Powell, Phillip Lloyd: 1919-2008 (USA)

The Artist:

Phillip Lloyd Powell was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1919 and studied engineering at the Drexel University of Technology. After World War II, in 1947 Powell he moved to New Hope, PA where he started refurbishing antiques and making furniture. He designed and handcrafted furniture and also his own house. Powell's last home featured a raised platform bed that rested in a sky-blue dome with golden stars under a skylight in a tower copula. Fond of travel and of people and with a knack for salesmanship, Powell opened a showroom in New Hope, PA. The store was a success and afforded Powell the chance to explore his furniture making.– In 1956 Powell turned into his business into a creative partnership with craftsman Paul Evans Their early work together was small in scale, such as the now-famed decorative screens with a loopy fish-scale pattern of welded iron. Later, Powell's studio specialized in creating commissioned works. Powell closed his shops in 1976. "My imagination runs over itself," he said. "It far exceeded what I could make. I did not want to be in the business of making furniture. When I had eight employees, I realized I was in the business. As a drop out I did not want to be just a designer." Powell always followed more of the artist's way, traveling for inspiration—even living in Spain for three years in the late seventies. Back in New Hope, Powell resumed working on intensely crafted wood pieces, sometimes more fantastical than functional. Phil Powell continued to work until his death at age 89.

Exhibitions and Constructions:

As contemporaries Nakashima and Esrick, renownd Phillip Lloyd Powel created his own style and captured the regional and national creative collector's eye. Regionally, Philip Lloyd Powell exhibited at the Michener Museum in Doylestown Pennsylvania and at the Civic Center Craft Invitationals in Philadelphia. Nationally, he was represented by Environment Gallery in midtown New York. In 1961, Powell and Evans received impressively widespread recognition after exhibiting at the New York American House, adjacent to MOMA., now named the Museum of Arts & Design The show well established him as an Arts and Crafts Master, and with this new status he attracted patrons.


The Art:

Embraced by the Art World and the Arts and Crafts Movement, Powell was a designer, craftsman, and sculptor. He created and built furniture and houses. His first house featured an indoor pond, surrounded by carved pillars with antique brackets brought from Sicily for candlelight reflections on the water. The pond was bordered by gardens of Bird of Paradise hanging Bougainvillea, and two fifteen-foot-high avocado trees. It was shielded by a screen that could be lifted to allow in the rainfall, and it was channeled to an outdoor fountain. When sculptor Isimu Noguchi came for a visit he was highly impressed. – At a time when Scandinavian minimalism was popular, Powell opted for a more naturalistic approach, in which he let the contour of wood grain reveal itself and even dictate the shape and flow of the piece. His materials are meant to provoke sensation. He selected woods texture, colors, and accent elements for their expression. – Powell also considered malleability. He selected walnut, which is softer than maple or oak, which he said is fun to shape with his favorite tool, the spoke shave (a side-handled plane for curves) which requires a sculptor's skill. Furniture parts are fitted together by spline and rabbit joints, dovetails and butterfly inserts. The wood and colors of the pegs are important to the design. Finally, several coats of oil will bring up the rich grain and color of the wood. Phillip Lloyd Powell is well known for his exquisite 1950's American Black Walnut table, such as the one displayed below. Representative of Powells style, it is a beautiful free-form specimen of walnut, finished with a satin quality. The table shows softened edges, which rests on four carved legs. This piece, as are the best of Phillip Lloyd Powell's work, is a poetry aesthetic.

Vintage Table: Sukonik Fine Art is please to present, the exquisite original vintage table displayed below. This work is a handsome unique and spiritual example of Phillip Powell's work. It is appearing at RAGO auction on 11/01/11.

Contact us For Questions about this piece and the auction at which it will be offered.

 
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Powell-001

Phillip Lloyd Powell: 1919-2008. This Unique Table ca. 1956: Provenance: Purchased from Phillip Lloyd Powell by the original collector ca. 1957. Gifted by original collector to the current owner in 1980. Authenticated by Sukonik Fine Art Inc. Philadelphia 2010. Original construction and design, ca. 1956: Description: Walnut/ Unique/ Exquisite/ Butterfly Key/ Fissure/ and Natural Through Surfaces. Photographed by Sukonik Fine Art Inc., Philadelphia Pennsylvania USA. Location: Philadelphia Pennsylvania USA. Dimensions:15"H x 72"L x 17-18"W x 2"D. Condition: Excellent. Close-Up | Closer.

Sold: $3,250.

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Powell-002

Phillip Lloyd Powell: ca. 1956. Description: See initial photograph of this item, above at: Powell-001. See this view: Close-Up

Sold: $3,250.

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Powell-003

Phillip Lloyd Powell: ca. 1956. Description: See initial photograph of this item above at: Powell-001. See this view: Close-Up

Sold: $3,250.

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Powell-004

Phillip Lloyd Powell: ca. 1956. Description: See item above at: Powell-001. See this view: Close-Up

Sold: $3,250.

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Powell-005

Phillip Lloyd Powell: ca. 1956. Description: See initial photograph of this item, above at: Powell-001. See this view: Close-Up

Sold: $3,250.

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Powell-006

Phillip Lloyd Powell: ca. 1956. Description: See initial photograph of this item, above at: Powell-001. See this view: Close-Up

Sold: $3,250.

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Powell-007

Phillip Lloyd Powell:ca. 1956. Description: See initial photograph of this item, above at: Powell-001. See this view: Close-Up

Sold: $3,250.

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Nakashima008

Phillip Lloyd Powell: ca. 1956. Description: See initial photograph of this item, above at: Powell-001. See this view: Close-Up

Sold: $3,250.

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Nakashima009

Phillip Lloyd Powell: ca. 1956. Description: See initial photograph of this item, above at: Powell-001. See this view: Close-Up

Sold: $3,250.

 






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