Vladimir Kagan, 1927-2016

“Mid century was very original, very meaningful….
There was a revolution in design coming out of the depression and war years.
It was anything goes….There was such variety of designs. Mid century has a lot to offer.” — Vladimir Kagan

vladimir kaganVladimir Kagan — a man who never seemed to stop — finally has. Mr. Kagan died on April 7, at 88, after attending the launch of yet another new design. Kagan was a major force in midcentury modern furniture design, with a career spanning decades. He was an icon. He was married to Erica Wilson, the Queen of American Stitchery for 54 years. She was an icon, too. Together they raised a lovely family. What a power couple! And their NYC apartment — heaven! It was one of the great pleasures of my life to have been able to interview Mr. Kagan in 2013, and we reconnected a bit later, too, when I thought I spotted some of his furniture in a time capsule house and asked him about it. He was excited to see that not only were they his designs — they were his very first commissions ever, for dear friends. So cool! I didn’t end up able to run the story, but that was all right — it was just super happiness to know that Kagan was able to see that furniture from the first days of his career again. We will miss you, Vladi, very much!

See our 2013 interview with Vladimir Kagan here

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Comments

  1. Allen says

    It’s nice to know that a Mid-Century Modern Master was not even a purist in his own home. It helps take a little of the pressure off to do things “right”
    RIP Mr. Kagan

  2. Jay says

    I was aware of his passing and didn’t think you would not pay tribute to him. He not only designed but made some beautiful furniture.

  3. Steve says

    A few years ago I purchased a couple of his new books (which I love). I was in the process of restoring one of his vintage chairs and needed a specific part. I thought I might try their office in New York and looked up the number and called. After a brief conversation about the part I asked if I was talking to Vladimir because of the technical ability of who I was chatting with. Indeed it was. I ended up sending him the books for his signature of which one was given to a really great mid century dealer friend who was blown away. Thanks Vladimir!

  4. carolynapplebee says

    I had forgotten about Erica Wilson’s death. she was very popular when i was a kid, as we always had Mother’s Day and Family Circle magazines with her designs. I feel like i want to go back to my crewelwork, although it’s been over 20 years since i’ve been serious about it.

  5. Carol says

    I’m so sad that the best midcentury designer has passed away. This is just my opinion, but when a photo of a chair renders one a complete paralytic for a few seconds, one is in the presence of true beauty. I have an Adrian P. coffee table, 5 ft. glass surfboard top on the “Kagan” sculptural base. Every time I look at it, I’m blown away and I’ve had it for 22 years. My mother made me promise that if she outlived me, She would get the coffee table. She still reminds me of this, and it is a family joke, but we know she is serious. Good design influences every age apparently because EVERYONE in my family wants this table. I’m so glad his design career was so long and so well documented. What a treasure.

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