A Modern Decorative Arts + Design Auction curated by Vess Ruhtenberg

Jan Ruhtenberg exhibit⯍ A Modern Decorative Arts + Design Auction curated by Vess Ruhtenberg

A guest lecturer at Butler University, Ruhtenberg's expertise shines through his contributions to numerous publications centered around his grandfather, the esteemed architect Jan Ruhtenberg.

Drawing inspiration from two decades as a touring musician, Ruhtenberg has cultivated a profound understanding of modernism through his encounters with masterpieces across the world.

Join us as we unveil a collection that reflects Vess Ruhtenberg's delicate aesthetic sense and extensive knowledge, promising an exceptional auction experience.

C O N T A C T  VESS RUHTENBERG [email protected]

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Jan Ruhtenberg, Berlin, c. 1930. | COURTESY OF VESSEL RUHTENBERG

Before completing his architecture degree in 1943, Philip Johnson served as the inaugural curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art. His early groundbreaking exhibitions, such as the Modern Architecture: International Exhibition in 1932 and Machine Art in 1934, exemplified his approach of achieving success through collaborative efforts with other talented individuals. Collaborating with Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Alfred H. Barr Jr. on Modern Architecture and with Jan Ruhtenberg on Machine Art, Johnson forged partnerships that were pivotal to the success of these exhibitions.

Jan Ruhtenberg, born in Riga, Latvia, pursued architecture after receiving a scholarship to study at the Berliner Technische Hochschule in 1928. His connection with Johnson began in the early 1930s, leading to a close personal and professional relationship. They traveled together, visited influential architectural sites like the Bauhaus, and shared an apartment in Berlin designed by Ruhtenberg.

Their collaboration extended to projects like Johnson's New York apartment and Johnson's mother's house in North Carolina. Ruhtenberg's contributions to these projects, and especially to the Machine Art exhibition, were significant but often overlooked until recent years. His influence in creating visually impactful installations, inspired by German design concepts, added depth and aesthetic appeal to exhibitions like Machine Art.

Despite Johnson's departure from MoMA in 1934, Ruhtenberg continued his architectural career in New York and later in Colorado. While Ruhtenberg remained relatively obscure during his lifetime, his role in spreading Bauhaus ideas and modern European architecture in North America has gained recognition, culminating in exhibitions like "Jan Ruhtenberg: Come Here Architekt" in 2013, organized by his grandson Vessel Ruhtenberg, aimed at bringing overdue recognition to this talented architect.

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