Dimensions: gate: 83 1/4 x 36 3/4 in. (211.5 x 93.3 cm), transom: 17 7/8 x 36 3/4 in. (45.4 x 93.3 cm)
Originally from the J. Walter Thompson Company offices at the Graybar Building, 420 Lexington Avenue, New York.
From the Catalogue:
When leading advertising company J. Walter Thompson moved to the newly constructed Graybar Building in 1927—then the world's largest office building—Helen Lansdowne Resor, an influential and highly successful creative copywriter, took up the task of commissioning architectural and decorating work for the offices' interiors. Such notable designers as Norman Bel Geddes and Elsie de Wolfe contributed to the project, and Samuel Yellin created a number of unique wrought iron ensembles, including the present lot, to serve as office partitions (job number 2660 in Yellin's registry). A master of the iron medium, Yellin was incredibly passionate and poetic about his craft, commenting ""When I go to rest at night, I can hardly sleep because my mind is aswarm with visions of all the gates and grilles and locks and keys I want to do. I verily believe I shall take my hammer with me when I go, and at the gate of Heaven, if I am denied admission, I shall fashion my own key.""
—Courtesy of Sotheby's
J. Walter Thompson Company, Samuel Yellin, Cellini of wrought iron and his work as seen at J. Walter Thompson, New York (for a discussion and illustrations of the commission)
Wendy Kaplan, The Arts & Crafts Movement in Europe & America: Design for the Modern World, Los Angeles, 2004, p. 258 (for a related Yellin prototype grille for the Pierpont Morgan Library Annex, New York, featuring bird and floral motifs, circa 1928, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Commissioned from the artist by the J. Walter Thompson Company offices, Graybar Building, New York, circa 1927-1938
Gift to Duke University, 2010
Acquired from the above by the present owner