Wright announces July 26 auction of furnishings from NYC’s Four Seasons Restaurant

Interior of The Four Seasons in Manhattan. Image by Jennifer Calais Smith

Interior of The Four Seasons in Manhattan. Image by Jennifer Calais Smith


NEW YORK – Wright will sell the furniture and designed tableware and objects from the historic interior of The Four Seasons Restaurant on July 26.

Since its establishment in 1959, The Four Seasons has garnered acclaim as much for its culinary innovations as its seminal interior design, and has been recognized as a unique global destination and quintessential example of designer Philip Johnson’s aesthetic throughout its storied history.

A veritable cathedral of modernism, all designs for The Four Seasons will be offered for sale, including the Grill Room’s famed banquettes, alongside all furniture including the original suite of Barcelona seating from the travertine lobby, custom Tulip tables with polished bronze tops, groups of custom Brno chairs, tableware and objects such as custom wine coolers, planters, serving carts and even the bespoke pots and pans made for the restaurant.

The architectural details and fittings, such as the iconic metal curtains and paneling will remain in place and will not be sold.

Richard Wright, founder and president of Wright said in a prepared statement, “I am truly honored to work with Alex von Bidder and Julian Niccolini, co-owners of The Four Seasons, to celebrate the historic legacy of this iconic American interior with this auction event. Wright has always held a particular focus on modern architecture and design, and this interior so perfectly captures the modern spirit in heroic and elegant fashion. Though The Four Seasons is an international landmark, I consider it an example of what can only be accomplished in New York City. Having expanded to New York with our Madison Avenue galleries and office in the last few years, we are excited to have the opportunity to tell this incredible New York story.”

The Four Seasons will close July 16 to open in a newly designed location, beginning a new period for this legendary restaurant.

Designated with landmark status by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1989, and perhaps the most important International Style interior space in the world, the interior and décor of the restaurant has remained largely unchanged since its opening. Despite the contents to be sold by Wright as a result of The Four Seasons move, the interior of the rooms will remain intact in keeping with its landmark status.

Custom designed furniture and objects by Philip Johnson, as well as custom ordered furniture from Knoll, all of which will be offered at auction, are synonymous with the setting of the architecture. The tableware, examples of which are held in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, was designed by L. Garth and Ada Louise Huxtable. Stemware, serving ware and even the pots and pans, also designed by the Huxtables, are consistent with the design vision. The end result is a seamless total work of art, where everything the eye catches upholds the virtues of the original vision of this singular space.

Built without any expense spared, The Four Seasons became the costliest restaurant to have ever been built. Its final cost of $4.5 million in 1959 was said to be greater than the entire cost of the Guggenheim Museum.

Every detail was considered in order to remain true to the vision of the designers. The very concept of the restaurant was modern indeed. Though inspiration and influence was taken from traditional French and Continental culinary models, The Four Seasons was to be an American restaurant. It is credited with being the first to offer seasonal menus, and to focus on fresh and wide-ranging ingredients.

In its 1959 opening review in The New York Times, Craig Claiborne observed, “There has never been a restaurant better keyed to the tempo of Manhattan than The Four Seasons … perhaps the most exciting restaurant to open in New York within the last two decades.”

Furnishings to be sold will be on view in The Four Seasons Restaurant in Mies van der Rohe’s landmark Seagram building, 99 E. 52nd St., opening July 20 through the 26th. The auction will occur on site on July 26.