Curators’ Pick

Antiques and Fine Art has selected the Phill Powell door at the Michener Art Museum as one of the top 20 acquisitions for 2011!

The door has become the entrance to the museum’s Martin Wing.

Phillip Lloyd Powell was one of New Hope’s finest craftsmen. “He was one of New Hope’s sparks of creativity,” said Michener Director and CEO Bruce Katsiff, who had been a friend of Powell and remembered him riding his bicycle through New Hope.

Powell created the door for the Craftsman 67 exhibition at the Philadelphia Civic Center and later installed it at hi s New Hope residence on Route 202. Because it was not a commissioned piece, it represented his true spirit, says Curator of Collections Connie Kimmerle. When the building was demolished the door was saved and eventually offered for public auction. The Michener Art Museum acquired Powell’s elaborately carved and painted pine door through a Rago Auction in 2009.

Over a period of six months, furniture conservator Behrooz Salimnejad undertook a cross-sectional microscopic analysis of the door’s paint layers while stabilizing the door and repairing areas that were damaged by insects and moisture. It had been covered over with two coats of latex, but family members recalled the original red and orange colors it has been restored to.

Powell (1919-2008), whose designs blur the line between sculpture and furniture, created work for collectors as varied as Lenox China and writer Paddy Chayefsky. He was inspired by George Nakashima and Wharton Esherick. Sharing studio space with fellow New Hope artisan Paul Evans, Powell began incorporating metal and found objects into his own work.

Powell traveled extensively to Spain, Portugal, England, Sicily and Morocco, where he was inspired by the carvings and decorative elements found in furnishings and architectural elements.

Read the story at Antiques and Fine Art.

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