May 3, 2016

Wright to Auction Furnishings from The Four Seasons Restaurant in NYC

Photography by Jennifer Calais Smith. 

Chicago-based auction house Wright recently announced that it will be holding an auction this summer comprising furnishings and tableware from The Four Seasons in New York City. Designed by Philip Johnson, the iconic restaurant had been housed inside the Seagram Building in midtown for more than a half century and was a popular power lunch spot for the city’s elite. Known for both its culinary innovation and modern design, it was the costliest restaurant to have ever been built at the time of its completion in 1959, totaling $4.5 million.

The auction will include approximately 500 lots of furnishings, tableware, and accessories from the storied restaurant, such as banquettes, polished-bronze Tulip tables, Brno chairs, a variety of Knoll furnishings, serving carts, planters, and custom-made kitchen accessories.

“I think everyone will have a slightly different strategy of what they’ll want to purchase [at the auction],” says Brent Lewis, director of Wright’s NYC location. “Many people have personal connections to the space, and they’ll want to bid on a certain table that they would dine at or specific pieces they remember from the dining room.”

Plans are currently in the works to reopen the restaurant elsewhere in Manhattan, however the exact location has not yet been finalized. Because the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission granted the location landmark status in 1989, certain aspects of its interiors will not be up for auction, including its swooping metal curtains and wooden paneling.

“[The Seagram Building] was designed by Mies van der Rohe and was one of the city’s first skyscrapers, so it influenced an entire generation of buildings,” Lewis says. “The Four Seasons is the only restaurant [Philip Johnson] ever designed, and he dovetailed its design with van der Rohe’s vision for the tower. Architecturally it stands as one of the most important international-style interiors in the world.”

The auction will go live and open to the public at 10am on July 26th at 99 E. 52nd St in Manhattan with a public preview of the auction lots being held onsite from July 20-26.

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