufactured by Herman Miller Furniture Company (Zeeland, Michigan, USA) East Indian laurel, Sequoia burl, oak, acrylic, brass, patinated steel, leather, mirrored glass H x W x D: 127 × 127 × 43.2 cm (50 × 50 × 17 in.) Gift of George R. Kravis II, 2016 5 19 a/d Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Vanity Model 3920
1939
Designed by Gilbert Rohde (American, 1894 – 1944)
Manufactured by Herman Miller Furniture Company (Zeeland, Michigan, USA)
East Indian laurel, Sequoia burl, oak, acrylic, brass, patinated steel, leather, mirrored glass
H x W x D: 127 × 127 × 43.2 cm (50 × 50 × 17 in.)
Gift of George R. Kravis II, 2016 5 19 a/d
Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution


About the author: Bill Indursky

Bill Indursky is an architect, trend expert, and digital entrepreneur. He is the former founder of V&M (Vintage & Modern (2006-2013)) and the current founder of Design Life Network (DLN). DLN is a MAGAZINE + DESIGN AGENCY + MARKETPLACE + TV CHANNEL promoting inspiring design of all eras online and on TV.



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