Sherle Wagner


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Widely renowned as a designer of extravagant and glamorous bathrooms, Sherle Wagner grew up in New York, studying architecture in the 1930s. In 1945, with his wife Rose, he opened a shop in 1945 which sold bedroom and bathroom fittings. Through his vision as a designer he was soon able to capitalize on the absence of design which catered for the luxury end of the bathroom market, one that in the post‐war years was generally characterized by functional, economical, mass‐produced products. Beginning with a 24‐carat gold‐plated dolphin spout, Wagner moved on to the design of hand‐painted basins, semi‐precious stone embellished taps, gold‐plated lavatory seats, carved marble fittings, and lighting. As a result, he built up an affluent New York client base which soon spread to the West Coast and, rather later, Europe. Initially, his designs were produced by European crafts‐workers although later he set up production capacity in the United States. By the 1950s the business had expanded considerably, with the employment of sales representatives and the advertising of his bathroom fittings and fixtures in fashionable magazines as a means of bringing his products to the attention of interior decorators and architects. His clients included Frank Sinatra, President Kennedy, King Hassan of Morocco, and the Saudi Arabian millionaire Adnan Khashoggi. In the 1960s and 1970s clients ranged from the extremely wealthy to the middle classes, although in the following decade the luxury bathroom market place became considerably more competitive. In 1989 the company was sold to Masco.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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