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 inspirationeven 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.
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.
Copyright © 2002 Sukonik Fine Art Inc. t/a PSfineart. All Rights Reserved.