Wharton Esherick's SK Chairs
In 1942, Wharton Esherick was commissioned by long-time client Helene Koerting Fischer, president of equipment manufacturing company Schutte-Koerting, to make new boardroom furniture conveying the company’s progressive direction. Esherick created what are now known as the “SK” chairs, which were simple yet revolutionary. Their organic, arcing design reflected the shapes and lines he saw in the trees and their construction inspired future iconic designs, including Arthur Espenet Carpenter’s Wishbone chair. Over time, Esherick expanded the SK theme for dining chairs with a variety of upholstery and wood types. The present set of chairs are production prototypes that were acquired from the artist in the 1960s by the current owner’s father. The furniture Esherick crafted for Schutt-Koerting, meanwhile, was donated to the Philadelphia Museum of Art by Mrs. Koerting Fischer after the sale of the company in the early 1970s and was used in their own boardroom for years. Ahead of their time, Esherick's SK chairs remain an icon of American craft furniture design almost a century after their conception.