Wharton Esherick secondary header

The Kitchen Area

In 1913, when Esherick first explored a remote section of Chester County, Pennsylvania, to find a cheap rural property, his eye was caught by a giant cherry tree standing in front of a dilapidated old Paoli farmhouse. He later said he bought the property because he immediately felt some connection to the stately tree. In the late 1930s that tree died of natural causes and Esherick cut it down, slabbed it into lumber and put it in a shed to dry and season for some special use. In 1939, when he was selected by architect George Howe to be showcased as America's premiere wood craftsman in the New York World's Fair, Esherick used the cherry wood to fashion the walls of that room-like exhibit. After the fair closed, he brought the cherry wood back to Paoli and used it to create the walls of his kitchen (above, left), and thus lived the rest of his life surrounded by an old friend.

The kitchen utensils -- trays, bowls, salt and pepper shakers, salad forks and other items -- were also crafted from wood as functional, free-form sculptures (above, right).

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