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Designer Biographies

Russel Wright

Russel Wright was born in 1904 in Lebanon, Ohio. He studied at the Art Academy in Cincinnati and the Art Students League in New York, then attended college at Princeton where he worked with Norman Bel Geddes, a set designer at the time. Wright did not finish college but went on to become a very prominent designer from the 1930s-50s. In 1927, he married Mary Small Einstein, a sculpture student from a wealthy family. He created whimsical masks and animals which he sold at Rena Rosenthal's shop in NY. He then began making spun aluminum household objects like cocktail shakers, punch sets, sandwich humidors and such, designed for informal entertaining. He also made radios for for Wurlitzer Company, metal accessories for Chase Brass and Copper Company, and furniture for Heywood-Wakefield Company and Conant Ball Co. for R.H. Macy of NY.

In 1935, Russel and Mary formed a partnership with Irving Richards, a designer and businessman, in the name "Russel Wright Associates". The first design was very successful, the dinnerware line called "American Modern", sold thru 1957. He also designed table linens, glassware called "Casual China" for the Iroquois China Company, restaurant dinnerware for Sterling, several lines of melamine dinnerware including "Residential", warming trays for Appleman, glassware for Bartlett-Collins, and furniture for the Statton Furniture Co. In 1951 he and Mary published a book, "A Guide to Easier Living". He also designed folding chairs and tables and school furniture for Shwayder Brothers. Mary died in 1952 and he spent much of his retirement years working on his house "Dragon Rock" in Garrison, NY, completed in 1961. He died in NY in 1976.

sources: Collectors Encyclopedia of Russel Wright by Ann Kerr, and Design 1935-1965 What Modern Was by Martin Eidelberg.

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