Giant Mid-Century Modern Arthur Umanoff spindle walnut magazine rack. This handsome magazine rack by Arthur Umanoff is the “Big Boy” at just under 31″. The oily, deep-redish-brown cinnamon color patina of the walnut is exactly why we love mid-century modern. The spindle design of this large magazine rack creates an architectural feel synonymous with Umanoff.
Measures: 30 7/8″ D x 9 1/8″ W x 14 5/8″ H
About the designer:
Though much of Arthur Umanoff’s furniture is marked by a no-frills simplicity common in American mid-century modern design, his work is anything but one-note. Over the course of a prolific career, Umanoff designed everything from case pieces to candleholders to dining chairs in iron, leather, walnut, wicker and more. With furnishings for a broad range of manufacturers throughout the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s, Umanoff continued a thread of sculptural elegance and textural sensitivity through his designs.
After graduating from Pratt Institute in the early 1950s, Umanoff experimented mostly with wood furniture before landing a job at Post Modern Ltd, a New York manufacturer of wrought-iron furniture. There he produced furnishings that married wrought iron with wood and plastic, creating functional pieces free of utilitarian bulkiness. Umanoff continued his experimentation with mixed materials through a partnership with Shaver Howard, for whom he designed magazine rack in combinations of iron, leather and wicker.
When Shaver Howard bought Boyeur Scott, Umanoff conceived several furniture designs for the brand, including the 1964 Granada collection, whose curlicue iron bases, visible through glass tops, stand out as some of his most ornate and decorative work. Indeed, much of Umanoff’s oeuvre is far more simplistic, like iron-and-pine armchairs for The Elton Co. or low-backed, slatted-seat barstools with slender iron legs for Raymor.
Even as he is among the mid-century modern designers you may not know, with work across such a range of styles and manufacturers (most no longer in business), Umanoff, who died in 1985, leaves a legacy that is fascinatingly diverse and at times enticingly elusive, making his work, like this magazine rack, intriguing objects for collectors.