Photo by Harry Bensen
Dearest Blog Fans and Readers,
It is with great sadness that we share the news many of you have heard by now. Our father Vladimir Kagan passed away in Palm Beach, Florida where he suffered a heart attack in the early morning hours.
He was a loving father, mentor to many, and friend to all. A luminary of 20th century design, he changed how mid century furniture was perceived and conceived.
Over time we will post some musing on Dad with more photos to come and perhaps even a drawing or two!
We send much love and gratitude for the outpouring of support from around the globe.
A joyful celebration of the life and work of Vladimir Kagan will be held on:
Tuesday, April 26th
Memorial Service from 4-5pm
Reception immediately following 5-6pm
*Please observe the club rules of Jackets and ties, and please no jeans, cell phone use, photography, media or social media mention of the club.
In Lieu of flowers:
Please consider a gift to The Nantucket Conservation Foundation which protects the land and beauty of the island Vladimir loved so much:
Nantucket Conversation Foundation
PO Box 13
Born in Worms-on-Rhine, Germany, Kagan moved to the United States at the age of 11 escaping Nazi Germany. In 1946 he joined his father, Illi Kagan, in the family furniture business, starting him on the road to an illustrious career as a furniture designer. His iconic designs are defined by their sensuous curves and sculptural beauty.
Vladi with his sister Tanya and father Illi
Vladi and Tanya bathing in tubs as they weren't allowed in the public pool in Germany during the war
The Family arrives to America with Aunt Mary
In 1955 Vladimir married Erica Wilson, a needlework teacher from The Royal School of London. Their union blossomed into a powerhouse of creativity, propelling them to global fame and success. They spent 56 years together - partnering creatively, traveling the world, raising their three children - until her death in 2011. Vladimir was an avid sailor and skier, a beloved member of The New York Yacht Club, The Nantucket Yacht Club, and The Amateur Ski Club. He is survived by his children, Jessica Kagan Cushman, Vanessa Kagan Diserio and lllya Kagan; six granddaughters, Mallory Cushman, Olivia Diserio, Sophia Diserio, Gabriella Diserio, Annecy Kagan and Ondine Kagan; and by his sister Tanya Josefowitz.
He will forever be remembered for his tremendous sense of adventure, wicked sense of humor and unsurpassed love for life. He died as he lived...doing what he loved, designing until the very end.
The New York Times says: “Vladimir Kagan is one of the most important furniture designers of the 20th century. Furniture designed by him in the forties, fifties and sixties have become icons of Modernity and an obligatory reference to every designer. He is the creative grandfather of a whole new generation of designers.”
Early commissions included the Delegate's Cocktail Lounges for the first United Nations Headquarters in Lake Success N.Y. (1947-48). His clients were luminaries in the world of art, theater, music and industry. They included Marilyn Monroe, Xavier Cugat, Lily Pons, and Gary Cooper; Sherman Fairchild of Fairchild Aviation, Walt Disney, General Electric, Monsanto, General Motors, Prudential Insurance, and the Government of Venezuela.
In the 21st century, connoisseurs and museums are avidly collecting his designs today. Kagan’s furniture is in the private collections of Barbara Jacobson of the Museum of Modern Art, film director David Lynch, actor Dan Akroyd, the Spice Girls and David Bowie, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Courtney Cox, Demi Moore, Uma Thurman as well as the late artists Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe, Frank Sinatra and Violinist Isaac Stern. Fashion designers Tom Ford, Donna Karan, Giorgio Armani, Joseph, Roberto Cavalli, and Anna Fendi, Barry Diller, Diane Von Furstenberg, and many more are all Kagan collectors. His prize-winning designs have been published in books and magazines internationally and are in the permanent collections of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, V&A London, the Vitra Design Museum and Die Neue Samlung in Germany, the Brooklyn Museum, the Cooper Hewitt Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Pasadena Art Institute, Baltimore Museum of Fine Arts, Chicago’s Athenaeum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Here are a few links to some of the wonderful articles written in his honor remembering him and his work.
Interior Design Magazine:
Home Accents Today:
The Architects Newspaper:
New York Social Diary: