Irving Richards was born on May 17, 1907 in Manhattan, New York City. In the 1920s, he owned a bookstore through which he sold desk accessories. He later closed the store and became a lamp buyer for Lightolier. In the 1930s, Richards brought together designers and manufacturers and promoted and distributed their work.
Irving Richards collaborated with Russel Wright in the realization of the ceramic American Modern dinnerware line. The success of this line led directly to the founding of Raymor.
American Modern dinnerware. Image source etsy.com.
Raymor’s range included designs by Gilbert Rohde, Donald Deskey, Walter Dorwin Teague, Ray and Charles Eames, George Nelson, and Eva Zeisel. Richards traveled extensively, importing ceramics from Italy and Mexico and furniture and accessories from Scandinavia, including work by Arne Jacobsen, Tapio Wirkaala, Hans Wegner, and Ettore Sottsass. Sottsass later designed a wide array of ceramics in the late 1950s. Raymor’s offerings concentrated on ceramics, pottery, glass, and wood, but the occasional plastic item emerges.
A classic mid century design accessory line brought to America by Raymor: Rimini Blu, Bitossi pottery designed by Aldo Londi and introduced officially in 1959. The color and effect date to his Ball Vase from 1955. I don’t usually gush over non-plastics on this blog, but these pieces are awesome.
Rimini Blu, Bitossi pottery surface detail.
In 1947, the Richards Morgenthau side of the business was formed. The company was by this time also manufacturing lighting, ceramics, and glass in its own factory in New Jersey. Many items were designed by Irving Richards himself. Although known both as Raymor and Richards Morgenthau & Co., the former was more closely identified with design and imports, the latter with sales.
Irving Richards died November 10, 1993 at his home in Manhattan. He was 96.
eBay item 290825573856 ended December 10, 2012 at 19:10:24 PST (United States). There were 6 bidders who placed 15 bids. The winning bid was $111.00. This auction was for Art Happenings No. 12.
The dimensions of the Raymor “Art Happenings” interactive art is 15-1/4” by 15-1/4” square on a 1/4” base panel. The plastic elements are of varying sizes and shapes.
The interactive art piece consists of a painted metal base panel on which can be positioned 23 black, white and neon pink plastic shapes. Small magnets are glued to the backs of the plastic shapes.
The base and plastic elements are unmarked. The box manufacturer's stamp on the back includes “1970”, most likely the year of production.
Bitossi Ceramiche - Bitossi Ceramiche - Miniature Rimini Blu. Retrieved December 29, 2012 from http://www.fabioluciani.com/cartella_stampa.php?id_cartella=266&lng=eng
Krug, N. (2003, November 15). Irving Richards, 96, distributor of modern design. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/15/arts/irving-richards-96-distributor-of-modern-design.html
Raymor. A Dictionary of Modern Design. Retrieved December 29, 2012 from http://www.answers.com/topic/raymor