Owning a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is a dream for many architecture buffs. Soon, though, there will be an opportunity to own another piece of Lloyd Wright history, when four chairs designed by the late architect are offered as the top lots of Christie’s New York Design sale on December 13.
The chairs come from the Wright-designed Ward W. Willits House in Highland Park, Illinois, and date back to 1902. Aside from being created by the legend, they set the tone for 20th-century design, with a geometric shape which was unusual for the time. Originally, they were part of a set of 11 chairs of varying heights that sat around the home’s dining room table.
“Each set of furniture that Wright created was bespoke for that commission,” Michael Jefferson, Christie’s senior specialist in 20th-century design in Chicago, said in a statement. “But the Willits dining chairs are unique for being the most skeletal and pared-down.”
According to Jefferson, the dining chairs Wright had created previously all had embellishment. But he “did away with all ornamentation with the Willits chairs,” he said. “Nothing had ever looked this geometric and sparse in chair design.”
Incredibly, the chairs have only had two owners. After the Willits family passed away in the early 1960s, Chicago-area architect Walter Sobel bought the chairs to furnish his recently purchased Frank Lloyd Wright–designed house—the Baker House of 1907. They remained in the Baker House until this year.
Now, the two pairs of chairs are up for auction in separate lots, each expected to fetch anywhere from $200,000 to $300,000. The lucky bidder will have some amazing bragging rights, as pieces from the same dining set are currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the V&A in London, the St. Louis Art Museum, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and LACMA in Los Angeles. These four chairs would be privately owned.