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May 19, 2019 Auction Preview: Indoor/Outdoor Designs for Living

May 4, 2019

Indoor/Outdoor Designs for Living by Van Keppel-Green

Finding that the dominant furniture styles of the 1930s were wholly inappropriate for California’s growing architectural interest in unifying indoor and outdoor spaces, the design partnership Van Keppel-Green (VKG) set to crafting simple, multi-use, all-weather pieces that could be easily moved from place to place throughout the home. VKG has been credited with the invention of the term indoor/outdoor living, which was used early on in their marketing materials. Their products became uniquely embedded in the iconography of mid-century modernism and was a leading influence on some of the period’s most prominent furniture designers.

Van Keppel & Green, Camel table, c. 1955
May 19, 2019 Modern Art & Design Auction

Both California natives, Hendrik Van Keppel (1914–1988) and Taylor Green (1914–1991) met in Los Angeles in 1937. Finding that they shared an enthusiasm for simple, essentialized form, they soon joined forces to establish their design and manufacturing practice in downtown Los Angeles, which would later become a series of shops in Beverly Hills, and finally their Santa Monica ‘Country Store’ in the late 1960s. While the general public tended to automatically classify VKG’s pieces as outdoor furniture, the design duo only crafted a handful of works exclusively intended for outdoor use. Offering custom fabrication, VKG catered to art world masters and Hollywood royalty alike. Due to their works’ singular compatibility with the philosophy of the Arts and Architecture Case Study House program, VKG began attracting the program’s architects, designers, and enthusiasts in 1945. In 1960, when Julius Shulman famously photographed Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House #22 (the Stahl House), Koenig enlisted VKG’s expertise to furnish the entirety of the home’s interior and exterior. Similarly, Shulman’s iconic poolside images of Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann House showcase a VKG table and lounge chairs. VKG’s catalogue also routinely graced the silver screen, as both Van Keppel and Green maintained good relationships with the era’s film studios, and often rented out their designs for set dressing. VKG’s repertoire achieved near ubiquity in the period as it radiated the “attractive informality” that animated popular notions of modern “California living.”

Van Keppel & Green, Dining suite, c. 1960
May 19, 2019 Modern Art & Design Auction

Many of the pieces that are now being sold by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art hail from Van Keppel’s personal collection, and offer an intimate portrait of the designer’s curation of his own home. The private nature of these works stands as a testament to Van Keppel’s resolute confidence in the elegant functionality of his creations.

Haeberli, Eric. “The Origins of Indoor/Outdoor Design.” Van Keppel-Green, 2008, www.vankeppelgreen.com/about.htm.
Kaufman, Sam. “Spotlight on the Midcentury Design Duo Who Invented the Term Indoor/Outdoor Living.” Dwell, 10 Aug. 2017, www.dwell.com/article/spotlight-on-the-midcentury-design-duo-who-invented-the-term-indooroutdoor-living-8f77bc13.


LOT INFORMATION

SOLD BY THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART TO BENEFIT ACQUISITIONS
Lot 108
Hendrik Van Keppel & Taylor Green
Camel table
Custom designed for Dr. Halden, c. 1955
15″ x 76″ x 36″; 27.75″ x 76″ x 36″ (extended); (38 x 193 x 91 cm)
Provenance:  Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Estimate: $4,000–6,000
May 19, 2019 Modern Art & Design Auction

 

SOLD BY THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART TO BENEFIT ACQUISITIONS
Lot 109
Hendrik van Keppel & Taylor Green
Dining suite (9)
VKG (chairs); Custom (table), designed c. 1960
Model no. 622 (chairs)
Comprised of a dining table and eight side chairs
Dining table: 25.125″ x 96″ x 42″; Side chairs each: 29.75″ x 17″ x 22″; (Table: 64 x 244 x 107 cm)
Provenance:  Hendrik Van Keppel, Los Angeles, California; Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Estimate: $5,000–7,000
May 19, 2019 Modern Art & Design Auction

 

SOLD BY THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART TO BENEFIT ACQUISITIONS
Lot 110
Hendrik Van Keppel & Taylor Green
Garden table
VKG, designed c. 1960
20″ x 18″ x 18″; (51 x 46 x 46 cm)
Provenance:  Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Estimate: $1,500–2,000
May 19, 2019 Modern Art & Design Auction

 

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